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NFLPA, USADA trading barbs over HGH testing

DeMaurice Smith AP

On Thursday, the NFLPA made an HGH testing proposal, which commences with a population study of all NFL players aimed at determining the proper range of permissible, naturally-occurring HGH in their systems.

The proposal, made more than three months after the NFL and NFLPA agreed to conduct HGH testing as part of the new labor deal, has sparked criticism from anti-doping experts.

“The fact that they’re saying this now is an absolute joke,” U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart told Barry Wilner of the Associated Press.  “It seems clear now they’re protecting their dirty players by further delaying the implementation of this test and not honoring the agreement they made to start this test at the beginning of the season.”

Per Wilner, experts believe a separate population study isn’t necessary, and that it would require months to complete.

The NFLPA has not reacted favorably to Tygart’s remarks.

“Mr. Tygart has had nothing but a negative influence on this process,” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said, via the NFLPA-licensed website ProPlayerInsiders.com.  “Now that we know what he thinks of our players, it is clear that his agenda begins and ends with himself.  Normally, I would call on him to apologize for calling our men ‘dirty’ but he isn’t worth the effort.  We will continue to work on an hGH testing protocol that is fair and transparent.”

A neutral observer could regard Smith’s remarks as the table-turning tactics of a trial lawyer.  With the NFL, Congress, the USADA, and the Word Anti-Doping Agency contending that the union is simply trying to delay HGH testing as long as possible, Smith arguably has seized on Tygart’s narrow term — “dirty players” — and broadened it to apply to all players, in the hopes of strengthening the resolve of all players to resist HGH testing.

Given the power of Congress to launch a comprehensive investigation regarding not only the HGH testing impasse but also the use of HGH by NFL players and the manner in which it has been obtained, both the NFL and the NFLPA need to realize that rhetoric and delay will eventually harm everyone’s interests.  Players will be exposed to interrogation (and possible criminal charges).  The NFL will risk the same stigma that has undermined baseball.

The parties have agreed to conduct HGH testing.  More than three months after the agreement was made, the NFLPA proposed for the first time a full population study of all NFL players.  Without concluding that the NFLPA is trying to delay the implementation of HGH testing, it’s easy to understand why the NFL, Congress, the USADA, and the WADA believe that’s precisely what’s happening.

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36 Responses to “NFLPA, USADA trading barbs over HGH testing”
  1. Patriot42 says: Nov 12, 2011 4:24 PM

    All the players union is up to is to protect themselves. I bet a quarter of the league is on juice.

  2. badtimeoutcaldwell says: Nov 12, 2011 4:30 PM

    The NFLPA is asking for all NFL players to be tested to establish a “baseline” for a “normal” HGH levels in NFL players.

    That is simply ridiculous. That is like going to a bar and establishing a new “normal” blood alchohol level by taking the average of all the people in the bar. Considering there are several people who have likely been drinking in the bar, any “average” that comes out of that sample is likely to be much higher than it should be.

    The fact that the NFLPA is fighting for this should tell us all we need to know about how idiodic and moronic their thought process is…

  3. captainloaded says: Nov 12, 2011 4:37 PM

    The science and the testing is there…..Smith is unwilling to accept the testing because it would be viewed as another loss on his end. The deal the players got to end the lockout has been widely panned. Accepting HGH testing will basically cost him his job.

  4. ballergac says: Nov 12, 2011 4:41 PM

    How sad and pathetic the NFLPA is acting.. but in saying that I think its smart, helps the once and/or current dirty players to get clean. Sad tactic but I could see why they would..

  5. FinFan68 says: Nov 12, 2011 4:46 PM

    I think the NFL should collect (anonymously) the samples already provided by each player at the start of the season. By testing those samples, the NFL and the NFLPA will have no doubt about the magnitude of the problem. By not matching individuals with samples, no player would be subject to disciplinary action. The test could be validated (even with NFL athletes) and future tests could result in appropriate discipline.

  6. scytherius says: Nov 12, 2011 4:48 PM

    I just don’t care.

  7. snarkzilla says: Nov 12, 2011 4:51 PM

    Give them the data, whether or not most experts believe it’s unnecessary and stipulate that testing begins immediately. Start testing. Let NFLPA try to defend players who test positive by using the data.

    There’s something fishy going on. Why won’t WADA give them the data whether or not most think it’s useless?

  8. gadgetdawg says: Nov 12, 2011 4:55 PM

    The USADA seems to get it. The union will stall and stall until the dirty players can get the stuff out of their system.

