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Congress warns players may be called to testify about HGH

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As the NFL and the NFLPA continue to stare at each other like the boys and girls pressed against opposite walls of a middle-school dance on the issue of HGH testing, Congress is getting closer to pushing the walls together, Star Wars Episode IV-style.  (I thought twice about making that reference because of the nerdish connotation.  But I’ve learned to embrace my nerdishness.)

For now, the wall that’s moving is the one behind the players.

“We are disappointed with the NFLPA’s remarkable recalcitrance, which has prevented meaningful progress on this issue,” Representatives Darrell Issa (R-Cal.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said in a letter to the NFL Players Association.  “We intend to take a more active role to determine whether the position you have taken — that HGH is not a serious concern and that the test for HGH is unreliable — is consistent with the beliefs of rank and file NFL players.”

The NFL and NFLPA agreed in August 2011 to commence HGH testing.

“Despite being the first of the major professional sports leagues to agree to test for HGH, the NFL has now fallen far behind its counterparts in implementing the agreement,” the letter continues. “While NFLPA management may not believe that HGH is a problem in the NFL, the words of your athletes suggest otherwise.  We hope the facts collected by the Committee will provide you and the NFL with the information necessary to resolve this matter.”

The letter also asks the NFLPA to produce a variety of documents and other information, including the NFLPA’s most recent proposal for HGH testing and information regarding any proposals exchanged between the NFL and the NFLPA during meetings that were planned for the week of January 21.  (It’s unclear whether any meetings actually happened.)

Congressional involvement in the form of a hearing at which players would testify is something about which both the NFL and the NFLPA should be deeply concerned.  If players are using HGH and they tell the truth to Congress, it makes the league and the union look very bad.  If players are using it and they lie, the players expose themselves to potential criminal prosecutions.

There’s no reason for the impasse to continue.  The NFLPA has said that it will accept HGH testing under the standards and procedures implemented by major-league baseball.  The NFL has indicated that would be sufficient.  So why not get together — this week in New Orleans — to hash out the details?

If not, players could be getting together in Washington to do something far less pleasant for everyone.

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29 Responses to “Congress warns players may be called to testify about HGH”
  1. nfloracle says: Jan 28, 2013 3:33 PM

    I wish the politicians would spend time solving the terrible problems in this country (such as putting an end to wars costing billions that aren’t gaining us squat) and less time worrying about drug use to enhance performance in athletes. Is it any wonder Congress is rated lower than head lice in all popular polls?

  2. galvestontexans says: Jan 28, 2013 3:33 PM

    I wish the congress would stay out of sports before they mess them up like our economy.

  3. drgreenstreak says: Jan 28, 2013 3:35 PM

    Test them all!

    Ban for life on cheaters.

  4. sprtsfan1 says: Jan 28, 2013 3:36 PM

    Tax payers dollars hard at work

  5. jjb0811 says: Jan 28, 2013 3:38 PM

    The Gov is SO efficient at business they need to interfere with a successful business model?

    Please, if the gov really wants to help make the NFL a not for profit organization and pay their fair share of taxes.

  6. sourdoughsam says: Jan 28, 2013 3:38 PM

    This is not the role of the Federal government. Who votes for these people?

  7. sonvar says: Jan 28, 2013 3:38 PM

    This aggravates me as Congress should have much more pressing issues to deal with than how the NFL deals with HGH. There is no good reason for any politician to look into this.

  8. thereisalwaysnextyear says: Jan 28, 2013 3:38 PM

    The NFL is dragging their feet because they know/knew half the league would test positive. There is no excuse otherwise.

  9. vikesfan320 says: Jan 28, 2013 3:40 PM

    Congress getting involved basically ensures that nothing will get done about this.

  10. blars82 says: Jan 28, 2013 3:42 PM

    Keep hearing how prominent HGH usage is in the NFL. The players are bigger and faster than ever, and that has made the game more dangerous and violent than ever. If you get HGH out of the league then you should improve player safety.

    But I’m an accountant and basing this on nothing, just sounds like it might help.

  11. fuglyflorio says: Jan 28, 2013 3:43 PM

    Do we have the worst elected politicians or what? USA USA … we’re #1.

  12. cosanostra71 says: Jan 28, 2013 3:44 PM

    Ah yes, Congress tackling the hard hitting issues, just like we elect them to do.

  13. furious76 says: Jan 28, 2013 3:47 PM

    The last people in the world I trust to properly regulate anything is the current US government. If they are allowed to regulate the NFL in any fashion it will be clearly defined in a 700 page bill that includes funding for large cat training in Antarctica.

    America needs to do what Iceland did, and take back the country peacefully. Time for change folks, the guy that was voted in forgot that was his mantra.

  14. theauger says: Jan 28, 2013 4:01 PM

    Nothing will get done unless Congress holds both the NFL’s & NFLPA’s feet to the fire.

    For the people that complain that this is “not the role of the Federal government”, these committees exist regardless of the topics at hand. This falls squarely in their wheelhouse.

    There 435 sitting members of The House of Representatives, with twenty-three committees, and many more sub-committees under them. While their maybe ‘more important’ issues that need addressed by Congress, there are committees that exist just to deal with issues such as this.

