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HGH testing issue could be tool for reducing some of Commissioner’s power

Jeff Pash, Roger Goodell AP

When it comes to the issue of HGH testing, the league and the union disagree not only on how to go about doing it, but also on whether there’s reason to be optimistic that HGH testing will be implemented before the start of the 2012 regular season.

During separate appearances on Friday’s PFT Live, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and NFL general counsel Jeff Pash separately were asked whether they think HGH testing is coming in 2012.

“I hope so,” Smith said, “because our players want a clean game.” Smith then explained that, because the NFL didn’t immediately agree to the players’ 2011 request for a population study (although it remains debatable that a population study is necessary or useful), the process has been delayed, but the effort is moving forward.

Pash was more glum. “It would be a nice surprise,” he said.  Asked whether that means he’s pessimistic, Pash said, “Well, I’m certainly not optimistic.”

The NFLPA may be optimistic that agreeing to procedures for HGH testing in time for the 2012 season could achieve concessions from the league regarding the Commissioner’s power.  Because HGH testing falls within the league’s steroids policy, both the steroids policy and the substance-abuse policy remain unchanged in the wake of the new labor deal.  With formal HGH testing procedures will come other revisions to the steroids and substance-abuse policies, creating an obvious opportunity to shift the appeal process away from the Commissioner (that’s unlikely to happen) or to implement more specific procedures for the appeals conducted by the league office.

Technically, every other aspect of the CBA can be revisited in connection with HGH testing.  Thus, the union could seek less power and/or greater procedural protections as to other forms of Commissioner discipline, under the personal-conduct policy or (as used in the bounty case) the concept of conduct detrimental to the game.

Though the players agreed to engage in HGH testing as part of the 2011 CBA, the league has yet to show any inclination to take legal action aimed at enforcing this aspect of the deal.  And so the NFLPA can continue to ride the brakes, hopeful that an eventual agreement to submit to HGH testing will reduce to some extent the sweeping power the Commissioner has enjoyed not just for the last 11 months, but for years.

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16 Responses to “HGH testing issue could be tool for reducing some of Commissioner’s power”
  1. 2ndaryinsanity says: Jun 23, 2012 2:21 PM

    From where I sit, the Players look like they’ve got something to hide. As part of the new deal, testing was supposed to begin right away. Their attempt to get a “population study” before any actual testing begins is laughable. Any “study” done would include players who are using HGH so the results would be tainted.
    The fact that the NFL & Roger Goodell aren’t pushing to begin testing (despite what they say) and force the players to honor the contract tells me the League is worried about another black eye at a time they’re dealing with concussion lawsuits ,and the bounty scandal that just won’t go away.

  2. butthatmakestoomuchsense says: Jun 23, 2012 2:22 PM

    Just a friendly reminder that the NFLPA gave Goodell his powers and asked for nothing in return. Gene Upshaw did it because he felt it was in the game’s best interests.

    Now maybe Goodell should return the favor, and give something back in the game’s best interests without asking for anything back.

  3. commonsensedude says: Jun 23, 2012 2:24 PM

    Reducing some of the Commissioner’s power? Would that mean that he’d no longer be able to revoke a player’s US Citizenship?

  4. clashpoint says: Jun 23, 2012 3:12 PM

    A population study could be very useful for both sides, it all depends on what you choose to study. If the nflpa thinks a deal could be done for 2012 then its not like they want a long term study. Since they happen to be the population to be tested (tho certain owners often seem to be on drugs themselves), its reasonable that they might ask for pretesting information to frame, use and generally find the study’s results useful to them. Preventative measures, counseling, possible medical concerns, the nflpa probably has a multitude of valid reasons wanting such a study. Perhaps the nfl could find a correlation between users for some type of predictive logorithm, I dunno. Both sides should have an interest in as few positive test results as possible. So, nfl, why not? Or, as much as the players might fear the testing results, do the owners have something to fear from the study results?

  5. al40110 says: Jun 23, 2012 3:20 PM

    What are the players hiding? It seems the players are afraid of any kind of drug testing.

  6. granitebrant says: Jun 23, 2012 3:29 PM

    I love how everyone wants to take away Goodell’s power now. Why? Because he’s suspending players for trying to injure?

    We’ve seen way more evidence come out on the bounty case incriminating the players than we did with Spygate, yet there are still several people decrying their innocence. Fujita himself admitted it by saying that he “technically” broke a rule but that it was only pay for performance.

    So I guess the Patriots only “technically” broke a rule because it isn’t illegal to tape other teams’ signals, the Patriots were just caught doing it from the sideline instead of a room with three walls and a roof like the rule book stated. I guess that’s why so many coaches came forward and said they did the exact same thing like Jimmy Johnson, Bill Parcels, and Bill Cowher.

    How many coaches have come forward and admitted they’ve had bounty programs in the past?

    The point being that no one has an issue with Goodell’s power when he punishes a team they don’t like but suddenly when he comes down on players as well as the team with far more evidence than Spygate, suddenly he has too much power. You Saints apologists are ridiculously laughable.

  7. gbmickey says: Jun 23, 2012 4:09 PM

    Smith just needs to stop playing games with ridiculous stall tactics. Its a world renowned testing procedure used on athletes of all different sizes yet he claims the players are unique? it appears he does these things to look like he is earing a salary but looks more inept as time goes on. Now throw in Goodell could lose power? Ridiculous.

