After months of quiet regarding the topic of HGH testing, Monday has featured a flurry of reports. Here’s where the negotiations currently stand, from a source with direct knowledge of the process.
For now, the NFL and the NFLPA have agreed on only one thing: To conduct a population study regarding the HGH that naturally exists in the bodies of NFL players. Nothing more.
Players were told via email roughly 10 days ago about the training-camp blood draw. Amazingly, the information remained under wraps until today.
Thus, there’s no agreement yet to conduct full-blown HGH testing. Negotiations are ongoing, and progress is being made. Issues include the use of third-party arbitration for discipline, enhanced confidentiality regarding test results, and assurances that the samples will be destroyed after testing has concluded.
The final agreement also could include retroactive testing. Specifically, the blood collected for the population study could be split into two samples. One would be used for the population study, and the other would be tested at a later date. This potential twist, which the NFL affirmatively is seeking, would mean that players whose HGH levels drive up the thresholds for the population study could still face discipline at a later date for HGH levels that helped skew the baseline numbers.
For now, it’s too early to draw any conclusions about what will transpire. Some have suggested players won’t be disciplined this year. If the final agreement doesn’t include retroactive testing, that’s likely right, given the time necessary to conduct the population study, to implement testing, and to navigate the appeals process.
For now, with nothing finalized beyond conducting a population study, it’s premature to draw any conclusions other than, yes, after months of delays, a population study will happen.