Advance notice for drug testing calls NFL procedures into question

NFL players are sometimes told on Sunday that they’ll be asked to provide a urine sample on Monday. And some drug-testing experts believe that giving advance notice calls into question whether the NFL is making it too easy for cheaters to beat the system.

If you’re going to do advanced warning, you might as well not test,” David Howman, director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency, told the Wall Street Journal. “Half an hour is a lot of warning. That’s how quickly you can manipulate the tests.”

If a player knows in advance when he’s going to be tested, there are ways for him to cheat the system. For instance, a player could take EPO on Saturday night, knowing that he won’t be tested on Sunday, when it will help him get through the game. By Monday, it could have cleared his system. Advance notice could also help a player get away with cheating by giving them time to dilute his urine, take a masking agent or grab a Whizzinator. That’s why doping experts criticized the NFL in August after Chad Ochocinco revealed that he had been given advance warning about a drug test.

According to the Wall Street Journal account, teams giving players a day’s notice has happened as recently as this year’s playoffs, when the Packers’ head trainer went through the team’s locker room after the win over the Eagles to alert players that they’d need to submit a sample the next day. This despite the fact that the league’s policies say players are to be notified “on the day of the test.”

“It’s obviously concerning,” said Travis Tygart, head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. “The world knows you can’t give advanced notice for testing for it to be effective.”

But the NFL apparently doesn’t know.

36 responses to “Advance notice for drug testing calls NFL procedures into question

  1. More proof that Goodell doesn’t actually care about the safety of players as much as the product on the field. This guy is worse than obama.

  2. thats goodell for you, what an idiot must get paid under the table by the owners! that jerk should be fired! oh ya the owners hire him!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. I’ve always liked Daniel Tosh’s take on pro sports and performance enhancing substances 🙂

  4. There’s really only one way to put all this to rest and get rid of drugs in pro football for good: test their hair samples as well as urine. The hair test is harder to fool and detects drug use for a longer time period back. The NFL has the money to do this, but it will never be done. Pro football wouldn’t be as exciting to watch if the players weren’t as athletic as they are. So for now it’s just a little wink, wink and nudge, nudge. Most of the public are none the wiser.

  5. I love how in MLB there’s nonstop controversy over players using steroids/HGH. We’re talking about 250 lb men running 4.5 40’s, benching 600+ pounds, and squatting 900+ lbs.

    If I had to guess the percentage of NFL players using some sort of banned/illegal substance (anything from cocaine, crack, weed, HGH, steroids, etc), I would have to wager it’s AT LEAST 80%. Obviously these guys train like animals, I don’t think anyone can take that away from them. But c’mon… the writing’s on the wall, folks.

    But, uh, guess what? No one cares! I certainly don’t! lol This is a story (which will probably unfold over the next couple of years) that is repeatedly swept under the rug. This league doesn’t even test for HGH… that alone speaks volumes.

    If you disagree, you’re nuts.

  6. When asked about the practice of NFL trainers giving players advanced notice of testing coming up, Roger Gooddell said “We don’t think there’s anything to that story, and besides, we are very very busy toning down the trash talk!”

  7. They run this program as eyewash and don’t really want to catch anybody. The ones that do get caught are big-time “users” or amongst the dumbest of players. The NFL wants to be able to say “Yes, Senator, we do have a drug testing program.” The NFL does not want to look like MLB did when the steroid stuff had people calling for aterisks and bans. If they want a viable program that works they need to instill mandatory (read: everybody provides a sample) tests immediately before or after the game. The random program needs to actually be random and unannounced to be effective. Call a player into the office and have him escorted until a sample is obtained. ZERO notification. The military has had an effective program for years because it is truly random and unannounced. If the NFL does anything differently, they are either stupid or corrupt.

  8. Wonder if this is a NFLPA issue and not an NFL issue per say. I am sure the contract stipulates all the in’s and outs of testing, including any advance notice requirements.

  9. If the NFL tester makes you lift your shirt to you chin and drop your pants/boxers to the floor, how does one use a whizzinator, no matter how much notice they have?

  10. It’s impossible (atleast to my knowledge) to test for HGH. Pro athletes livelyhoods are based on their performance. I think it’s pretty dumb to think most pro athletes are doing something, especially since it seems they have to now to keep up with other athletes. I mean Cushing trained himself so hard that his body somehow manufactured HCG! Just so he could keep up! (not serious)

  11. Are you really surprised, or are you just acting that way MDS?

    Did you really think these guys were not junked up and had a way to steer through the tests?

