Congressmen Criticize NFLPA Stance On HGH Testing In Letter To DeMaurice Smith
The same congressional committee that “slammed baseball and its drug-testing policy eight years ago has turned its crosshairs” to the NFLPA and its Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith, according to Christian Red of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is “blasting Smith and the union for failing to implement testing for human growth hormone, despite the league and union agreeing to that policy in principle during the summer” of ’11. Now NFLers “may be called to testify before Congress on the issue.” U.S. Reps Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) yesterday wrote in a letter to Smith, “We are disappointed with the NFLPA’s remarkable recalcitrance, which has prevented meaningful progress on this issue. We intend to take a more active role to determine whether the position you have taken -- that HGH is not a serious concern and that the test for HGH is unreliable -- is consistent with the beliefs of rank and file NFL players.” Red notes while the NFL and NFLPA “agreed to a new collective-bargaining agreement” in ’11, there is “still no testing” for HGH. MLB “announced earlier this month that it would conduct in-season blood tests for HGH.” MLB banned the drug in ‘05, but there was “no testing until last season, during spring training and the offseason only.” The congressmen wrote, “Despite being the first of the major professional sports leagues to agree to test for HGH, the NFL has now fallen far behind its counterparts in implementing the agreement” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/29). In DC, Mark Maske noted the league and union have been "unable to launch a population study that the union has maintained is necessary to determine what should constitute a positive test for athletes the size of NFL players." Issa and Cummings "previously have been unsuccessful in their attempts to push negotiations forward" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 1/28).