On Friday, two members of Congress announced that the NFL would be implementing HGH testing in the near future. Though a disagreement apparently remained regarding the interpretation of the test results, Representative Darrell Issa (R-Cal.) made it clear that samples would be collected and tested in the immediate future, with further discussion on how the results would be handled.
“We are not guaranteeing any outcome other then there was an agreement to begin testing immediately,” Issa (pictured with Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth) said Friday, per FOXSports.com. “The other aspects on what to do with the tests will be resolved over the next many weeks.”
Earlier today, the NFL notified the NFLPA that the league will commence the collection of blood samples on Monday. And now the NFLPA is refusing to cooperate.
“We informed the NFL [Tuesday] that absent a collective agreement on several critical issues, blood collection is not ready to be implemented on Monday,” the NFLPA said in a statement released on the union’s website. “We have advised the players.”
The NFL isn’t pleased.
“We are disappointed in the union’s response,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the Associated Press. “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.”
Added Aiello via Twitter: “We know of no reason why these initial steps should not begin next week, and none has been identified by the union.”
The union’s refusal to follow through on the agreement reached with Issa and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) is troubling. The union has yet to address whether it believes no agreement was reached, or whether the agreement isn’t what the NFL and Issa claim that it is.
The union’s position will serve only to increase speculation that NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith will resist for as long as possible the implementation of HGH testing, not due to concerns that an overabundance of players will be caught but due to a belief that, if HGH testing is implemented at any point this season, Smith won’t be re-elected when his contract expires in March 2012.
Either way, the two sides need to work this out, sooner rather than later. Former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason, who now works for CBS and WFAN (among other media jobs), had strong comments on the subject during Wednesday’s PFT Live.