  9. ErikW65 says: Nov 12, 2011 4:57 PM

    Scientist Don Catlin understands NFLPA’s hesitation to allow WADA to test players for HGH
    Tuesday, August 30 2011

    “Catlin, best known as the scientist who identified the designer steroid THG, says WADA is notoriously reluctant to share its data about blood screening for HGH.

    “I’d like to look at the data, but WADA doesn’t disclose its information so an independent scientist can review it,” said Catlin, the founder of the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory, the first anti-doping lab in the United States.

    WADA has not shared information with other anti-doping researchers about the rate of false positives and false negatives since it began testing athletes’ blood for HGH, said Catlin, now the chief executive officer of Anti-Doping Research, a Los Angeles nonprofit organization, making it hard to determine how effective the test really is.

    “Every test will have false positives,” Catlin said. “The question is, what percentage can a sport stand? ”

    http://www.sportsbusinessnews.com/_news/news_424210.php

    Just because Smith is playing games with the issue doesn’t mean there aren’t real scientific concerns with WADA’s HGH test.

  10. steelersfan1983 says: Nov 12, 2011 5:03 PM

    NFL players wouldn’t cheat! They are model citizens

  11. buckybadger says: Nov 12, 2011 5:27 PM

    Of course the league is full of guys on this stuff. I think anyone playing in the trenches is on it. I don’t see a lot of natural builds out there these days. I am a firm believer in evolution but we ain’t evolving that fast.

    Start testing and if the players don’t like it play somewhere else. It is for their own safety. I guarantee we start to see less concussions the moment they start the testing.

  12. buckybadger says: Nov 12, 2011 5:29 PM

    I don’t want my employers to test me either and there is a good reason for it, now lets fire this joint up.

  13. TeamBalco says: Nov 12, 2011 5:34 PM

    I’ve got to back in the lab.

  14. cliffordc05 says: Nov 12, 2011 5:59 PM

    Football is headed down the same stupid path as baseball. We will see congressional committee hearings, players committing perjury, and the eventual suspicion and ridicule of all players. DeMaurice Smith’s suggestion is ludicrous and the NFLPA is obviously delaying HGH testing as long as possible.

    The reason that this is a stupid tactic is that once implemented it could be onerous if it is mandated by the government. The NFLPA needs to address this issue in a serious manner.

    If this is any indication of the manner in which the NFLPA negotiates, it is no longer a wonder why the lockout took so long to conclude. DeMaurice Smith is a jackass.

  15. childressrulz says: Nov 12, 2011 6:16 PM

    who cares legalize all roids and let them juice up!

  16. snarkzilla says: Nov 12, 2011 6:19 PM

    >I think anyone playing in the trenches is on it.

    Josh Sitton: “Guys want testing; we want it to be fair. I don’t want to be going against a guy that’s 330 pounds that runs a 4.7 because he’s on steroids or something.”

  17. lawyermalloy says: Nov 12, 2011 6:19 PM

    Like ALL politicians, “Smitty” is simply protecting another term in office. He knows that if testing, which HE already agreed to, is implemented BFORE he is approved for another term, he probably WON’T be approved for another term.

  18. gettingpwned says: Nov 12, 2011 6:27 PM

    while i agree that i think a TON of guys in the nfl are on this stuff you can also argue that a lot of them are also physical freaks who do not have the same genetic make up that normal people have. otherwise normal people could bulk up to their sizes and play football if so desired. that’s not the case. it’s tough to say who’s right. de smith is trying to protect his guys, and the nfl is scared of congress. so both are just trying to cover their @$$3$.

  19. litemater95 says: Nov 12, 2011 6:29 PM

    “Players will be exposed to interrogation (and possible criminal charges).”

    De Smith will only allow his players be deposed through Twitter, that way they can say someone else hacked/controlled their account, and likewise be able to deny perjury.

  20. waccoforflacco says: Nov 12, 2011 6:30 PM

    We all know the superbowls the Steelers won were all because of the juice.

    Since the Rooneys run the league we wont see any testing anytime soon.

    The “Steel Cutain” was the juice curtain and Chuck Knoll knows all about it.

  21. granadafan says: Nov 12, 2011 6:32 PM

    The doping agency is 100% correct. The NFLPA is stalling with their absurd and baseless claims.

  22. snarkzilla says: Nov 12, 2011 6:33 PM

    >I bet a quarter of the league is on juice.

    Juice is steroids. The league already tests for steroids aggressively in and out of season and there’s little chance a player won’t get caught if he juices.

    Nobody has a clue about how many players use HGH or even what its effects really are. There’s no real agreement about either of those.

