Posted on: December 16, 2011 6:27 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2011 7:53 pm

Doctors turned Congress write NFL, union on HGH

Congressional officials have been applying a steady stream of pressure to the union to bend on HGH testing. The union believes there needs to be more information and safeguards inserted into testing protocols while the NFL believes testing is ready to start now.

Well, Congress has launched another salvo. This time a group of doctors turned Congressional officials have wriiten a letter to the union and NFL urging them to end their HGH impasse. You can read the letter here.

Will this work? I don't know. The union is convinced there needs to be more research done and I'm not sure they will budge.

So the HGH impasse will likely continue.
Category: NFL
Tags: HGH, NFL
Posted on: October 25, 2011 2:16 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2011 9:42 pm

Congressmen request hearings on HGH impasse

The battle between the union and NFL over HGH might get a whole lot more interesting.

Three Congressmen are now requesting that the Committee on Energy and Commerce hold public hearings on the continuing impasse between the union and NFL on how to implement HGH testing.

CBSSports.com has obtained the letter from Congressmen Henry Waxman, the ranking member of the committee; G.K. Butterfield, the ranking member of the subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade; and Bobby Rush, another member of the Energy and Commerce committee.

The end result of hearings could be owner and NFL officials being hauled back into Washington and explaining why no agreement on how to implement HGH testing has been reached. The NFL maintains the union is delaying testing while the union says it has serious concerns on how such a test would be implemented.

This is potentially pretty big news.

"We are writing to request that the Committee hold hearings on the continued impasse between the NFL and the NFL Players' Association (NFLPA) that has resulted in the failure to begin testing for human growth hormone," the letter states in part. "Earlier this year, the league and the players' association announced that under their new collective bargaining agreement, they would begin testing for HGH during the 2011 season. But testing has not yet started, with the NFLPA continuing to raise questions about the scientific validity of the test."

The letter adds: "Committee hearings will allow us to learn about these issues, hearing from top scientists about the validity of HGH testing and from the NFL and the NFLPA about the extent of HGH use in the league and their plans for testing to eliminate such use."

"We urge you," the letter finishes, "to hold hearings on this issue as soon as possible."

Translation to all of this: we want whomever is delaying this to bring their butts to D.C. and explain in hearings why they're delaying.

Category: NFL
Tags: HGH
Posted on: October 20, 2011 5:38 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2011 7:13 pm

Goodell letter to Congress

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday wrote a letter to Congressional leaders continuing to express his desire for HGH testing.

Goodell met with Darrell Issa and Elijah Cummings to discuss an HGH testing program. The league wants to start testing immediately while the union has expressed concern for fairness in the process. The two sides have reached a stalemate.

Goodell's letter, a copy of which was obtained by CBSSports.com, is another step in the ongoing battle between the two sides.

A copy of the letter is here.

The top of letter reads as follows. The letter is presented without comment.
"I want to express my thanks for your time last Friday and for your strong support of the National Football League's efforts to begin testing our players for human growth hormone. The NFL respects the historical role that your committee has played in supporting effective drug testing programs in profesional sports. As I said last Friday -- and as the NFL has made clear for decades -- we share your belief that these programs are essential to preserve the integrity of competition on the field, protect the health and safety of athletes, and perhaps most important, set the right example for athletes at all levels, especially youth athletes. Professional football must be free of performance-enhancing drugs and our testing regimen must be implemented fairly and be based on the best available science."

The letter continued: "As we discussed last week, the NFL agrees with the dozens of scientists, toxicoligists and other experts around the world who have concluded that human growth hormone testing is reliable, safe and accurate. In fact, there are no experts in this field who state otherwise and nothing we presented to you last week that would call into question the validity or reliability of the tests used in the Olympics and many other sports (including minor league baseball). This is true both as a general matter and as the test would apply to professional football players. As we noted, the NFLPA speciafically proposed random testing for HGH and mandatory suspensions for players who test positive..."

The letter continues with Goodell making a number of other points to back the league's contention that HGH testing is fair and accurate and should be started soon.

