It was all over my feed today:
Jabril Peppers, Michigan star, tested positive with a dilute sample!
Peppers tested positive!
It was enough to make a scientist vomit or in my case, a trial lawyer (that loves science but hates the way that the police abuse it) rush to address it in this blog.
A dilute is not a positive test. Period. End of discussion. Let me repeat myself: a dilute sample is not a positive test. While some judges and perhaps even the NFL “treat” a dilute sample as a positive sample, it most assuredly is not.
A positive sample is a sample that after being properly collected is subjected to a test that reveals that the sample contains a prohibited substance. The legal system and the NFL have protocols for testing samples. Some of the methods are validated and scientifically acceptable while some are not.
I suspect that the legal system has a less reliable and robust testing program than does the NFL which is a sad commentary. The legal system wants efficiency, speed, value and perfection. None of these concepts are consistent with robust scientific principles and techniques. Science is imperfect.