  8. dryzzt23 says: Jun 23, 2012 4:30 PM

    The same union people who want to limit the NFL Commissioners power for the sole purpose of allowing their clientele to get away with whatever they want, are the SAME people who are all about giving Barack Obama ALL of the power he could ever want so that they can change every law in the U.S. to favor unions and maximize union members pay while destroying the private sector

    Hypocrites

  9. butthatmakestoomuchsense says: Jun 23, 2012 6:09 PM

    granitebrant says: The point being that no one has an issue with Goodell’s power when he punishes a team they don’t like but suddenly when he comes down on players as well as the team with far more evidence than Spygate, suddenly he has too much power. You Saints apologists are ridiculously laughable.

    What’s laughable is your assertion that anyone who thinks appealing a Goodell decision to Goodell himself must somehow be a fan of a team the commissioner has punished.

    The Raiders are the team I hate the most, but his suspension of Terrelle Pryor was Goodell’s most ridiculous, nonsensical and unnecessary suspension.

  10. shutupbrees says: Jun 23, 2012 7:18 PM

    A population Study that measured cocaine in a groups bloodstream would naturally come back higher if the testing was done at a shady nightclub at 3AM. That doesn’t mean “drinkers and dancers” are born with a higher level of coke in their system.

    The NFLPA is shiftier than Rusty Hardin.

  11. granitebrant says: Jun 23, 2012 7:21 PM

    butthatmakestoomuchsense says:
    Jun 23, 2012 6:09 PM

    What’s laughable is your assertion that anyone who thinks appealing a Goodell decision to Goodell himself must somehow be a fan of a team the commissioner has punished.

    The Raiders are the team I hate the most, but his suspension of Terrelle Pryor was Goodell’s most ridiculous, nonsensical and unnecessary suspension.

    ————————————————–

    Where did I say people who oppose a Goodell decision are fans of the team he’s punishing?

    I said fans agree with him when he punishes a team they don’t like and that Saints’ apologists are laughable with their reasoning. I didn’t assert that all Saint’s apologists are fans of the team.

    Perhaps you should work on your reading comprehension.

  12. butthatmakestoomuchsense says: Jun 23, 2012 8:33 PM

    granitebrant: Perhaps you should work on your reading comprehension.

    You make it too easy, sweetheart.

    I love how everyone wants to take away Goodell’s power now.

    Everyone? 100% of us?

    Why? Because he’s suspending players for trying to injure?

    No, because it’s an unfair system and Goodell uses his power abusively. See Terrell Pryor.

    The point being that no one has an issue with Goodell’s power when he punishes a team they don’t like

    No one? 100% of us.

    but suddenly when he comes down on players as well as the team with far more evidence than Spygate

    Not sure why you’re using Spygate as some sort of gold standard for evidence and punishment but here’s the news: it isn’t.

    Someone needs to work on their writing and application of logic skills. Not mentioning any names, granitebrant.

  13. granitebrant says: Jun 23, 2012 9:04 PM

    butthatmakestoomuchsense says:
    Jun 23, 2012 8:33 PM

    Everyone? 100% of us?

    The point being that no one has an issue with Goodell’s power when he punishes a team they don’t like

    No one? 100% of us.

    Someone needs to work on their writing and application of logic skills. Not mentioning any names, granitebrant.

    ——————————————–

    Really? Because I’m using hyperbole which is a pretty standard literary device. It’s an exaggeration for emphasis. For instance, when I use phrases like “everyone” and “no one.” How do I need to work on my writing skills when I’m utilizing a well known writing tactic? Surely your excellent reading skills could have seen that.

    Also, who said I’m using Spygate as the gold standard for evidence? I’m using it because it was the most prominent and well known scandal before Bountygate and because very few found fault in Goodell’s power in that case primarily because many NFL fans dislike the Patriots.

    In fact, my specific point is that there was a lack of evidence in Spygate. The tapes were destroyed. If memory serves, I believed part of some of them aired on NFL network although I could be wrong and then Goodell destroyed them, meaning that whatever evidence there was was barely made public. Leading to a hotbed of conspiracy theories as to why Goodell destroyed the evidence.

    In contrast, tons of evidence has come forward about the Bountygate scandal and yet there are still several Saints apologists who deny they did anything wrong and just want to pin everything on Goodell having too much power.

  14. butthatmakestoomuchsense says: Jun 23, 2012 9:49 PM

    granitebrant says: In contrast, tons of evidence has come forward about the Bountygate scandal and yet there are still several Saints apologists who deny they did anything wrong and just want to pin everything on Goodell having too much power.

    Without question, there are going to be Saints fans looking for any excuse to have their players on the field, keep their draft picks, etc.

    But removing any anecdotes and examples from the equation, does Goodell have too much power? He can literally suspend any player for any reason he wants for however long he wants with no real appeals process.

    So, no- it’s not just “Saints apologists” that think he has too much power.

  15. granitebrant says: Jun 23, 2012 11:38 PM

    Butthatmakestoomuchsense, I think the question doesn’t have an answer. It’s based completely on one’s opinion. The same can be said for the question of does be abuse that power? I don’t think he does. But certainly others would disagree.

    There is an appeals process however. So if Goodell truly does abuse his power, say suspending a player for jaywalking or something innocuous like that, it could certainly be appealed and most certainly won. My point is that I don’t believe Goodell simply wields his power to suspend for no reason.

  16. butthatmakestoomuchsense says: Jun 24, 2012 12:04 AM

    @granitebrant: I’m glad we’re having a reasoned conversation.

    Yet we disagree on Goodell. I genuinely think he likes, enjoys, and gets off on suspending players.

    There was no need to suspend Roethlisberger, since charges were dropped. Roger lied and said he had to sit for four games over “buying drinks for minors”.

    There was no need to suspend Terrelle Pryor. Look it up.

    FWIW, I don’t see “tons of evidence” or even a bit of evidence vs the Saints players.

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