The NFL and the NFLPA will get together in Indy next week to discuss a variety of issues.
One of the biggest? HGH testing.
NFLPA spokesman George Atallah told Alex Marvez and Jim Miller of SiriusXM NFL Radio on Friday that the league and the union will continue to try to finalize an HGH testing plan. The parties agreed in August that testing would commence for the 2011 season. Due to union concerns regarding the validity of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s protocol, however, no testing has occurred.
Atallah said there’s no timetable for working things out.
“We believe the proposal we gave to the league, which includes a population study for our players and fair appeals rights, are really not dependent on a date,” Atallah said.
The NFLPA has been asking for a “population study” for months. The request arises from concerns that WADA’s thresholds apply to Olympic athletes, whose body compositions may entail a much lower natural concentration of HGH. And so the NFLPA wants a specific standard to be developed based on the natural HGH levels existing in NFL players.
Of course, to the extent that NFL players included in the population study are driving up their HGH levels by injecting more HGH into their bodies, the numbers will be skewed.
Regardless, the two sides seem to be no closer to working out a deal than they were in August. Some in league circles believe that, in light of the unpopularity of HGH testing among the rank and file, the NFLPA won’t make serious strides toward resolving the issue until Executive Director DeMaurice Smith receives a contract to replace his three-year deal that expires in March.
Still, to the extent that feet are being dragged, the NFL has failed to take any steps to enforce what appears to be a clear agreement to conduct testing. At some point, if the NFL and the NFLPA can’t solve their differences on their own, Congress could impose a solution on both sides that neither will like.