Congress pushes NFL, NFLPA again on HGH

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With the Olympics starting, Friday provided a perfect opportunity for Congress to renew pressure on the NFL and NFLPA regarding the ongoing absence of HGH testing, a standard component of Olympic drug testing.

Four members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce (two from each party) sent a letter Friday to Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith urging them to implement last year’s agreement to conduct HGH testing.

“Without HGH testing, the performance enhancing drug provisions in your collective bargaining agreement will not be able to effectively deter the use of this drug,” the letter from Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Henry Waxman (D-Cal.), Mary Bono Mack (R-Cal.), and G.K. Butterfield  (D-N.C.) states.  “And this failure sends a terrible message to young athletes and fans that player safety and a level playing field are not priorities.”

The letter explains that Congress “has been reluctant to engage more deeply in this matter, believing this is a problem best solved by allowing labor and management to follow through on their agreement.”  But with no specific threat/promise to intervene, the NFL and NFLPA can continue to drag their feet.

And while it’s widely perceived that the NFLPA has delayed the process by insisting on a population study to account for the physiological differences between football players and Olympic athletes generally, the league hasn’t done much if anything to force the NFLPA to honor it’s written commitment to submit to testing.  Frankly, it’s almost as if the league is content not to push forward with testing, as long as it’s the union and not the league that gets the bulk of the blame.

If, after all, the HGH problem is worse than believed, many players will be subject to suspension.  Perhaps more importantly, if players who are using HGH to recover from injuries suddenly must stop, then they won’t recover from injuries as quickly and the teams will have a harder time putting a product on the field.

Regardless of the reasons, something doesn’t seem right.  If the NFLPA is dragging its feet, the NFL has remedies at its disposal to push the issue forward, whether under the CBA or before the National Labor Relations Board of even in court.  But the NFL to date hasn’t used them.

For now, the league has responded to the letter with a promise to respond later.  “We appreciate and share the concern of the committee,” the league said in a statement, “and will respond to the letter as soon as possible.”

That’s not really much of a response.

Thus, if Congress wants to see HGH testing in the NFL, it’s time to stop huffing and puffing and time to start holding hearings and putting people under oath and finding out how deep this rabbit hole goes and why the NFL and NFLPA apparently aren’t interested in plugging it up.

12 responses to “Congress pushes NFL, NFLPA again on HGH

  1. “While I agree there should be hgh testing, doesn’t congress have more important matters to look into?”

    But what could be more important than getting their names in the news?

  2. The headline should read “Congresses pushes NFLPA on HGH testing”. It’s not the NFL that is the problem, it is the very secretive NFLPA, who wants the NFL to show their books and disclose this and that and the other thing, the NFLPA steadfastly refuses to budge at all on drug testing.

    You can blame the current generation of NFL/NCAA players for ruining the game of football.

  3. Frankly, it’s almost as if the league is content not to push forward with testing, as long as it’s the union and not the league that gets the bulk of the blame.
    The NFLPA has been dragging this out. I think the league wants Congress to get involved. That’s the surest way to get DeMaurice Smith stuttering and stammering at a podium. Then we’ll see results.

  4. HGH does not work as a PED and it metabolizes so fast that actually catching a user is dumb luck anyway.

    Congress should stop grandstanding and stop wanting the NFL to waste money and time on this.

  5. Isn’t there a lack of good-faith bargaining when one side agrees to discuss something at a later date with the intention of implementing it, but then refuses to discuss it at said later date?

    I know with only being 1 year removed from the lockout, both sides are hesitant to ruffle feathers on the labor front, but its clear that this passive-aggressive BS from both sides is going to come to a head before this CBA is up

  6. I wish congress would focus on our real problems like debt, deficits and jobs!……

  7. Why is this important? Who really cares….really? If a grown person, despite the warnings, decides to do something that really only impacts them, I say let them have at it. They’ve been warned. Besides, do you think the product on the field will be as good with out these products? I dare say no. It is a persinal cjoice. And if parents placed less emphasis on stardom and the money, there would be fewer kids trying to emulate these athletes. Stop trying to make the athletes the scapegoats for all that is wrong with youth today.

  8. The NFLPA does not genuinely care about player heath and safety. If they did they would be pushing for this and all other drug testing. The only thing union management cares about is extracting maximum money and power from the owners. Any unions ultimate goal is get the most $$$ for the least productivity. The word ‘productivity’ is a dirty word to unions. As far as “Health & Safety” of the workers (or in this case the players)….. those are terms that are only used as useful leverage against owners to achieve reduced productivity. In reality…. the union doesn’t give a crap about health & safety. It’s all just about $$$, power & control.

  9. The NFLPA & The NFL Dont have to break they neak to do what congress want them to do. Football is NOT an OLYMPIC GAME an congress has no control over when or if they start testing…. Listen to them for WHAT? So they can mess up football like they did this country

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