  23. buckybadger says: Nov 12, 2011 7:13 PM

    >I think anyone playing in the trenches is on it.

    Josh Sitton: “Guys want testing; we want it to be fair. I don’t want to be going against a guy that’s 330 pounds that runs a 4.7 because he’s on steroids or something.”

    ——————-

    I seem to remember Raphael Palmeiro stating emphatically that he didn’t use steroids. No one is admitting to it unless they get caught.

  24. prior0knowledge says: Nov 12, 2011 7:44 PM

    With so many NFL players getting hurt and playing hurt, I think HGH should be legal. After all, all it does is allows the player to heal faster. It does not improve performance like steroids do.

  25. poorlittlepinkus says: Nov 12, 2011 8:24 PM

    That sums up unions!

  26. evrybdyhas1 says: Nov 12, 2011 9:22 PM

    The NFLPA seems to be more concerned about protecting players using HGH then preventing its use. Perhaps all NFL players should be allowed to use any performance enhancing substance and ultimately solve the issues with retired players.

    The fans will get crazy off the chart performances and the union won’t have any old players to worry about and northern will the NFL.

  27. snarkzilla says: Nov 12, 2011 9:43 PM

    It’s unfair to assume that everybody juices and it requires a belief that the PED testing the league already does almost never works and is just showboating. But stay in fantasyland if you like.

  28. snarkzilla says: Nov 12, 2011 9:53 PM

    Come on people. Your rivals only win because they all juice despite testing and because refs make bad calls that favor them.

    Sometimes they’re just better players on a better team.

  29. snarkzilla says: Nov 13, 2011 12:19 AM

    >I seem to remember Raphael Palmeiro stating emphatically that he didn’t use steroids. No one is admitting to it unless they get caught.

    Palmiero was being accused with cause. Sitton wasn’t being accused. He was being interviewed along with several other players about drug testing.

  30. ranksarot says: Nov 13, 2011 1:23 AM

    There is a corporate CEO involved. That explains all the congressional interest. Corporate fat cats own the politicians and all of a sudden the politicians care about HGH testing. Its all making sense now. Corporation stands to make a lot of money, will the players get notification calls from India? The CEO should have kept his mouth shut and let all of us sheep buy into “player safety” hogwash coming from the gubmint. Now we know. Its all about the money isnt it?

  31. nekelund says: Nov 13, 2011 2:29 AM

    Long story short, the Union agreed to HGH testing. So, Smith and co., sack up and do it. Delaying the process is only going to get Congress involved, in which case they could very likely end up imposing a testing regime much harsher than you want.

    The only result of trying to avoid HGH testing is to lose any support the Union may have had and any leverage in future disputes (and there will be some) over issues not clearly dealt with in the CBA.

    If the NFLPA doesn’t like what it agreed to, it should fire its leaders.

  32. earthtopft says: Nov 13, 2011 3:00 AM

    Tygart didn’t mean to suggest that all of the players were dirty, but Mo admitted that anyway.

  33. vahawker says: Nov 13, 2011 7:30 AM

    De would certainly know all about negative influences on negotiations processes. The only reason not to start now is all the players that would be fined, suspended, and then turn into the amazing and extra in a Rck Maranis Honey, I Shrunk the NFL Player movie.

    If they weren’t doping…they wouldn’t care. Leads me to believe it MUCH more widespread than they wants us to know.

  34. eagleswin says: Nov 13, 2011 8:23 AM

    Given the power of Congress to launch a comprehensive investigation regarding not only the HGH testing impasse but also the use of HGH by NFL players and the manner in which it has been obtained, both the NFL and the NFLPA need to realize that rhetoric and delay will eventually harm everyone’s interests.

    ——————————-

    I like the way you try to imply the NFL is at fault in this as much as the NFLPA. The NFLPA is the only one stonewalling, the NFL is not trying to delay this but implying this isn’t 100% the players fault is your way of supporting the players.

  35. keepounding1234 says: Nov 13, 2011 8:23 AM

    I know i’m going to get bashed for this. HGH is not “juice”. It is not a steroid. It does not give superhuman strength like steroids. It can help with healing. It only adds a minimul amount of weight. I for one think manning should be prescribed hgh to help with his bone fusion in his neck.

  36. vahawker says: Nov 13, 2011 8:44 AM

    waccoforflacco… You can’t believe how much it hurts me to defend the Steelers… I have been an avowed Steeler hater since I was conceived in 196…and I will be one until I die…that being said…

    What you SAY is true..what you IMPLY is false. Yes they were (likely) all on roids, BUT it wasn’t against the rules at the time so they weren’t “cheating”.

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