N.F.L. and Union Say Eric Reid’s Repeated Drug Tests Were Random

N.F.L. and Union Say Eric Reid’s Repeated Drug Tests Were Random

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The N.F.L. and its players association defended their policy of random drug testing of the league’s players on Wednesday after Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid suggested that he had been subjected to a curiously high number of them this season.

Reid, who joined the Panthers in Week 4, noted in December that he had been selected for a drug test for the seventh time this season. Ten players from each team are selected for testing each week, according to the league’s drug policy, and Yahoo Sports reported that the chance a single player would be chosen for so many tests randomly was about 1 in 500.

“I’ve been here 11 weeks, I’ve been drug-tested seven times,” Reid told reporters. “That has to be statistically impossible. I’m not a mathematician, but there’s no way that’s random.”

In a joint statement, the league and players union said Wednesday that the accusation that Reid had been subjected to an inordinate number of tests deliberately had been investigated by the administrator of the drug policy and “that Mr. Reid’s tests were randomly generated via computer algorithm and that his selection for testing was normal.”

“There is no evidence of targeting or any other impropriety with respect to his selection for testing,” the joint statement said.

Reid has been a close ally of his former 49ers teammate Colin Kaepernick and has backed protests over police brutality and racism, kneeling during the national anthem throughout the season. He filed a grievance against the N.F.L. in the off-season when he had few takers as a free agent. The Panthers eventually signed him in late September.

His grievance is due to be heard in the coming off season.

“I guess there was something about some mathematician saying it’s highly improbable, but definitely possible,” Carolina Coach Ron Rivera said last month. “But I’ll say this: If my name came up that many times, I’d buy a lottery ticket.”

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