The NFL continues to prepare to unveil HGH testing as soon as Week One of the regular season. On Tuesday, NFL senior V.P. of labor law and policy Adolpho Birch (not pictured) conducted a conference call to discuss the details of HGH testing.
One of the primary benefits of testing is deterrence. Though a certain percentage of players will continue to cheat, the possibility of being caught could ensure that players who aren’t using HGH won’t be tempted to start, and it also could steer some of those inclined to try away from assuming the risk of being caught.
As a result, Birch identified “the constant threat of testing” as one of the key aspects of the program.
Apart from the annual test that will be conducted in the preseason, players will be subject to six random offseason tests and an unlimited number of in-season tests. “That could be, if a person were particularly lucky or unlucky, it could be 22 or 23 times,” Birch said. “I don’t suspect it will be that much, but the number of test dates that we will have, I would certainly expect our players to be tested in an amount that would be meaningful.”
Birch said that he doesn’t believe HGH use is as prevalent as some have suggested. But he acknowledged that no one really knows how frequently it is — or isn’t — being used. “[T]hat is part of the reason we think the testing is critical to do,” Birch said. “To dispel if it’s untrue. If it’s true, to deter the use and reduce it. Either way, we benefit by conducting the test.”
Some details need to still be ironed out, but the goal remains to test for HGH by the time the 2011 season begins. It’ll then be time to sit back and wait to see who, if anyone, tests positive — and in turn to wonder what excuses will be offered when they do.