Steelers' Harrison causes stir with video of drug test
When it comes to social media, James Harrison knows his stuff.
That was proven once again on Tuesday night when the Steelers' veteran linebacker posted a series of Instagram videos documenting his experience with his latest random performance enhancing drug test, where he was threatened by the administrator with a positive test if he recorded and posted the video online.
According to Harrison's agent, Bill Parise, Harrison was within his rights to post the test to his social media accounts without any threat of penalty, including a failed test.
“Absolutely it is legal because it is his sample,” Parise said. “The NFLPA has agreed with my findings that there is nothing that prohibits him posting what he wants to post.”
In the videos, Harrison was speaking with an unidentified tester, who didn't want to be on camera and who was on the phone with the NFL's director of PED drug testing, Ryan Willis of Drug Free Sports, a company that administers drug tests for the NFL, MLB, NBA and NCAA.
The tester, relaying Willis' message to Harrison, said Harrison would not be tested if he was recording the session, making it a missed test, which is considered an automatic positive test, according to the CBA.
“As a matter of athlete privacy and client confidentiality, we do not comment on individual sport drug tests,” said Gene Willis, Drug Free Sports' director of marketing and company spokesperson.
Harrison was eventually permitted to record the test, but was told that the league would have determine if he was allowed to post the video. Harrison said in his post that he didn't want to get the tester fired by not taking the test.
“He had to take the test,” Parise said.
Harrison posted his last test in February, less than two months after an Al-Jazeera report linked Harrison to Delta 2, a PED.
Harrison vehemently denied ever using Delta 2 or any other PED.
The latest test was a normal part of the NFL's drug testing policy, Parise said.
“This is absolutely normal, absolutely standard and the only thing different was that James wanted to video it and post it and the guy said he couldn't do it and if you do, we will issue a positive test and you can't re-test which he can't do because it against the collective bargaining agreement,” Parise said.
Parise said that it is normal for testers to show up at a player's house.
“That's the way those things work,” Parise said. “At these random tests, they show up and you have three hours and you can't leave the person's sight during those three hours. They are all the same. Everyone is the same. It is random and it is spontaneous. It is standard procedure.”
Harrison, who turned 38 earlier this month, announced recently that he would return for his 14th season.
Harrison was unsure if he would return this year because he wasn't certain how his body would react to a six-week offseason training session in preparation for the season. The six-week period, in which he worked out in Scottsdale, Ariz., ended on May 1. Harrison announced his return on May 2.
Harrison has 76.5 career sacks (74.5 with the Steelers) and needs three more to break Jason Gildon's team record. Harrison finished with five sacks last year, with three coming against the Colts.
The Steelers begin offseason practice on Tuesday, which will run until June 16. Harrison isn't expected to participate in any of the 13 scheduled sessions.