SBD/November 11, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFL To Host Drug Testing Conference; NFLPA Submits New Proposal For HGH Testing

Howman, who has drawn ire of NFLPA in the past, will present at the conference
The NFL is hosting a drug testing conference with MLB, USOC, WADA and the U.S. Anti Doping Agency on Dec. 1 at its HQs in N.Y. The conference comes as the league and NFLPA have been warring over whether to begin HGH testing. The NFLPA Thursday published a new proposal on ways to break the logjam, including creating an independent review, divorced from the commissioner, to arbitrate appeals of positive tests. The NFLPA is still demanding that WADA be transparent in its data collection and research. WADA Dir General David Howman, who has in the past drawn the ire of the NFLPA for claiming the union is an impediment, will present at the conference. There will also be a presentation on HGH testing from Northwestern medical professor Gerhard Baumann. The moves come as Congress has indicated it could hold hearings on the subject. In the recent CBA, the two sides agreed to HGH testing, though the NFLPA said that was conditioned on both sides agreeing to the validity of the tests. The union worries the protocols developed in the HGH tests by WADA do not account for the body types of NFL players and wants access to the data, which WADA has declined to provide (Daniel Kaplan, SportsBusiness Journal).

NEW PROPOSAL: The AP reported the NFLPA Thursday proposed conducting a "study of players that accurately reflects the natural level of HGH in their systems." The union has "claimed its players might have a higher natural level of human growth hormone than the general population, and it also has balked at testing procedures approved by" WADA that the NFL has recommended. Under Thursday's proposal, the union said independent scientists, medical professionals and arbitrators "will provide independent expertise at each step to ensure achieving the goals of a drug-free game and due process for the men who play the game." A league spokesperson Thursday said of the union's suggestion, "The proposal is deficient in numerous respects and consistent with the NFLPA's ongoing strategy to delay testing as long as possible" (AP, 11/10).
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