Word came down Friday that Dallas Cowboys' Offensive Tackle La'el Collins has been suspended for five games by the NFL under its Substance Abuse Policy. Reports had Collins already failing his initial appeal of the suspension, but over the weekend it's been shared that La'el is still looking to fight the league's decision.
Collins was able to play in Thursday night's season opener while his appeal was being processed privately. But by Friday afternoon, the suspension was made public and immediately effective.
According to NFL insider Jason La Canfora with CBS, La'el was not suspended for any positive tests but for missing too many of his required testing sessions. But as you dig into the details, Collins' infractions show some trademark mismanagement and heavy-handedness from Roger Goodell's office.
La'el has been subject to about 10 monthly tests for a year and a half. He's reportedly missed only seven of those tests, which would compute at less than 4% of the total tests he's been required to take.
The report also shows that Collins' absences generally had a reasonable excuses, such as when the Cowboys players were being told to stay home due to COVID risks or other personal conflicts. La'el's agent and lawyers will likely appeal on the basis of the NFL's arbitrary decision to suspend him for these absences, for which is there is no specific language in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Cowboys fans can't help but shudder as memories of 2017 flood come to mind. That season was marred by Ezekiel Elliott's suspension for a domestic abuse accusation, one which never led to charges and was clear sign of the league trying to score P.R. points through it's most high-profile franchise.
La'el Collins isn't a superstar like Zeke but yet again we find the NFL making up the rules as they go. In 2017, Elliott didn't finally serve his suspension until a lengthy series of court battles played out into early November. We'll see what kind of fight that Collins brings to Goodell's “justice” system as this story unfolds.