Lost in all the hubbub of the preseason (We’ve got football back, y’all!) and the back-patting that came out with the emergence of the new CBA was that there were still some unresolved issues that the owners and the newly-reformed players union would have to negotiate and agree upon before everybody could truly move forward.
One of those issues is the introduction of HGH testing.
The NFL has thought along that the testing for human growth hormone was necessary, and Roger Goodell was touting all the way back in March that the owners were “going to ensure it gets done.” The NFLPA, on the other hand, has gone on record as far back as 2006, saying testing for HGH (involving taking blood from players) was too invasive.
On Wednesday, the two sides met with the World Anti-Doping Agency in Montreal, and as the Washington Post writes, the NFLPA was unsatisfied with how blood testing on players would be conducted. Naturally, no agreement has been reached, and the union still has questions about the reliability of the tests and what kind of rights the players have not to be stuck with needles.
The “rooted in science” quote is interesting, considering David Howman, the WADA director general, told the Post that “all the scientists in the room” thought the testing process was clear-cut and that the union was taking “a very strange approach” to the issue if the players, in fact, want HGH testing.
As CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman writes today, “For a system to be inserted it had to be done by the season opener. Well, according to one official close to the talks, that seems unlikely. Things could easily change and the two sides still have several weeks to work something out but the union remains unconvinced, I'm told, about the accuracy of the test.”
Do the players even want testing? I’m not sure. The union might talk a good game about having to clean up football and making sure nobody is gaining an unfair advantage by using HGH. But the NFLPA has been very slow to come around on this issue, and you have to wonder what exactly it will take for the union to give its OK to HGH testing.
If the World Anti-Doping Agency can’t convince the NFLPA, what will?
UPDATED (10:33 a.m. ET): To answer that question, perhaps we can glean the answer from this passage in an APstory (emphasis mine).
Among those representing the union were outside counsel Maurice Suh, who represented disgraced cyclist Floyd Landis, who was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France win for doping, and scientists Paul Scott, Tim Roberts and Dennis Crouch of Aegis Lab in Nashville.
The NFLPA had asked WADA for information on how the testing works, the rate of reliability and for data on the safety of the HGH test. The person said none of that information was made available Wednesday.
Another person familiar with the talks, however, said Scott, Roberts and Crouch were given an opportunity to ask questions after getting a summary of data from WADA, but did not.
According to a CBSSports.com source, the NFLPA asked for this information (how the test works and other data points) weeks ago but has yet to receive an answer. That apparently is the big reason why the NFLPA is still hesitant to agree to this kind of testing right now.
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