The NFL announced today that three players had been cleared in a freeze tag game incident that allegedly took place in Council Bluffs, Iowa last year. Al Jazeera America made the allegations against the three and others in a documentary aired earlier his spring.
Julius Peppers, Clay Matthews, and James Harrison were cleared in a statement by the NFL – while Peyton Manning had already been cleared months.. The documentary alleged that the four, and possible others gathered in Council Bluffs last year to exchange football insights, but after a round of drinks went out to a local park to get a little fresh air. According to the report the gang then took things up a notch with Peppers suggesting they play a little tag. Al Jazeera reported the Matthews insisted it be freeze tag instead, and the others agreed, then playing for about 15 minutes in the crisp, fall air.
“The NFL found no credible evidence that Pittsburgh’s James Harrison and Green Bay’s Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers were in Council Bluffs, on Sunday, November 8th 2016, nor did said players involve themselves in a game of freeze tag. In fact, all three were playing games in various cities around the country, yet we felt it was necessary to fully investigate the allegations made in a documentary by Al-Jazeera America.”
Peppers, Harrison and Matthews initially balked at being interviewed by NFL security about the game. The players finally agreed to be interviewed about the incident last week after being threatened with suspensions by the NFL.
“Look, I protect the shield,” said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. “I can’t just my players running roughshod over the community, playing games like that. We have to take every media report that alleges wrongdoing seriously, thus the long and drawn out investigation about nothing.”