Garafolo: Browner’s agent says fight over drug ban not over
Brandon Browner’s fight over a one-year suspension isn’t over yet. At least not as far as he and his agent are concerned.
On Wednesday evening, shortly after news broke that the NFL had denied his appeal of a violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy, the Seattle Seahawks cornerback wrote on his Twitter account he will "continue to fight with all legal resources available to me" — and his agent, Peter Schaffer told FOX Sports he will take legal action if all appeals permitted under the NFL’s collective-bargaining agreement are unsuccessful.
A source told FOX Sports that Browner already has filed another appeal. It’s unclear when that appeal will be heard.
The NFL did not specify the length of the suspension for Browner, who tested positive for marijuana this fall, neither in a statement to the media or in communication to teams Wednesday. The league has only stated the suspension is for an indefinite period.
Schaffer confirmed a previous report by FOX Sports that stated Browner claimed the cup the collector used during the test was damaged. Schaffer also confirmed previous reports by FOX Sports and other outlets that Browner was advanced to Stage 3 of the substance-abuse policy because he didn’t take the required tests while he was out of the NFL. (Browner played in the Canadian Football league from 2007-10.)
Browner, who was put in Stage 1 of the program after a failed test during his first stint in the NFL, contested he should not have been advanced because he never received notification he was supposed to be testing regularly. Schaffer said the arbitrator "didn’t even mention that in his ruling."
Schaffer said the arbitrator only ruled on the testing protocol and did not force the collector to testify.
"There was a discrepancy between Brandon’s statement and the collector’s, yet the collector didn’t have to testify? Where’s the fairness there?" Schaffer said.
"It’s another example right there that the NFL’s arbitration system is a mockery of justice. This ruling is complete and further proof of the bias against players. The NFL is the greatest sports entity of all time, but the league should work to give everyone associated with it complete transparency. Again, they failed."
An NFL spokesman declined comment when asked about the accuracy of Schaffer’s claims. Schaffer said he was told the league’s medical director spoke to the collector, who refuted Browner’s claims.
The Seahawks have survived the loss of Browner, who has been out of the lineup since suffering a groin injury on Nov. 10. Byron Maxwell has slid into a starting role opposite Richard Sherman and played very well. Maxwell has three interceptions in his last two games after picking off Eli Manning twice in a victory over the New York Giants on Sunday.
The 29-year-old Browner is slated to be a free agent this offseason, though his value will be greatly diminished if he’s still suspended at that point.