SBD/September 19, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Goodell Says NFL's Efforts To Implement HGH Testing Program Are On Hold

Goodell says the league won't make more concessions to the NFLPA
With negotiations seemingly at an impasse,NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell yesterday indicated that the league will "go no further in making concessions to try and enact" an HGH testing program with the NFLPA, according to Alex Marvez of FOXSPORTS.com. Goodell said, "We've compromised as much as we can compromise, I think, within reason to still have a program that has credibility. We think it's time." Marvez writes it seemed a deal "was on the horizon in early August when the NFL and NFLPA agreed to the parameters of a testing program." But a "sticking point remains on how the appeals process will be handled for players who fall outside the realm of a positive test." The NFL "wants Goodell to retain authority over those appeals; the NFLPA wants a neutral arbitrator." NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith in a statement said, "What does neutral arbitration add but more credibility? The majority of the policy that they already agreed to allows the Commissioner to impose discipline but an appeal is subject to neutral arbitration if the player so chooses. The players don't want an exception to the rule." The NFL "acknowledged the impasse" in its '13 Health & Safety Report that will be released next week. The report states testing has not been implemented yet "due to disagreement on key points" (FOXSPORTS.com, 9/19). PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio writes the fact that HGH and PED violations do not occur often in the NFL should "prompt the league and the union to find a middle ground." Failure by either side to "recognize that reality could be attributed to the stubbornness often demonstrated by one or both sides in collective bargaining." But it also "could be attributed to one -- or both -- sides wanting to delay the implementation of HGH testing for as long as possible" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 9/19).

THE SAFETY DANCE: Goodell said of the NFL's new player-safety rules, "The overwhelming reaction is that players are adjusting to the new rules, the new techniques. I do believe that this is a very positive shift in the culture. You're always going to have things that don't necessarily fit into that culture in a period of time, but people are recognizing when these hits don't fit into the context of the game" (AP, 9/18).
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