League claims HGH impasse has resulted in more player suspensions


As the NFL and the NFLPA continue to agree to disagree on the rules for HGH testing, other aspects of what would be new and improved drug policies remain on hold.  And the league isn’t bashful about pointing out what the players are missing.

Lost and overlooked amid the many useful nuggets from Commissioner Roger Goodell’s recent press conference (but pointed out to PFT by a league insider last night) was this comment: “We have had since 2011, 104 drug-related cases. All have been heard by my designee. Had we implemented the HGH program and the other elements of our drug program from the 2011 agreement, 104 of those players would have actually gone to third-party arbitration. 21 of those would have been referred into the drug program rather than being suspended. Two other players would have faced a two-game suspension rather than a four-game suspension.”

Goodell’s remarks refer to relaxations and other changes to the drug policies that have been delayed by the lingering impasse over HGH testing. The obvious goal is to get the attention of players who may realize that their own future fate could hinge on whether the HGH logjam breaks.

As NFLPA president Eric Winston explained on Thursday’s edition of PFT Live, 95 percent of the HGH testing program has been finalized. The biggest remaining disagreement continues to be whether Goodell or a third-party arbitrator will handle appeals of discipline imposed when players violate the PED policy via something other than a positive drug test.

The parties already have agreed that positive tests under the PED policy will be subject to arbitration. As a league source recently explained it to PFT, that’s a small amount of the total appeals.  The source added that, within the past year, at least 35 appeals would have been heard by an arbitrator in the past year, if the new policy were in place.

The league’s message to the players is clear — sign off on HGH testing with Goodell still handling appeals for violations of the policy unrelated to a positive test and get more favorable treatment under the rest of the drug policies. The players’ response is equally clear — if you want HGH testing, agree to arbitration for everything or we’re not budging.

It seems like there’s no middle ground.  Both sides would be smart to try to find one.

21 responses to “League claims HGH impasse has resulted in more player suspensions

  1. Goodell’s remarks reefer to relaxations and other changes to the drug policies…

  2. Meanwhile Josh Gordon is sitting at home screaming, “Just make the damn deal!!!!!”.

  3. It’s just so wrong when blatant users like Adrian Peterson get such an advantage when true athletes like Clay Matthews have to work that much harder to get there naturally.

  4. About 2 or 3 years ago I heard Maurice Jones-Drew discuss HGH on radio. He was opposed to the testing which surprised me and went so far as to say that there will be no HGH testing. It didn’t get any media notice but it seemed like he knew a lot more than he was willing to elaborate. Years later it seems like MJD is correct.
    Goodell’s comments sound like the NFL is trying to negotiate softer penalties re marijuana to make progress for progress on HGH.
    I am left wondering how big a problem is HGH and why do the players not want it tested?

  5. Isn’t that already a middle ground?

    NFL gets HGH testing.

    Players get third party arbitration.

    Not to mention HGH testing helps the players who don’t use it. Of course, if over half the league uses it, then that doesn’t help the majority.

  6. The NFL Drug Testing Policy is a joke.

    The NFL doesn’t want transparency.

    The NFL wants the appearance of transparency.

  7. Honestly it seems like the players are the ones hurting themselves unless the union suspects that HGH use is very wide spread.

    It sounds like several players have already been hurt by the union’s stubbornness.

    The HGH numbers must be truly amazing.

  8. Bottom line is that if Goodell would stop trying to impose his will at every step of the process, HGH testing would already be in the agreement. There needs to be an unbiased party allowed to settle appeals, NOT the very same person that imposed the punishment to begin with…..

    That’s like having the officer that gave you the ticket be the judge when you want to fight it.

  9. Goodell is a…, well, you know. I don’t trust him, and the players dont like or trust him. He, like maky people of his ilk, love that control and power. He doesn’t want to relinquish that. The whole thing is that he isn’t pliable, and if the Mathis situation is any example, the players don’t have any leeway even if you have a good reason.

    The NFL doesn’t want tansparency, they want control.

  10. Goodell gave facts. They cant be disputed.

    The NFLPA is run by a bunch of imbeciles.

    They should have elected Troy Vincent instead of Smith.

  11. Guess there is no ‘Blow’ impasse though…Come on Goodell. Go bite the hand that feeds. Show some grumba’s like the guy in the NBA and sit Irsay down for a while. Just looking to see these suspensions go both ways. Or does that basic fairness only apply once the players ‘get on board’ with the HGH testing?

  12. Well, the NFLPA has stalled long enough so that any any drugs to stimulate the production HGH are now out of players’ systems. Time to implement the rules.

  13. After the way Roger Goodell handled the whole bountygate fiasco as judge, jury, and executioner on all hearings and appeals plus the numerous fans on here that criticized the players and said they shouldn’t have signed off on the appeals and arbitration process if they didn’t like it….I don’t necessarily want to hear any fan complaining about the players taking a stand in this case. It is the duty of the NFLPA to ensure the process is as fair to the players as possible. They failed in doing so before and the bountygate fiasco exploded on the scene. They shouldn’t repeat the same mistake.

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