SBD/August 22, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFL, NFLPA Has Much To Work Out In HGH Testing Policy Discussions

Matt Light says the HGH policy is "still up in the air"
The NFL and NFLPA “plan to meet this week with anti-doping experts to hash out the details” of the HGH testing policy included in the new CBA, and Patriots OT and player rep Matt Light said that “there is much to work out,” according to Greg Bedard of the BOSTON GLOBE. Light said, “The game-day (testing) thing is still up in the air. I don’t think that’s been finalized. I sure as heck haven’t heard the final verdict on how that’s all going to roll out. I think at the end of the day there are two big concerns every guy has. No. 1 is, is it a good process? I mean, is the testing method really able to do what it says it’s going to do?” He added, “Secondly, guys don’t want to get stuck by needles, repeatedly.” Light: “I’m sure we’re going to have to flex a little bit on our end, they’re going to flex a little on their end, and we’ll come to an agreement in the middle” (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/21). In N.Y., Juliet Macur noted that the NFLPA said that “there may be no HGH testing at all.” NFLPA Assistant Exec Dir for External Affairs George Atallah on Thursday said, “The truth is that we have not agreed to any of the terms and everything the league has said is what it hopes for. All of those things they are talking about are still open to discussion.” He added that the league “was also premature in announcing that game-day testing would begin for the first time,” and that the union “has still not agreed to that, either.” Atallah said that the HGH testing “was agreed to in principle only” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/20).

FOLLOW THE LEADERS: The AP’s Brett Martel noted when the lockout began, what “mattered most was leadership” and Saints QB Drew Brees, Patriots QB Tom Brady and Colts QB Peyton Manning were “called on to represent pro football players in an antitrust lawsuit against the league.” Now their legacies “will be not only enhanced but forever linked because of the leadership roles they took during the NFL lockout.” Brees serves on the NFLPA’s Exec Committee and “was as active as any player in negotiations that produced a 10-year labor agreement.” Brady “has a close personal relationship” with Patriots Owner Robert Kraft, who “has been widely credited for his leadership among the owners.” Some saw Brady “serving as a bridge builder between” Kraft and NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith. Manning is perhaps “the NFL’s marquee name,” and his “show of solidarity with the players was seen as symbolically significant.” Colts C and NFLPA Exec Committee member Jeff Saturday said of Manning, “Basically, he’s the face of our game right now and so for him to put his name on the lawsuit, I think, said a lot about him” (AP, 8/21).

NFLPA has until tomorrow to file appeal
of Pryor's five-game suspension
SETTING A PRECEDENT:
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday ruled that former Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor can take part in today's supplemental draft but he will be suspended for the first five games of the ’11 season and in N.Y., William Rhoden notes the NFLPA has until tomorrow “to appeal the ruling, and it is in the long-term interest of all players that the union nip this in the bud.” Rhoden: “What happens if Cam Newton is implicated by the NCAA’s investigation of Auburn? Does Goodell go after Newton?” NFL Senior VP/PR Greg Aiello said, “We’re not going to be reaching backward and penalizing people for breaking NCAA rules five, six years ago” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/22). FOXSPORTS.com’s Jason Whitlock wrote Goodell’s decision to uphold the NCAA’s five-game suspension against Pryor “reeks of stupidity, arrogance and immorality.” Goodell “can’t hide behind the weak excuse that he is protecting the integrity of NFL draft eligibility rules.” Whitlock: “This is commissioner Goodell moonlighting once again as a one-man morality police force -- only there is nothing moral about his ruling. He can see the collapse of his free minor-league system, and the suspension of Pryor is a last-ditch effort to prop up the football fraud that calls itself college football” (FOXSPORTS.com, 8/19). In Toronto, Dave Perkins wrote the Pryor ruling makes Goodell “a muscle in the enforcement arm of the NCAA.” Perkins: “Goodell has awarded himself jurisdiction over enforcement of NCAA violations for incoming rookies. … Collective bargaining agreements may come and go, but he clearly thinks he has absolute power to dictate as he sees fit. Worst of all, he probably has it” (TORONTO STAR, 8/21).

DOING THE RIGHT THING? In N.Y., Ebenezer Samuel wrote if Goodell “doesn't take a stand to help his gazillion-dollar organization stand up for a helpless bajillion-dollar NCAA who will?” But to “really help the NCAA reform the colossal corruption that permeates its member-schools, Goodell will need to take it up a notch.” In the “name of equal application of rules, Goodell will need to send some serious league-wide messages" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/21). In Cleveland, Bud Shaw writes under the header, “Amid Storm Of Critics, Roger Goodell Did The Right Thing With Terrelle Pryor Suspension.” Goodell “should be applauded in looking at all the circumstances surrounding his case, and for weighing the attempt by people around Pryor to artificially enhance his eligibility with claims of even more NCAA violations while” at Ohio State. That was “a direct challenge to the spirit of the rules governing the supplemental draft.” Shaw: “How often has a player argued that he wasn't just guilty of infractions, he was guiltier than anyone realized? Goodell couldn't let that pass and didn't.” If Goodell “suddenly starts suspending players who come through the regular draft for infractions committed in college, then the claim of a dangerous precedent is a fair discussion topic,” but “that's not going to happen” (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 8/22).
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