Thu. May 19th, 2022

The NFL accused the Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman La’el Collins of trying to bribe a drug-testing official before the player was suspended five games for a drug abuse violation, according to court documents released.

The allegation surfaced in a federal court case after Collins sued the league, its board of directors and commissioner Roger Goodell while seeking an injunction to stop the suspension with two games left.

The NFL said the person collecting samples for testing wrote in his notes that in November 2020 Collins asked to meet him “man to man” and said he felt he was “being tested too much because ( they) saw each other every day. “

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The collector said Collins asked if there was anything “we could do” and offered $ 5,000 and later $ 10,000 according to the NFL’s application in response to Collins’ request for an injunction.

Players ‘agent Peter Schaffer, one of Collins’ representatives, vehemently denied the allegations of bribery against Collins, who at the time was recovering from hip surgery and did not play in 2020.

“He allegedly passed a collector without giving him money to look the other way on a test that was negative?” Said Schaffer. “No witnesses, nothing. He went into a T-shirt and shorts on crutches. How can you bribe someone? ”

A federal judge heard arguments about the ban Friday in Sherman, Texas, about 105 miles north of Dallas. There was no immediate order.

The Cowboys (3-1) play the New York Giants (1-3) at home on Monday (AEDT). Coach Mike McCarthy said Friday that there was no plan in place for Collins, the right tackle, to play against the Giants if the suspension was stopped.

Collins ‘suspension was announced the day after Dallas’ 31-29 loss to defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay in the opening, his first game since 2019.

During an appeal of the suspension, Schaffer called star quarterback Dak Prescott to testify in an attempt to refute the allegation of bribery. Prescott testified that some of the conversations with the test collector joked the character, saying he could not see Collins carrying $ 10,000 that day.

The league said in its application that Collins had a “long history of discipline for repeated violations” of the drug policy. Collins missed seven drug tests over a five-week period around the time of the alleged bribery in November 2020, the NFL said.

Schaffer questioned what he called personal attacks on Collins during the hearing.

“That’s why it was so important for La’el to fight this thing so people can see that he’s not a bad person and he does not have this big story of missing tests and being a bad person,” Schaffer said. “Like they just took personal attacks on him. This is one of your players. Find a way to do it without making the personal attacks. I was embarrassed to be a part of the NFL today by the way NFL lawyers attacked La’el personally. ”

The league intended to suspend Collins in the first four games of 2020, but the management board and the players’ association agreed to a fine. The NFL said Collins continued to miss tests, leading to a five-game suspension, which the union negotiated down to two.

An appeal of the two-game ban resulted in an arbitrator reinstating the suspension of five matches after the league claimed Collins’ attempted bribery.

Collins’ representatives say the NFL erroneously claimed that the seventh-year player had previously been suspended four games when he had not done so. They also said he was suspended for missed tests as the new employment contract in 2020 no longer allowed suspensions over forgotten tests or positive marijuana tests.

Lineman’s representatives said Collins had legitimate reasons for missing tests, including the death of an uncle in Arizona and the death of Cowboy strength coach Markus Paul, who collapsed in the weight room two days before last year’s Thanksgiving game.

Collins signed with the Cowboys as the undrafted free agent in 2015. The former LSU player was expected to be a high draft pick, but his name appeared in the investigation into a woman’s death just before the draft. Collins was approved in that case.

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