Citing resistance to a “piecemeal” approach proposed by the NFL, the 32 player representatives of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) have delayed a vote that would implement regular testing for Human Growth Hormone.
The league and the players came to an agreement for testing for the performance enhancing drug way back in 2011 but negotiations on how the testing will be administered and how punishments for breaking the league’s anti-doping rules will be administered have delayed the implementation of the policy for nearly four years.
Other issues besides HGH testing have also caused the hangup including how the league will deal with DUI arrests and what the acceptable level of marijuana should be in urine tests, however most experts agree that it is the looming HGH testing that has the NFLPA dragging its feet.
“There was no vote tonight by the NFLPA player representatives,” said Union Spokesman George Atallah after Tuesday night’s meeting. “We will continue to work towards a comprehensive agreement.”
One of the major sticking points cited by the NFLPA is how the testing procedures will be handled because they are uncomfortable with the science. The union is also concerned about how appeals will be handled by the league for players caught with positive tests, however the league already agreed to having an appeals process several years ago.
In a physically demanding sport like football, it is no wonder that players would be tempted to use HGH. In fact, without testing, it is likely that nearly every player in the NFL is using or has used HGH. This could be a major reason for the delayed vote – too many players would be facing game suspensions as soon as the testing is implemented.