Pittsburgh Steelers star running back Le’Veon Bell is facing a four-game suspension for violation of the NFL’s policy on substance abuse; he didn’t fail a test, rather he reportedly missed a test or tests. Bell is still going through the appeal process.
Under the rules, missing a test is the same as failing a test in the league’s eyes, which is why Bell finds himself in hot water.
Could a cell phone be at the root of Bell’s problem?
Bell changed his phone number, and therefore didn’t know that the tests were upcoming, according to Stan Savran of 970 ESPN Radio in Pittsburgh.
Seems plausible, right? Well, it makes some sense, and while cell phones are the best way to get in touch with almost anyone these days, is it the only way? And since Bell knows he’s already in the drug-testing program and on thin ice, shouldn’t he have made sure that everyone who needed his new number had it?
Bell seems confident that he’s not going to miss time. The comments are deleted now, but over the weekend he posted two comments to a fan page on Instagram, using his verified account, saying that he wouldn’t end up serving his suspension:
But while Bell might think he’s not going to miss any games, the league may have other ideas.
As spelled out in Appendix E of the “Policy and Program on Substances of Abuse” posted on the NFL Players’ Association website, it is the responsibility of players to provide a phone number and address where they can be reached for testing.
Further, it takes three missed tests before the four-game suspension comes into play. A first missed test results in a $25,000 fine, and a second results in a fine equal to two game checks, though players are allowed to play in those two games. A third missed test triggers the game suspension.