Category: NFL
Tags: HGH
Posted on: October 19, 2011 12:54 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2011 4:16 pm

NFL, union continue sparring on HGH

There were reports that the NFL would begin blood testing on its players for HGH on Monday. Um, wait, hold on. The union released a statement saying the following: "We informed the NFL yesterday that absent a collective agreement on several critical issues, blood collection is not ready to be implemented on Monday. We have advised the players."

Translation: no needles in our players' arms. Not yet.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello sent this response late Wednesday afternoon: "We are disappointed in the union’s response. It is contrary to the terms of the CBA and the agreements reached last Friday with the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Government Reform Committee. We are ready to begin educating players on the testing program and collecting samples. This approach was put forward by Congressmen Issa and Cummings. It is well-reasoned and balances the need to ensure immediate deterrence with the union’s desire for further review and education. We know of no reason why these initial steps should not begin next week, and none has been identified by the union."

This is getting intestesting. 

The two sides continue to fight over several issues including how exactly the test will be implemented. It's extremely complicated.

But bottom line for now: no test for HGH just yet.
Category: NFL
Tags: HGH
Posted on: October 14, 2011 2:23 pm

Union, NFL will test for HGH...but when?

The first pronouncement the NFL and union had agreed to test for HGH and that a test could come as early as next week came from the NFL. The denouncement from the union came a short time after that. It was, for a few moments, quite confusing.

The truth is, the league's announcement regarding HGH testing was slightly premature. Yes, the two sides have agreed to test for HGH, but when they start is still uncertain.

"We have an agreement to test for HGH," union spokesman George Atallah told me, "what we don't have an agreement on is the process and the protocol to implement the test."

The union still wants answers on a number of issues related to what's tested for and how that's done. Those answers could come as soon as Monday or they could take weeks. Or the union, rightfully looking out for its players, could decide the testing system is unfair.

So basically, after all of that, after even Congressional intervention, we have premature testulation.

This is the good news. It seems we're headed for testing this season and it could come quite soon. But the union isn't going to sign off for the sake of signing off. Nor should they but it seems like they're poised for an agreement.

Category: NFL
Tags: HGH
Posted on: October 14, 2011 1:41 pm
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Posted on: October 14, 2011 1:22 pm

Landmark agreement on HGH testing reached

The NFL will begin testing its players for human growth hormone as early as next week, a landmark deal in the era of drug testing in American sports.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an e-mail to me that the agreement and testing will begin as early as one week from today.

Officials were in Washington on Friday meeting with Congress. More on this story soon.
Category: NFL
Tags: HGH
Posted on: October 13, 2011 8:45 am

The Daily Shoutout: Crucial HGH meeting in DC

OPENING HIT: A crucial step in the NFL's attempt to have HGH testing in its league could happen Friday morning in Washington.

Recently leaders of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee called for a meeting with leaders from the NFL and union for an update on the status of HGH testing. That meeting is expected to take place on Friday, I've been told by several sources.

The chair of the committee, Darrell Issa, and Elijah Cummings, the ranking member, invited Commissioner Roger Goodell and union head DeMaurice Smith. The meeting is expected to take place in Issa's office.

Many of the top officials from the NFL and union are expected to attend.

This meeting is potentially a big deal. It could be the spark -- or rather the politicial shove -- to finally push both sides to an agreement.

The NFL and its union agreed to start testing for HGH as part of the new collective bargaining agreement. Both sides want it but union officials have expressed to me in the past they fear the test is too intrusive and not reliable. The league vehemently disputes that saying the test is practical and works.

What helped the NFL's case was a stunning endorsement of the HGH testing system in a letter to the league from dozens of scientists. It's pretty convincing stuff and will be a major PR and practical help to the league as it continues to make its case.

I don't know when there will finally be HGH testing. I still think it begins next season but this meeting in Washington is the kind of move that can dramatically speed things up.
Category: NFL
Tags: HGH, NFL
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com