The Washington Post is out with a giant story about a 2011 meeting at which an official from the federal Drug Enforcement Agency was invited by the NFL to give a presentation to all 32 team doctors teams about those teams’ slapdash handling of prescription drugs. The now-retired DEA official, Joseph Rannazzisi, was there to instruct NFL teams on the nexus between federal laws and best practices for treating players’ pain and injuries. Except those doctors didn’t care for what Rannazzisi had to say.
At the time, the DEA had three teams—the Chargers, Saints, and Falcons—on its radar for their handling of controlled substances. Rannazzisi’s presentation would eventually be the basis for a full-blown DEA inquiry into the way NFL teams handled, stored, traveled with, and distributed addictive painkillers and anti-inflammatory meds to players—practices now at the root of a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of some 1,800 former players against all 32 teams. It wasn’t until 2015 that the NFL developed guidelines that conformed with the DEA’s recommendations for the handling of pain meds.