BEREA, Ohio -- The NFL Players Association says the
Cleveland Browns violated the collective bargaining agreement by
suspending running back William Green for his arrest on charges of
drunken driving and marijuana possession.
"We see this issue as falling under the substance abuse policy
and the clubs don't have the right to suspend the player," NFLPA
president Gene Upshaw said Tuesday.
Upshaw said he expects a grievance to be filed against the
"They don't have the right to do what they did," he said.
Green sat out Sunday's game at Kansas City for what coach Butch
Davis called detrimental conduct and being a distraction to the
team. Davis and the Browns would not comment on whether the
suspension was improper.
"We don't ever discuss anything that has to do with the
players," Davis said.
It's an unusual case because the Browns never notified the
league that Green was suspended, said Richard Berthelsen, general
counsel for the NFLPA.
The league would not comment specifically on Green's situation.
"Generally speaking, we advise clubs that disciplinary action
related to drug and alcohol matters should be handled by the league
program," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.
A message seeking comment from Green's agent, Tom Condon, was
not immediately returned.
Police arrested Green on Oct. 27 after pulling him over for
driving erratically. He failed a field sobriety test and a breath
test. Police said they found a a bag of marijuana in Green's SUV,
which he was driving with a flat tire.
If convicted of DUI, Green could be put on probation or face up
to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail. The marijuana charge is a
misdemeanor and carries a $100 fine.
It is not known if Green, 23, is in the league's substance abuse
program. If Green is a repeat offender, the league could suspend
him for four games.
The league does not announce suspensions until after a case has
gone through the legal system. Green has pleaded innocent and has a
pretrial hearing set for Dec. 3.
His arrest came during Cleveland's bye week, one day after the
second-year player missed the Browns' loss at New England with a
Davis said Green practiced last week and he expects him to be
ready for Sunday's home game against Arizona.
Green leads Cleveland this season with 559 yards rushing on 142