NFLPA's Smith Says No Decision Made On Use Of Former NFLers For HGH Testing
NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith on Thursday said the "only thing" holding up a new HGH testing program is NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who wants to "carve out neutral arbitration for all aspects of the drug program for certain violations of law or evidentiary violations," according to Mike Garafalo of FOXSPORTS.com. Smith said of HGH testing, "The overwhelming vote of our player representatives on every team is that players should have the right of neutral arbitration for every aspect of the drug program, not just the parts that Roger Goodell wants to keep for himself." He added, "The good news is after a rather tortuous process, the league agreed to the population study that we have been insisting was scientifically necessary." Smith said of a letter in which he agreed to the population study protocol, "I went through every aspect of that letter and my understanding is there are no disagreements of how to conduct this study and what happens during the course of the analysis." Smith: "The two sides have agreed to a protocol for random testing throughout the year. That will then be measured against the decision limit." Smith said of the report of 100 former players receiving HGH as part of a test group, "The study is being conducted by a neutral physician chosen by both (sides). If the researcher makes a determination that he wants to utilize the services of former players, that's up to the researcher. But that's not an NFLPA plan, that's not an NFL plan. The only plan that's going to be done is the one chosen by the neutral researcher." Smith said he has not heard "overwhelming concerns" from players since agreeing to the population study. He said, "Our players are fine with blood tests, they want to make sure they're conducted by licensed phlebotomists and they wanted to make sure that when those blood tests occurred, they didn't occur in a way that jeopardized their health" (FOXSPORTS.com, 8/16).
BACKING AWAY: USA TODAY's Tom Pelissero reported the NFL "distanced itself Thursday from the idea of using former players in a population study" on HGH, one day after NFLPA officials "presented current players with the plan." Sources said that numerous HGH-testing issues "have been resolved, including many terms of the population study requested by the union." However, the use of ex-players in that study "has not been finalized." But that "contradicts the presentation made Wednesday" by NFLPA player advocates Martin Bayless and Ernie Conwell to players from the Vikings. The plan presented to the Vikings is for "roughly 100 former players to participate in the study, with two-thirds of them administered HGH and the other third a placebo." Their HGH levels would be "measured before and after the trial to determine the impact of use" (USATODAY.com, 8/15).