SBD/December 13, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Congress Says NFLPA Delaying HGH Testings To "Run Out The Clock"

HOFer Dick Butkus testified yesterday, saying the NFL should test players for HGH
Members of Congress yesterday expressed their frustration at the NFLPA for “not yet agreeing to put into effect a test for human growth hormone nearly two seasons after promising to do so,” according to Juliet Macur of the N.Y. TIMES. U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who is the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform Chair, and U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said that the union’s “longstanding efforts to question the science behind the HGH test were simply a way to ‘run out the clock’ and avoid honoring its agreement with the league.” The pair said that the union had “reneged on a deal it had made with lawmakers last year to allow blood to be drawn from its players.” Cummings said, “It seems like excuse after excuse is being presented and the major excuse has been the science.” He added he hoped players realized “how incredibly ridiculous” it looked that they were not being tested for HGH. Issa and Cummings said that they would “hold more hearings on the issue and would call the NFL and the players union to testify if the league did not begin testing soon.” If there is “still an impasse, individual players could be called to testify” (N.Y. TIMES, 12/13). In N.Y., Michael O’Keeffe notes the NFLPA “has concerns about the appeals process, and the league and the Players Association still have not decided who would administer the tests.” Yesterday’s hearing “did not seem to change the union’s position” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/13). The NFLPA said that it “wants a ‘population study’ to see if factors such as a player’s size and ethnicity would affect the accuracy of the HGH tests.” USA TODAY’s Christine Brennan notes the union a year ago was “complaining that the blood tests were invasive, that the testing plan was being forced on the players and that no one could trust the World Anti-Doping Agency, a line it clearly stole from Lance Armstrong.” The NFLPA also is “following the lead" of the MLBPA, which "refused to allow drug testing of any kind for so long that it tainted the reputation of an entire generation of players” (USA TODAY, 12/13).

HANDLING THE SITUATION: Goodell said that he is “likely to meet” with Cowboys DT Josh Brent “soon” after his arrest for intoxication manslaughter that resulted in the death of teammate Jerry Brown. ESPN DALLAS’ Werder & Archer reported the Cowboys yesterday “placed Brent on the reserve/non-football injury list, ending his season but not his contact with the team.” Goodell said, "Because he's not active and will not be involved with the club I think we'll allow the legal process to move forward and gain a little more clarity on that front." Cowboys COO, Exec VP & Dir of Player Personnel Stephen Jones said that the team “wants to be in contact with Brent.” Jones said, "I think we want to be able to contact him and him being able to contact his teammates. I think those things are important.” Goodell also addressed what the league “can do differently in helping educate players about the issue as well as offering different resources.” Goodell: "I don't think it's a secret that we've long felt that discipline in this area needs to be revisited and escalated on a first offense and a second offense" (ESPNDALLAS.com, 12/12).
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