Johnson takes aim at NFL, NFLPA
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Lane Johnson vowed to fight and many thought after sitting six games of his 10-game PED suspension the exiled right tackle would eventually return, tail tucked between his legs for the final two contests of the 2016 season.
Not so as the exiled former first-round pick filed unfair labor charges against both the NFL and NFLPA to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) as well as the Department of Labor.
When news of the suspension leaked Johnson ripped the NFLPA for failing to protect him, claiming that the tainted supplement that triggered his positive test this summer was listed as approved by the Aegis Shield phone application that the NFLPA provides its players.
The union, which has along history of fighting for its members in even questionable circumstances, clarified and said it takes no official stance on any OTC supplement and Aegis Shield is provided only as a research tool.
Johnson's lawyer, Stephen Zashin, emailed a statement to various media outlets Tuesday explaining their position.
"It became apparent that the written words in the collectively bargained Performance-Enhancing Substances ("PES") Policy, under which Lane was disciplined, are meaningless," Zashin wrote in the statement. "The PES Policy, as written, guarantees rights, protections and due process to players in recognition of the enormous consequences of discipline.
"The NFL and the NFLPA have undermined these protections leaving the players — including Lane — with a hollowed-out process devoid of any protections. The actions of the NFL and NFLPA violate federal law. Lane trusts that he can get a fair hearing with the NLRB and the DOL."
Johnson is eligible to return to the Eagles the week ahead of a Dec. 22 game against the New York Giants.
It is unlikely this action will affect the suspension at all and is likely geared toward the financial aspect of Johnson’s penalty.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen