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Union still has concerns about HGH testing

Roger Goodell, Jeff Pash AP

Earlier today, Representatives Darrell Issa (R-Cal.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) announced that the NFL will begin HGH testing as early as next week.

Key words:  “as early as.”

Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports that, after Friday’s meeting on Capitol Hill, NFLPA representatives said that they don’t expect testing to begin until players are satisfied that the blood test for HGH is “reliable and safe.”  Safety, however, wasn’t one of the issues identified by NFLPA spokesman George Atallah during a Thursday phone interview.

Atallah said that the union has no concern regarding the safety or accuracy of the test currently endorsed by the World Anti-Doping Agency, and that the issue at this point relates to the manner in which WADA determined, based on the concentration of naturally-occurring HGH in the systems of athletes in other sports, the acceptable level of HGH in football players.  There’s no indication that Friday’s meeting led to any resolution of this specific issue.

Per Maske, the two sides are due to meet with Issa and Cummings again, within the next 30 days.  That fact, in and of itself, suggests that the controversy wasn’t resolved in a couple of hours at Congress.

The league, which was represented at the meeting by Roger Goodell and Jeff Pash (pictured), along with Adolpho Birch, has issued no statements regarding today’s meeting.  Still, Goodell and Pash said after the meeting that HGH testing will commence in seven to 10 days.

According to FOXSports.com (via SportsBusiness Daily), the current status of the parties’ accord seems to be that samples will be collected and tested as the parties continue to negotiate regarding the manner in which the results will be interpreted.  “We are not guaranteeing any outcome other then there was an agreement to begin testing immediately,” Issa said, per FOXSports.com.  “The other aspects on what to do with the tests will be resolved over the next many weeks.”

That position accounts for the union’s concerns regarding the permissible concentration of naturally-occurring HGH in football players, and confirms that the current sticking point actually isn’t safety or accuracy, regardless of what the union representatives said after the meeting.

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17 Responses to “Union still has concerns about HGH testing”
  1. 46defense says: Oct 14, 2011 3:39 PM

    Clay Matthews career to end as early as next week…

  2. tommyf15 says: Oct 14, 2011 3:44 PM

    WADA is a bully organization, and I’m happy the NFLPA is standing up to them.

  3. threed61 says: Oct 14, 2011 3:47 PM

    Shouldnt Darrell Be investigating issues he actually knows something about, oh say, the dangers of arson maybe?

  4. granadafan says: Oct 14, 2011 3:51 PM

    Surely a baseline HGH level has already been established as testing is performed on world class athletes who are in peak shape and not the typical couch potato slob.

    Sounds like the Union is stalling and is throwing out baseless lines to actually prevent testing. Safety? Give me a break, it’s a blood test with a needle. This isn’t the 1930s.

    IF, and that’s a big if, a baseline is needed for football players, please exclude the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cushing, and the Matthews brothers as they will artificially increase the baseline level.

  5. txxxchief says: Oct 14, 2011 3:59 PM

    The NFLPA’s main concern: half of the players test positive and can’t pay their union dues.

  6. occamssabre says: Oct 14, 2011 4:00 PM

    In response to todays info, the Pittsburgh Steelers lose 8 out of the next 11 games.

  7. yzguy431 says: Oct 14, 2011 4:03 PM

    guess that ‘jobs bill’ will have to wait. this hgh testing is a matter of national importance.

  8. panther17 says: Oct 14, 2011 4:17 PM

    Keep dragging your feet. No ones going to notice.

  9. kibawib says: Oct 14, 2011 4:24 PM

    Through five games this year, Clay Matthews has 1.0 sack and is ranked 84th among all players.

  10. kibawib says: Oct 14, 2011 4:25 PM

    As a junior at Agoura High, Matthews was 6-1 and weighed about 165 pounds. By 2008, USC listed Matthews at 246. That’s 81 pounds of weight (muscle) on Matthews since a junior in high school (over 6 years), which is probably not unheard of for college linemen; for a linebacker to retain or increase speed while packing on 80 pounds, that’s fantastic.

  11. gb4mn0 says: Oct 14, 2011 4:36 PM

    If the NFLPA harbors a belief that HGH testing could lead to dark cloud hanging over the players then they should be ashamed for not having addressed it with the players earlier.

    I don’t care if it’s Clay Matthews, James Harrison or whomever. If they’re doping they need to face the consequences. Nobody wants to talk about the deplorable image this leaves with the youth that look at these players as heroes.

  12. scudbot says: Oct 14, 2011 5:12 PM

    Yeah. kibawib, I agree. He’s quite an athlete and has unmatched intensity. You ought to Google [Clay Matthews MMA workout] and read about it. Jared Allen does it too.

  13. bordner says: Oct 14, 2011 5:31 PM

    They should start by ruling out the players who obviously aren’t on it – like all of the bears’ o-linemen, for example.

    TBSS!

  14. paulharghis says: Oct 14, 2011 5:40 PM

    The apathy of some of you people regarding PED’s in sports astounds me.

    I don’t want to watch doped up freaks play sports.

    This is spitting in the face of the all time greats.

    Some of you are parents- how do you look your kids in the face and say its ok to cheat to win?
    You are doing that by condoning drugs in you sports.

    Pathetic.

  15. korikill says: Oct 14, 2011 6:55 PM

    Bottom line: the union agreed to it. Do it. No excuses.

  16. savannahrose44 says: Oct 14, 2011 7:13 PM

    I bet they do have concerns…concerned their players are going to get caught.

  17. scudbot says: Oct 14, 2011 8:39 PM

    “Through five games this year, Clay Matthews has 1.0 sack and is ranked 84th among all players.” He has 22 hits on QBs so far. Stop cherry picking stats.

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