The NFL players’ union has stopped a proposal by the league to implement blood testing for human growth hormone.
The union issued the following statement:
“We informed the NFL (Tuesday) that absent a collective agreement on several critical issues, blood collection is not ready to be implemented on Monday. We have advised the players.”
The NFL wanted to begin HGH testing this week, and had planned to begin collective blood samples this week. The league and players agreed to begin blood testing for HGH as part of the new collective bargaining reached in late July. The one caveat was that the players would have to agree to the methods. The union has been attempting to delay the implementation of tests, and has continued to demand more scientific data to prove they will be reliable.
Needless to say, the league is not happy about the union’s push-back on the issue. League spokesman Greg Aiello issued this response:
“We are disappointed in the union’s response. It is contrary to the terms of the CBA and the agreements reached last Friday with the chairman and ranking member of the House Government Reform Committee.
“We are ready to begin educating players on the testing program and collective sample. This approach was put forward by Congressmen (Darrell) Issa and (Elijah) Cummings. It is well-reasoned and balances the need to ensure immediate deterrence with the union’s desire for further review and education. We know of no reason why these initial steps should not begin next week, and none has identified by the union.”
Earlier in the month almost two dozen scientists and lab directors from around the globe signed and delivered a letter to the NFL and the NFLPA claiming that the current test for HGH was safe, accurate and appropriate for use by professional sports leagues.
Honestly this was to be expected. When was the last time any group of professional athletes willingly submitted to drug testing?
There is likely a long way to go before this is resolved, and I wouldn’t expect HGH testing to happen at any point this season.