One day after news broke that the NFL had suspended former Alabama running back Mark Ingram for the first four games of the 2018 season following a violation of the league's performance enhancing drug policy, the Saints' rusher is vehemently challenging the ruling.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 9, 2018
“At the end of the 2017 season, as a result of a[n] NFL mandated random drug test, Mark Ingram tested positive for a substance that was not a performance enhancing substance, nor an illegal substance, but a substance in fact permissible with the proper use exemption with the NFL," David Jones, Ingram's representative said in a statement on Wednesday. “He has vigorously challenged the test results through the arbitration process. The arbitrator’s opinion is due on or before Wednesday, May 16. Upon having the opportunity to review the arbitrator’s opinion, we will explore what further options are needed.”
The news of Ingram's suspension from the NFL confirms that the running back already lost his appeal and at this point he is out of options in terms of challenging the ruling within the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. So really, today's statement from Ingram's reps seemed to convolute the whole situation.
"I spoke to one of Ingram's representatives and they told me that they are waiting for the full opinion from the arbitrator," NFL Media's Mike Garafolo said on Tuesday in an effort to explain the situation. "What that means is a written opinion so they can parse every single word in there to potentially decide if there's going to be some kind of action going forward.
"There are other appeals of appeals within the drug policy that are possible but not when you're dealing with a positive test. Only a evidentiary based situation like, your name was mentioned in the Al Jazeera report, or what happened with Alex Rodriguez a couple of years ago; I'm going baseball on you now. There are no more options in the CBA. The only thing that he could do would be to file some kind of a lawsuit but the problem is there's independent arbitration. This is not a Tom Brady situation where you go outside the CBA, you go to a court and say, 'Well, they levied the suspension and then they heard the suspension.' There's independent arbitration here, he's got limited options. I really don't know what they're gonna chase here."
As things stand at the moment, the Saints will be without Ingram for their games against the Buccaneers, Browns, Falcons and Giants to open the 2018 season. While he will miss those games, he is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games.