  15. brownspower says: Jan 28, 2013 4:09 PM

    This must mean that everything is under control in DC…NOT!! What do these people think they were elected for? :-(

  16. whodeyxlii says: Jan 28, 2013 4:12 PM

    Contrary to the belief of people commenting on this site, congress does have a reason to step into something like sports. Sports are a BILLION dollar a year industry. Why are they exempt from scrutiny by the government? Hgh is illegal for use by athletes or other non prescribed people. Congress has to make sure that if the sports leagues are not making sure that they are not following American rules then they need to know they aren’t and answer why they aren’t. If wall street is holding clean people back because the dirty ones are making the most money while clean people are making 20%, congress should do something about it. If in NFL a dirty player is making $50 million and the clean guy can’t even make a million, then congress should do something about it.

  17. worldwidebleater says: Jan 28, 2013 4:15 PM

    And the Senate hasn’t presented a budget in three years. Nice.

  18. tdshouldbeinthehall says: Jan 28, 2013 4:22 PM

    If they had testing then how would AP have come back and had the best season of his career. Anyone that thinks he did that legit still thinks Sosa was clean.

  19. warhammer420 says: Jan 28, 2013 4:31 PM

    Meanwhile in America there are people losing their homes and children going hungry. And congress is worried about football. They should be ashamed of themselves.

  20. eaglesfan94 says: Jan 28, 2013 4:33 PM

    I liked the Star Wars reference, Florio.

  21. nflfollower says: Jan 28, 2013 4:58 PM

    Because we all know, there is no more important issue facing our country, than the question of whether a handful of professional athletes are taking HGH.

    Generations before us had the Great Depression, World Wars….but this,….this will be our defining moment.

    What a joke. Congress needs to demonstrate that they have some faint hazy perception of priorities. Or maybe just an understanding of the actual word “priorities” could be a start.

  22. bradford08 says: Jan 28, 2013 5:04 PM

    It’s become abundantly clear that President and congressional leaders are afraid of the “Big Bad Debt.” They continually want to keep the publics attention on those emotional issues of the day like gun control, gay rights, immigration reform while the debt continues to grow at an accelerated rate.

    For well over ten years the debt has been an issue of concern for this nation yet a last minute approach has been taken to deal with this issue. Basically, using symbolic terms, the debt is sitting on the back burner. Meanwhile those coveted emotional issues have the vice-president chairing commissions, the president making them the corner stone of his big speeches, second term and are standing front and center.

    Ah yes! Emotion,……..what a concept!

    Again, let it be known and shouted from the highest mountaintop, “The President and Congressional Leaders are Afraid of the Big Bad Debt.”

    49ers 37 Ravens 34

  23. sourdoughsam says: Jan 28, 2013 5:11 PM

    “Contrary to the belief of people commenting on this site, congress does have a reason to step into something like sports. Sports are a BILLION dollar a year industry. Why are they exempt from scrutiny by the government? ”

    Large amounts of profits aren’t reason enough for government involvement. I would argue that if no one is being stolen from, and contractual agreements are being upheld, there’s no reason for government intervention. If a player files a suit on the grounds that the NFL knowingly allowed some players to use HGH and felt that this violated either his contract or the contract between the league and the players’ union, then there’s cause for a hearing.

    But in this case, it’s the government intervening on their own behalf, and if this thing keeps going (as I’m sure it will), I will not be surprised to find out that some members of congress have invested in a drug-testing company that is coincidentally chosen to oversee HGH testing in the NFL. And if you think the NFL caters to certain teams or players now, just wait til the government squeezes itself into the picture.

  24. xtb3 says: Jan 28, 2013 5:15 PM

    Washington, DC jighest per capota income in nation. A city of no industry except lobbiest thieves who own both parties. You think these polits are worrying about teir own kids protection un schools? They already have armed guards for their own kids. What scares them is militias who might just say enuff is enuff of these fascists.

  25. dretwann says: Jan 28, 2013 5:17 PM

    I don’t want the HGH usage to stop in the pros. The product on the field is likely to be far less entertaining. Some of these injuries should take far longer than they do. I am sure something illicit is happening during rehab and I’m not so sure that bothers me.

    If you want to remove HGH, guarantee an athlete’s entire contract should they be injured. Then there would be less need to “push it” on the part of the players. But again, I’ve seen what its like to lose a star and them not be back the rest of the season. It sucks. Guess they didn’t have access to HGH.

  26. hedleykow says: Jan 28, 2013 5:37 PM

    Why do I think of McCain every time I see one of these stories? It’s almost like he raises these issues as an excuse to be in the same room with a pro athlete. What a groupie and a weenie.

  27. In the Weeds says: Jan 28, 2013 5:48 PM

    Compared to old photographs of NFL players from the past–who worked other jobs like selling insurance during the off season to make ends meet, etc., it seems that chemists have been working a lot of overtime over the years.

    The NFL was Fun back then, when players were muddy.

    I’m not saying “go back to that,” but if the powers that be were truly interested in Player Safety, this issue would have been solved a long time ago.

    I’m not buying anything either side says.

  28. noring4youstill says: Jan 28, 2013 7:10 PM

    I bet theyre shaking in their cleats. A bunch of damn crooked 16 year old molesting politicians want to inquire about drug use? Get a damn budget.

  29. backindasaddle says: Jan 28, 2013 9:08 PM

    If Congress gets involved it’ll cost a hell of a lot of money….and then be all screwed up.

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