In August, the NFL and NFLPA agreed that HGH testing would occur. Since then, the NFLPA has been dragging its feet.
Now, one of the union’s player representatives has offered a solution: Delay any discussions regarding the topic until March 2012.
“[I]f we . . . do it in March . . . players can sit down and the league can sit down and you don’t have the stress and the strain of a football season going on to deal with it,” Scott said, per the Associated Press.
This suggestion meshes with the theory that NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith hopes to avoid any final commitment to HGH testing until after his contract has been renewed. He’s up for re-election in (you guessed it) March.
The NFL remains prepared to proceed with HGH testing now. The real question is whether Congress will be patient, or whether Congress will launch an investigation that would expose players to questioning and the league to embarrassment, based on the evidence that comes to light. The better approach for the league could be to take steps aimed at forcing the union to honor its agreement, in order to prevent Congress from creating a mess for everyone.
Looking at the issue more broadly, if the NFLPA wanted to delay testing until March 2012 or beyond, the NFLPA should have added that term to the CBA. Instead, the union agreed to submit to HGH testing in 2011. To date, the NFLPA hasn’t honored its agreement.
Though the NFLPA — and Scott — has maintained from the get-go that the union has retained the ability to approve the testing procedure and other specifics, it’s impossible to get past the disconnect between agreeing to HGH testing and refusing to submit to the leading HGH test. To date, the union also hasn’t suggested any alternative HGH test.
It’s in the best interests of both the league and the NFLPA to work this thing out as soon as possible, with concrete steps aimed at persuading Congress that full-blown testing will happen sooner rather than later.