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When reading about the collective bargaining agreements (CBA’s) of Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), and Major League Soccer (MLS), I noticed that their provisions, clauses, and policies for drug testing differ slightly in terms of when they choose to drug test players, how often players are tested, and what sanctions are given to players if a drug test results positive or if a player refuses to take a drug test.

For example, the MLB states that when players agree to their CBA, they must essentially give up their right to their own health information if a player’s drug tests results are positive because MLB has the right to disclose any player’s health information under the above circumstances. This provision insinuates that the players potentially give up their right to federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) compliance laws. In addition, if a player’s drug test is positive, the player is automatically enrolled in the Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Similarly, the NBA confirms that “during the Season, collections for random testing will be scheduled to occur before practices on non-game days, and before shoot-arounds and games on game days. For random drug testing of a visiting team scheduled at game-day shoot-arounds, tests will be scheduled to occur before the shoot-around for that team commences, and for any tests that are not completed by the time the visiting team bus is scheduled to leave the arena or practice facility after the shoot-around is completed. Random drug tests can be scheduled to occur at any time during the Off-Season.”

That being said, NBA drug tests are basically scheduled for players provided that they finish practice and after any games, if the test is scheduled to occur on the day of a game, it should be afterwards. When the player arrives at the collection site, the collector will ensure that the player is positively identified through presentation of photo ID or identification by a team representative. If the player’s identity cannot be established, the collector cannot proceed with the collection. The player will be asked to select a sealed urine specimen cup. The player will then provide his urine specimen under the direct observation of the collector. If a player’s drug test results as positive, the NBA will impose a substantial fine not to exceed $750,000 upon such Team pursuant to the NBA’s Constitution and By-Laws.

Lastly, the MLS says that “players are subject to the MLS Player Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program and Policy (“SABH”) set forth as Exhibit 5.” However, in order for a player to be enrolled in the MLS’s Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program, they must directly consent to drug testing and to disclose the results to the SABH. In order for a substance to be considered a drug, particularly illegal, it must be consulted with all parties of the MLS Union.  After consultation with the Union, MLS may add substances to the list of those prohibited by the SABH so long as such substances have been adopted by the United States Anti-Doping Agency or FIFA. MLS may impose any testing procedure that is approved by the director of the ‘Laboratoire de controle du dopage’ (IRNS-Institut Armand-Frappier) in Montreal, Quebec and the SABH Program Professionals.

If a player violates the SABH by bribing, paying off, or gambling with a SABH professional or is subjected to any penalties for testing positive for a banned substance, for noncompliance, or for refusal to submit to a drug test as required under the SABH, then MLS can impose a fine, suspend (with or without pay), and potentially even terminate a player under their misconduct provision.

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