New York Jets linebacker Brandon Copeland plans to file a lawsuit against a company that he claims gave him "contaminated" supplements, which led to a four-game suspension to start the 2019 season.
Copeland took a recovery supplement that contained a banned substance under the NFL’s policy. He claimed the substance didn’t appear on the product’s label, which led to a failed NFL-issued drug test on April 15. He received the suspension on Aug. 21 for violating the league’s PED policy.
“I don't hold my head down or anything like that,” he told reporters at practice on Wednesday. “I know the person I am, my family knows the person I am. People who know me know the person I am.
“If anyone knows my journey and my story, it really doesn't really make sense for me to try to cheat the game or cheat myself at this point in time, coming off the best season of my life on the field, off the field.”
Copeland, 28, plans to file the lawsuit in New Jersey. He didn’t name the company or the supplement. He said a nutritionist recommended the supplement to help his body recover. He said he sent the supplement to other nutritionists, and they verified the ingredients were not among those banned by the league. Copeland said he also checked on the NFL’s app.
When he got notice that he failed the test, he initially denied knowing that he took anything illegal. He sent all the supplements he was taking to a third-party lab for testing.
“It cost literally $745 per supplement to test,” said Copeland, who signed a one-year, $1.1 million deal with the Jets in the offseason. “A lot of people ask, 'Why don't you just test your stuff?' Well, you pay $30, $40 for a supplement and then you've got to pay $745 for a laboratory to test and it takes them multiple weeks to do it. It confirmed that one of the supplements had the banned substance in it.”
He said he has copies of all previous drug tests he has taken, and they were all negative – as were the three he has taken since the one he failed. He said he was uncertain whether the supplements he took came from a bad batch or whether the supplement actually had the banned ingredient.
The Jets are set to take on the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report