In a pregame interview on Thursday night with NBC’s Bob Costas, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed several topics, including the curious failure of the league and the NFLPA to get HGH testing in place for the start of the season, despite proclamations to the contrary.
Costas hit that topic right out of the gates, asking Goodell to explain the delay.
“We did agree in our CBA that we would start HGH testing with the regular season,” Goodell said. “The union wanted to get some additional information and that’s been provided to them. I think it’s important for us to implement as soon as possible for player health and safety, and for the integrity of the game. I expect we’ll be hearing from them shortly to get it implemented. We’re ready to go.”
Goodell said he’s not as concerned about the impression that the NFLPA is covering for HGH users as he is about the simple fact that the testing hasn’t been implemented.
“We had sufficient time,” Goodell said. “It had been negotiated over a lengthy period of time. I don’t think there’s anything new that’s developed since we agreed to it so I think it’s the right thing to do. I hope we’ll be able to do it as soon as possible.”
The perception that the NFLPA hopes to protect HGH users from getting caught seems more than reasonable, even if the more like reality is that the union hopes to use resistance to HGH testing as a tool for scoring concessions in the broader drug testing negotiations. Either way, the NFLPA agreed that HGH testing will happen, starting this year. If the NFLPA doesn’t like the protocol used by the World Anti-Doping Agency — the group that handles drug testing for the Olympics — the NFLPA should be prepared to recommend a meaningful alternative. Surely, the union didn’t agree to HGH testing without considering how the HGH testing would be implemented.
Then again, maybe they did.