Suspended NFL Players Claim Discrimination

August 20,2007 ( - Two players suspended by the National Football League for substance abuse claim they were discriminated against under the Americans with Disabilities Act, because alcoholism is a disability, reported.

Middle linebacker Odell Thurman of the Cincinnati Bengals and Tampa Bay Bucs cornerback Torrie Cox hope to have their suspensions ordered by Commissioner Roger Goodell overturned. The two filed discrimination claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The lawsuits were filed with the EEOC under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and argued that the NFL deems Thurman ad Cox alcoholics. They claim their suspensions violate the ADA, which forbids employers from discriminating against workers with disabilities.

According to, Thurman and Cox cite the suspension of former NBA player Roy Tarpley of the Dallas Mavericks. In Tarpley’s case, the EEOC said that the NBA breached the ADA when it refused to reinstate Tarpley, even though he passed drug screenings for four consecutive years.

Goodell rejected Thurman’s reinstatement request last month for no stated reason. Thurman’s lawyer said that his client passed league-administered tests, even though Thurman admitted in court to having an alcohol problem.

Cox was suspended last month for the first four games of this season. His suspension is also under appeal.

More information on the ADA is available from the U.S. Department of Labor here .