    Common sense takes over at some point for most of us, except for the boy who refuses to accept that there is no Santa Claus.

  12. The process has actually improved. As late as 4-5 years ago, the players would get 1 week notice of testing, the exception being those players ALREADY in the program who were subject to different testing procedures.

  13. All the rules are made for one reason and one reason only. Money. To maximize profit. Pontificating about player safety is a joke. Just like trying to say an 18 or 20 game season is better than what we have now.

  14. “If you’re going to do advanced warning, you might as well not test”

    Right on, the whole thing is a sham aimed at perception.

    Not reality.

  15. Maybe that’s why Clay Matthews still hasn’t been busted! Just one look at his face and neck and you can tell that he’s on the juice!

  16. LOL @ “the safety of players”… as if that’s the concern here, from Gooddell, the union, media, OR fans. That notion is about as ridiculous as the fact that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency exitsts.

    Isn’t there a better way to spend tax dollars? Like national debt?

  17. “ninety-seven……ninety-eight…..ninety-nine…….ONE HUNDRED!

    Coming to find you, ready or not!”.

  18. Much like the NFL knew that illegal video taping was common among many, many teams but chose to punish NE only then bury the story. Much like the NFL knows that the NY Jets aren’t the only team that sets up those sideline chorus lines, but chose to pin it on the Jets and bury the story.
    The NFL also knows that probably a staggeringly high percent of players are using some form of illegal or banned substance. If there were hard proof of this, aka positive drug tests, the NFL would lose face.
    So you warn the players about an impending test, then only the really, really slow ones get caught and everything is status quo.

  19. Clay Matthews III may be using something, but guess what? So does everybody else in the league.

    Anybody ever seen Takeo Spikes neck? How about Urlacher’s?

    Everbody’s using folks!

  20. Yeah because Clay Matthews’ dad and uncle didn’t look like Mr. Olympia contestants…. 🙄

  21. “Maybe that’s why Clay Matthews still hasn’t been busted! Just one look at his face and neck and you can tell that he’s on the juice!”

    This. He grew the long hair so that people could tell the difference between him and Brian Cushing.

    …or so that maybe they’d mistake A.J. Hawk for Matthews, and pin it on him.

  22. I say test every one, from the owners down to the broom pushers, not going to happen, it speaks for itself that the league is a joke. Bill

  23. Drug testing is BS violation of our Civil Rights!
    Who cares if a man smokes pot in the privacy of his own home? Especially, when cocaine, LSD, meth, and all other dangerous drugs are passed from the system in your urine within a few hours anyway.
    This all goes back to Reagan-era brainwashing.

    Test for performance enhancers, but leave the others alone.

  24. txraiderfan says:
    Jan 20, 2011 6:20 PM
    Drug testing is BS violation of our Civil Rights!
    Who cares if a man smokes pot in the privacy of his own home? Especially, when cocaine, LSD, meth, and all other dangerous drugs are passed from the system in your urine within a few hours anyway.
    This all goes back to Reagan-era brainwashing.

    Test for performance enhancers, but leave the others alone.
    —————————————–
    What an ignorant post. To assume one’s civil rights extend into illegal activity is ridiculous… and the markers for most illicit drugs remain for longer than a few hours; some are there for weeks. Why wouldn’t your point: “Who cares if a man smokes pot in the privacy of his own home?” apply to the performance enhancers? The only people who use the “hard” or “dangerous” drug argument are pot smokers that try to prop up their views.

  25. FinFan68
    “What an ignorant post. To assume one’s civil rights extend into illegal activity is ridiculous… and the markers for most illicit drugs remain for longer than a few hours; some are there for weeks. Why wouldn’t your point: “Who cares if a man smokes pot in the privacy of his own home?” apply to the performance enhancers? The only people who use the “hard” or “dangerous” drug argument are pot smokers that try to prop up their views.”

    First, you are a douche!
    Second, it’s not about the right to do something illegal. It’s about the Constitutional guarantee against illegal searches. Third, are the markers for amphetamines and/or LSD (for example) there for more than a few hours?
    Fourth, the “who cares if someone smokes in the privacy of their home” does apply here because the NFL tests for something as harmless as pot.
    Finally, I don’t smoke pot, but I do believe it should be legal. Sorry if I’m “propping up my views.”

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