Blog Entry

NFLPA explains position on HGH testing

Posted on: November 11, 2011 9:05 am
Smith, GoodellPosted by Josh Katzowitz

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is still on his quest to bring HGH testing to the NFL, saying Wednesday, “We're completely focused on that. We think it's the right thing to do. We agreed to it. We think it's the right thing to do for player safety. We think it's important for the credibility of the game."

Yet, it’s been made clear the NFLPA isn’t on the same wavelength.

But why? The two sides already agreed to the testing in the newest Collective Bargaining Agreement (you remember that somewhat-important document that consumed the offseason, right?), so why is the union making everything so difficult?

Let the NFLPA explain in this Pro Players Insider piece:
While the NFLPA is committed to player health and safety, a fair and transparent testing protocol is also necessary to maintain the integrity of the game and the due process rights of its players.

In Article 39, Section 7 (b) of the CBA, the NFL and NFLPA agreed to “discuss and develop … the safe and secure collection of samples, transportation and testing of samples, the scope of review of the medical science and the arbitrator review policy.”

So, the NFLPA is saying it didn’t agree to HGH testing. Instead, the union claims it agreed to talk about starting HGH testing.

And until the union receives assurances on a few matters, it looks like it won’t be agreeing to anything anytime soon.

For instance, the biggest issue is “the lack of transparency at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the only group that has developed an isoform test for exogenous (non-naturally occurring) HGH which, unlike naturally occurring HGH, can be injected into the body.

“WADA has adamantly declined to provide population and validation studies, and its test radically differs from those for other performance-enhancing drugs because if a blood sample surpasses a predetermined HGH limit, it’s declared a positive without allowing for a naturally occurring result. And yet, the NFL’s proposed appeal process bars players from challenging the science behind WADA’s test which has been in use for less than two years, not long enough to be certain that it has not generated false positives.”

Basically, the NFLPA says that the man who developed the test that WADA uses has talked about his concern for false positive tests and that the factors contributing to a false positive are gender, age, body composition, and the effects of “acute and chronic exercise.” Therefore, the NFLPA says that because NFL players have been known to exercise from time to time, this puts them at greater risk for a false positive. That’s why the NFLPA wants, in its own words, “to have full access to the makeup of the testing population from which blood samples were obtained in order for WADA to set the decision limit.”  
Goodell disagrees, calling the proposal “a valid test,” and it seems like this is an impasse that might take some time to clear.

Even though the supposed 10 years of labor peace hasn’t been so peaceful thus far, thank the heavens that HGH testing is not an issue that could destroy an NFL season. It’s just kind of annoying.

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Category: NFL
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