SBD/Issue 145/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Cornwell Seeks Penalties On Reporters For Prospect Drug Stories

Cornwell Says Players'
Confidentiality Most Important
In the wake of "questionable reports regarding failed drug tests by NFL draft prospects," attorney David Cornwell has "reiterated his call for penalties on reporters and news organizations for such accounts," according to Jason Cole of YAHOO SPORTS. Cornwell, who was a finalist for the NFLPA Exec Dir position, wrote in a letter to ProFootballTalk.com that access to NFL-controlled events "should be withheld from SI.com and reporter Tony Pauline until they reveal the source of a story" that claims NFL Draft prospect and former Boston College DT B.J. Raji tested positive for marijuana. Whether the report is accurate is "largely irrelevant to Cornwell, who maintains that the confidentiality of the [testing] program outweighs any media need to report test results." Cornwell wrote, "The public has no right to know information that (the) NFL has an obligation to keep confidential. No legitimate interest overrides a player's fundamental right to confidentiality. ... It is preposterous to look the other way when players' rights to confidentiality are breached, then wave the flag for journalistic integrity to protect the people who violate those rights." Cornwell Monday said that "even those organizations that are rights holders to the NFL should be subject to scrutiny." Cornwell said in an e-mail, "I do not suggest that reporters or outlets should be shunned or punished for reporting a story. I believe their access to NFL events should be restricted if the manner in which they report a story protects a person who has violated an important league policy. Similar to every other business, a reporter or organization can make their own assessment as to whether the price to pay for aiding and abetting the violation of a league policy is worth its business interest in covering league events" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/15).

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