No progress toward HGH blood-testing being implemented in NFL
There has been no progress in recent months in discussions between the NFL and its players' union about the possible implementation of blood-testing of players for human growth hormone, people familiar with the issue said Wednesday.
League officials previously have said they believe that blood-testing for HGH has progressed to the point at which such a test should be included in the NFL's program. The league has proposed such a test to the NFL Players Association as part of the two sides' current labor negotiations, and league officials previously left open the possibility of blood-testing for HGH being put into effect as part of a separate agreement between the sides even before a new labor deal could be completed.
But two sources said Wednesday that there has been little to no movement in the discussions between the league and the union on the issue. One person familiar with the deliberations said the discussions will continue but it is not clear at this point when such a test might be put into effect.
The union expressed a willingness in recent months to discuss the league's blood-testing proposal at the bargaining table. The union previously had a long-standing opposition to allowing players to be blood-tested, contending that players would be tested for HGH only when a reliable urine test for it was developed.
HGH is on the NFL's list of banned substances but players currently are not tested for it.
On Tuesday, authorities in the U.S. charged Canadian doctor Anthony Galea with unlawfully treating athletes with HGH and the unapproved drug Actovegin. According to court documents, two current NFL players and one former NFL player received medical treatment from Galea and the former player admitted to purchasing HGH kits from Galea. The two current NFL players said they did not knowingly use HGH, according to the documents.
The players were not identified by name in the court documents.
The NFL issued a written statement Tuesday that said: "This is an ongoing federal investigation and we have not been informed of the identity of these players. We obviously have a very strong interest in learning who these players are and about their involvement with any prohibited substances so that we can enforce our policies. When we have had evidence of illegal purchase, possession, or use of HGH, we have imposed discipline and are fully prepared to do so again if the facts support it. We have been in touch with law enforcement and will continue to cooperate with the federal authorities as the case moves forward.
"This case highlights the need for enhanced testing and in our discussions about a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Players Association, we have proposed expanding our current testing program to include growth hormone."
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