SBD/December 1, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

WADA Official Criticizes NFLPA For Rationale In Opposing HGH Testing

WADA Dir General David Howman this morning criticized the NFLPA for its rationale for opposing HGH testing. The comments came at NFL HQs leading off the second Partnership for Clean Competition, a conference organized by major sports leagues and drug testing agencies. The NFL and NFLPA have been at loggerheads over HGH testing, which the new CBA calls for, but left the details to be resolved. Despite meetings at WADA HQs in Montreal and with the U.S. Congress, the NFLPA remains concerned that the HGH testing protocols developed by WADA do not account for the physical makeup of NFL players. Howman scoffed at that. “I have to sit in Montreal and explain things,” he told the conference, and then get criticized by individuals “who don’t know anything about science.” That appears to be a reference to NFLPA Assistant Exec Dir of External Affairs George Atallah, who engaged in a heated, public back and forth with Howman over the issue. Atallah did not respond for comment for this story. But he was quoted saying Howman “should not be so arrogant and presumptuous to speak on our behalf or anybody from our team,” referring to comments Howman had made that the NFLPA issue was not with science. Howman this morning said of the NFLPA opposition, “It is not about science, it is something else. And that is frustrating, especially when I am the one who received vitriolic correspondence.” Howman later told reporters that the NFLPA’s request for the data behind WADA’s testing protocols was unrealistic because it would require him to violate confidentiality provisions in the testing agreements with athletes. He also said he had never heard the argument that there could be a subset of athletes whose unique physiques somehow made their sport different from all the others in regards to HGH testing. “The NFL themselves are approaching this in a very responsible (fashion),” he said. “It is disappointing that you are doing things to support clean players and the players are opposing it.” Howman also suggested that it looks like the NFL may have a problem with HGH, noting he can think of few other reasons why the union would be opposed to the testing. He praised MLB for becoming the first U.S. sports league to adopt HGH testing. He said he did not have a problem that there is no in-season testing until '13, describing it as a good first
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