Congressional HGH hearings coming next week

Getty Images

Next Wednesday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will, as expected, convene a hearing on the science necessary for HGH testing in the NFL.

“The hearing continues the Committee’s inquiry into the delay of testing for Human Growth Hormone (HGH) between the National Football League (NFL) and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) both parties agreed to in the Collective Bargaining Agreement,” the Committee said in a news release.  “The hearing will focus on the readiness of science to support an HGH testing regime.  Members will examine both the science behind HGH testing and the health concerns HGH use poses for professional and young amateur athletes.”

Although the initial report indicated that Dr. Travis Tygart, the head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, will testify, he’s not currently on the list of scheduled witnesses.  At that may have something to do with past rhetoric between Tygart and the NFLPA.  Tygart has called the union’s position on HGH testing “an absolute joke,” and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has said that Tygart “has had nothing but a negative influence on this process.”

Instead, USADA chief science officer Larry Bowers will testify, along with Dick Butkus, Dr. Lawrence Tybak of the National Institutes of Health, and others.

The hearing will stream live, starting next Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. ET.

Both the NFL and the NFLPA agreed in August 2011 to commence HGH testing in the 2011 football season.  It hasn’t happened yet, because the league and the union have yet to agree on the procedures for doing so.  The NFL has accused the union of dragging its feet, but the league has done nothing to force the process via any of the available legal means, given that the NFLPA clearly has agreed to proceed with HGH testing.

The problem for all parties concerned is that, once Congress starts sniffing around, all sorts of questions could be raised beyond the science necessary for HGH testing.  How many players currently use it?  How do they get it?  Do teams help them get it?

Thus, the best course of action for both the NFL and the NFLPA would be to finalize an agreement before Congress creates all sorts of unintended consequences for the game.

7 responses to “Congressional HGH hearings coming next week

  1. It really irritates me that congress keeps poking its nose into sports and ‘sniffing’ around looking for problems.

    It would be better for the USA if people ‘sniffed’ around congress and monitored what REALLY goes on in an institution that has a lot more bearing on peoples lives than a sportsman/woman

  2. “The NFL has accused the union of dragging its feet, but the league has done nothing to force the process via any of the available legal means, given that the NFLPA clearly has agreed to proceed with HGH testing.”

    How about the NFLPA live up to its end of the bargain? The head of the anti-doping agency calls the union’s position on testing a “joke.” It is taking the judicial branch, and now the legislative branch, of our federal government to force the NFLPA to fulfill some of its obligations. Obligations to which the union voluntarily agreed.

    The owners and Goodell are quite accomplished business people. They have demonstrated the ability to successfully operate a multi-billion dollar enterprise. They know how disastrous government oversight can be. Staying out of the court system is fundamental to avoiding such oversight. Thus, the league wanted to prevent the attention that formal litigation would have brought.

    The NFLPA? It represents world class athletes who have no experience running such a large scale business as the NFL. The union apparently doesn’t understand the value of cooperation to avoid government oversight. It would rather fight the league just for the sake of fighting. You know, cutting off its nose to spite its face.

    Simply ridiculous.

  3. If something like HGH tresting is high on Congress’s agenda then the country must be in great shape.

  4. HGH metabolizes within hours of injection, so catching the user requires either luck or a tip off. The program is just going to cost a bunch of money and accomplish nothing–and guess who pays for that useless program in the long run…us.

    Add to that the studies that indicate that HGH actually does not result in increased strength or performance in otherwise healthy people.

  5. @raysfan1: that is not entirely accurate. There are 2 ways to test for HGH (both indirectly). The first (older) method can detect an HGH injection up to a day or two after, the newer method can detect an HGH injection up to 2 or 3 weeks after an injection, making it a very viable method of HGH testing.

    The stonewalling from the league / union was in regards to the old method, now that the new method has been in place they should have no objection to rolling it out to the NFL.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!