A recent investigation by the Washington Post revealed that former NFL players are suing the league for "violat(ing) federal laws governing prescription drugs, disregarded guidance from the Drug Enforcement Administration on how to store, track, transport and distribute controlled substances, and ply(ing) their players with powerful painkillers and anti-inflammatories each season," the report reads.
One NFL team employee cited in the report is Paul Sparling, head trainer for the Cincinnati Bengals.
In August 2009, for example, Paul Sparling, the Cincinnati Bengals’ head trainer, wrote in an email: “Can you have your office fax a copy of your DEA certificate to me? I need it for my records when the NFL ‘pill counters’ come to see if we are doing things right. Don’t worry, I’m pretty good at keeping them off the trail!”
The Bengals did not make Sparling available for comment or respond to questions about his 2009 email.
Later, Sparling was cited again.
In a November 2010 email, Sparling, the Bengals’ trainer, wrote to his counterpart with the Detroit Lions, complaining about the new program. “Until the new [program] is actually in effect,” he said, “we will continue to do as we have done for the past 42 years. . . . I sure would love to know who blew up the system that worked all these years.”
The lawsuit claims that multiple team doctors deposed that they violated federal drug law, in some capacity, while working as a team doctor, the Post report said.
But NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the Post that the allegations “are meritless and the league and its clubs will continue to vigorously defend these claims.”
The redacted court documents viewed by the Post are sealed from public view.
The only other mention of the Bengals was description of an unnamed trainer who said "he’s aware of teams that dispense 90 or more Vicodin pills per game," the Post wrote.