General Manager Bobby Beathard said yesterday the Redskins will not conduct special urinalysis tests of players for illegal drug use unless such tests are mandated by the National Football League. But that mandate will have to be included in the next collective-bargaining agreement or the league will refuse to sign the agreement, according to the NFL's chief labor negotiator.
"Drug testing is not in our game plan," Beathard said. "We don't want to start separate testing for drugs. If the league told us to, we'd do it. But we have already given our players physicals (at a May minicamp) and we are going to leave it at that."
Beathard also said the Redskins are on the verge of affiliating with a drug-rehabilitation program conducted by Georgetown University. Beathard said the team would be able to refer players who need drug counseling and followup help to the program, which is directed by Dr. William Flynn. Beathard added that a player could go directly to the program without informing the team.
"We are still in the process of deciding our formal drug policy," Beathard said. "I won't say that we would never test a player for drugs, because you never know what is going to happen. But I know I'm not in favor of mass testing at this time."
Jack Donlan, the NFL's chief negotiator, told The Associated Press that failure by the NFL Players Association to agree to mandatory drug testing would be a stumbling block to a new agreement.
"We aren't locked into urinalysis as the only solution, but we don't feel every player with a problem will come in voluntarily until it's too late. We need a detection device to catch the problem so we can begin rehabilitation. This is not a punitive thing we're doing; it's more a humanitarian thing," Donlan said.
But Ed Garvey, the NFLPA's executive director, called the owners' stand a public relations ploy and said it would never come down to being a turning point in achieving a new agreement.
"We have the matter before the National Labor Relations Board in terms of what has happened thus far," Garvey said. "We can't comment specifically about what the NLRB might do. But they (the owners) certainly don't have the right (to test players for drugs) right now."
The Dallas Cowboys, however, intend to keep submitting their players to spot tests for drug abuse, although Coach Tom Landry is lukewarm about the idea.
Tex Schramm, Cowboys president, said: "We feel we have a right to drug test. I believe that it's the only tangible thing that you can do to control that kind of situation."
Landry said he was opposed in principle to urine and blood tests.
"I don't want to check for drugs," Landry said. "I believe that we can handle the problem through awareness and an education program."
Beathard and some Redskins medical personnel met yesterday at Redskin Park with Georgetown's Flynn to discuss the university's drug rehabilitation program. Until now, Beathard said, the Redskins had no formal system to treat drug problems.
"We haven't decided for sure to affiliate with this program, but we are leaning strongly in that direction," Beathard said. "We want a formal mechanism we can activate if a player comes to us with a problem. We are in this to help people. That's our goal."
According to Bubba Tyer, the Redskins' trainer, the urinalysis part of the players' routine minicamp physical did not include a specific test for drugs.
"We did not order a specific drug test and we never have," Tyer said.
In a related matter, the San Diego Chargers' Chuck Muncie is scheduled to begin a drug rehabilitation program in San Diego, according to his business manager, Alan Weiner.
Weiner said Muncie has a small problem with alcohol, marijuana and cocaine. "Chuck knows he has to do something to satisfy everyone that he is rehabilitating himself. Chuck feels pretty strongly that he is not dependent (on drugs)."