It’s been two years since the NFL and its players association agreed to testing for human growth hormone.
HGH is a banned substance that the NFL has been trying to detect for years as it’s the next level beyond steroids. But because it only can be found through blood tests, it has taken some time to negotiate such tests with the NFLPA.
However, in the last two years, the NFLPA has been accused of dragging its feet on implementing such tests, so much that two congressmen sent a letter to union chief DeMaurice Smith requesting all correspondence with the NFL regarding HGH testing.
The Associated Press on Thursday delved into the HGH subject and found some players want to start the testing as much as management.
“I hope guys wouldn’t be cheating. That’s why you do all this extra work and extra training. Unfortunately, there are probably a few guys, a handful maybe, that are on it. It’s unfortunate. It takes away from the sport,” (Baltimore Ravens defensive end Arthur) Jones said.
“It would be fair to do blood testing,” Jones added. “Hopefully they figure it out.”
In the past two years, the NFL and the NFLPA have haggled over aspects of the testing. And in that time, other leagues, including Major League Baseball, have announced they will soon begin HGH testing using the methods from Olympic sports.
The possibility of Congress’ involvement doesn’t please some players.
“I have nothing to hide. I can’t speak for anyone else in football, but I would have no problem going,” said Kenny Wiggins, a 6-foot-6, 314-pound offensive lineman on San Francisco’s practice squad.
But Wiggins added: “There’s a lot more problems in the U.S. they should be worried about than HGH in the NFL.”
That sentiment was echoed by former New York Giants offensive lineman Shaun O’Hara, who now works for NFL Network.
“Do I think there is an HGH problem in the NFL? I don’t think there is. Are there guys who are using it? I’m sure there are. But is it something Congress needs to worry about? No. We have enough educated people on both sides that can fully handle this. And if they can’t, then they should be fired,” said O’Hara, an NFLPA representative as a player. “I include the union in that, and I include the NFL. There is no reason we would need someone to help us facilitate this process.”
Then there’s the viewpoint of 49ers offensive lineman Anthony Davis.
“I personally don’t care if there is testing. It’s something they have to live with, knowing they cheated, and if they get (outplayed) while they’re on it, it’s a hit on their pride.”
– Bill Bradley, contributing editor