Today a federal court in Texas held a hearing to consider Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle La’el Collins request for a temporary restraining order against the NFL. Collins wants the court to overturn a five-game suspension, imposed due to missed drug tests, claiming the NFL acted fraudulently.
The basis for Collins’ fraud claim against the league centers around two facts. First, Collins claims the league mentioned to the arbitrator that Collins had previously been suspended for four-games which was untrue and was factored into the determination to grant a five game suspension. Next, Collins says the league incorrectly disciplined him for allegedly bribing a testing official, to prevent future tests.
Bribery? Yes, alleged bribery of a drug testing official in the NFL! The explosive allegation lodged at Collins by the NFL was met with fury by the Cowboys starter who adamantly denies that ever happened.
Well, today the Court unsealed critical testimony from Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott, taken under oath on August 31, 2021, which provided further insight into the alleged bribery.
Prescott was called as a material witness in the appeal hearing for his teammate in connection with the five-game suspension imposed by the NFL. Prescott provided direct testimony in support of Collins, which rebuffed the notion of an attempted bribery of Roy de Leon, the NFL league tester. Prescott was thoroughly questioned about an alleged $10,000 bribe made by Collins to de Leon, in exchange for not having to take a test, specifically on the date of November 25, 2020.
When asked whether he had knowledge of such a bribe or saw Collins carry $10,000 into the locker room when he went to meet the tester, Prescott noted, “No. Of course not. Of course not.”
In the cross-examination portion of the deposition, the NFL Management Council zeroed in specifically on the “collection room” which is adjacent to the locker room and which Prescott was not inside of at the time of the alleged bribe. While Prescott could not affirmatively state what transpired within the collection room on November 25, he did note that both players were injured in the 2020 NFL season, but that he never witnessed any alleged bribery from his position within the locker room.
Prescott insinuated it may have been said in jest, noting that he and other teammates would oftentimes joke with the NFL tester, and believed that they had developed that type of relationship due to the numerous tests which Collins was subjected to during the entirety of the 2020 NFL season. In fact, when specifically asked, “Did you see him with $10,000 in cash with him?” Prescott emphatically stated “no.”
Jim Maurer, the head athletic trainer for the Dallas Cowboys for the past 32 years was also deposed in the appeal hearing. Mauer was also tasked with maintenance of COVID-19 protocols for the 2020 NFL season.
Mauer was steadfast in his support for Collins and explained and justified the alleged missed test dates, which included among other things, the death of Mr. Collins’ uncle, and in November 2020, the sudden and tragic passing of Dallas Cowboys Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach Markus Paul.
Despite these material representations to the NFL during its appeals process, the NFL arbitrator still decided to suspend Collins for five games.
The court transcripts of portions of the deposition are below.
For more on what went down inside the courtroom in the hearing, check out these LOJ stories