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SBD/Issue 111/Leagues & Governing Bodies
Sports Leaders, Congress Spar Over Government Role In Sports
Published February 28, 2008
|Goodell (r) Only Commissioner To Support
Federal Legislation Requiring Testing Guidelines
GOLDEN STANDARD? Goodell said during the hearing, "We've been testing for over two decades and we think we're the gold standard of testing in professional sports. We have such a high standard that (legislation) wouldn't have an impact on us" (ESPNews, 2/27). However, USOC CEO Jim Scherr and USADA CEO Travis Tygart, who were part of a second panel before the committee, "disagreed with Goodell's assessment." Scherr, when asked by U.S. Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) how pro sports drug testing differs from Olympic procedures, said, "Their penalties are more lenient." Scherr noted that in pro sports, the "degree of independence and transparency is inferior and there are fewer no-advance-notice tests" (USA TODAY, 2/28). Tygart: "While the professional leagues' anti-doping policies have significantly improved over the past several years, they still fail to fully implement all the basic elements of the most effective programs" (Baltimore SUN, 2/28). When asked if he objected to having a drug-testing policy comparable to the Olympics, Upshaw said, “We feel that our program is better than the Olympics in many ways and I think we do what we feel is best for the players in the (NFL)” (ESPNews, 2/27).
FUTURE PLANS: Committee Chair Bobby Rush (D-IL) said it was his “full intention to move a bi-partisan bill” about mandating drug-testing. U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX): “Let’s go ahead and get something into law that’s acceptable. It’s no fun having this hearing every two to three years when we have another scandal" (ESPNews, 2/27). Rush said after the hearing that it "might take months for the legislation to move through Congress -- perhaps until a new presidential administration takes over in January" (Baltimore SUN, 2/28). Tygart added the "issue of drugs in sport strikes at the very heart of the question of what role sport will play in America's future. USADA's interest in this discussion is driven by a motive to not only protect the rights of today's Olympic athletes to play drug free, but just as important to protect America's next generation of athletes" (AROUNDTHERINGS.com, 2/28).
Subcomittee Interested In
Talking With WWE's McMahon