Last month, two members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee invited NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith to attend a meeting for the purposes of discussing the ongoing delay in the implementation of HGH testing. The league promptly accepted the invitation; the NFLPA was mum on the question of whether it would attend.
Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com reported earlier today that the two sides will indeed visit with Darrell Issa (R-Cal.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) on Friday.
NFLPA spokesman George Atallah has confirmed to PFT in a telephone interview that the union has agreed to attend.
News of the meeting comes a day after reports surfaced of a letter signed by nearly two dozen scientists and lab directors endorsing the current HGH test for use by the NFL.
“This further demonstrates that there is simply no excuse for delaying the start of HGH testing in the NFL,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the Associated Press. “The scientific validity of the test is unquestioned. The abuse of growth hormone must be deterred to protect the health of our players and send the right message to young athletes in all sports.”
This morning, Atallah responded by making two points. First, Atallah said that the NFLPA at no time has questioned the safety or accuracy of the current HGH test. The NFLPA’s concern arises from the ratio of naturally occurring HGH that the World Anti-Doping Agency deems acceptable. WADA has refused to share with the NFLPA information regarding the manner in which the line between permissible and non-permissible concentrations of HGH was developed, creating fears that football players may have a greater (or, in theory, lower) amount of naturally occurring HGH than athletes who participate in a wide variety of other sports. Second, Atallah contends that the “nearly two dozen scientists and lab directors” who signed the letter have ties to WADA, making their support for the WADA test less reliable and not objective.
Either way, the parties will commence the process of hashing the situation out in the presence of two members of Congress on Friday. The league and the union have agreed that testing will occur; the sooner the two sides agree on a testing method, the sooner testing can begin.