Impasse still lingers over HGH testing

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The NFL and the NFLPA have reached an agreement on all aspects of HGH testing.  Implementation continues to be delayed by a disagreement on a term unrelated to HGH testing.

And that disagreement still hasn’t been resolved.

According to Alex Marvez of FOX Sports, Commissioner Roger Goodell continues to refuse to yield his authority over appeals of discipline imposed for violations of the law relating to HGH and other performance-enhancing drugs.  The NFL already has agreed that discipline arising from positive HGH and other PED tests will be handled on appeal by a third-party arbitrator.

“We’ve compromised as much as we can compromise, I think, within reason to still have a program that has credibility,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday.  “We think it’s time.”

The NFLPA doesn’t.  The union continues to hold out for arbitration over all discipline imposed under the PED policy.

“What does neutral arbitration add but more credibility?” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said in a statement issued to FOX Sports response to Goodell.  “The majority of the policy that they already agreed to allows the Commissioner to impose discipline but an appeal is subject to neutral arbitration if the player so chooses.  The players don’t want an exception to the rule.”

That stance has caused the league to suspect that the players simply don’t want HGH testing.

When it comes to violations of the law, a third-party (i.e., a judge or a jury) already has determined that the player did what he is accused of doing.  Unless the NFL wants to have exclusive jurisdiction over violations of the policy not arising from a conviction, guilty plea, etc., the protections afforded by third-party arbitration after the league imposes discipline already exist, thanks to the justice system.

While the NFL has never had HGH testing, the Commissioner has had the exclusive authority to impose discipline for violations of the law relating to HGH and PEDs for as long as HGH and PEDs have been prohibited by the league.  Violations of the law relating to HGH and PEDs simply don’t happen very often.

The fact that these situations occur rarely should prompt the league and the union to find a middle ground.  Failure by either side to recognize that reality could be attributed to the stubbornness often demonstrated by one or both sides in collective bargaining.  But it also could be attributed to one — or both — sides wanting to delay the implementation of HGH testing for as long as possible.