NFL tries to play hardball on HGH, blames NFLPA for ‘delay tactics’ for testing

Eric Edholm
August 22, 2013

The NFL has fired a shot across the bow of the players union again on testing for HGH.

Right when it appeared the two sides were moving in a positive direction on the matter, agreeing to a population study two weeks ago, things have stalled again.

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Boiled down, the union and its players have steadfastly refused to have NFL commissioner Roger Goodell be judge and jury on the matter, insisting that all positive tests go to a third party.

The league responded to that today. NFL senior vice president Adolpho Birch, who oversees the league’s drug testing, lashed out in an email, calling what the union was doing as “delay tactics” and claimed that it was suffering from “buyer’s remorse” on the CBA the two sides agreed to two years ago that included an agreement on HGH testing.

"NFL players two years ago overwhelmingly agreed to HGH testing and to continuing the commissioner's longstanding disciplinary authority in cases where a player is found to have violated the law by a judge or jury," Birch said in the statement.

"The union's latest demand has nothing to do with appeals from positive drug tests, nothing to do with ensuring a level playing field and nothing to do with keeping players safe from dangerous substances. It is simply a case of buyer's remorse, and an effort to renegotiate part of a long-term agreement that they have now decided they don't like.

"The union knows that HGH testing is the right thing to do for our game, for its membership, and for the millions of people who look to the NFL and NFL players to set the example for fair and exciting play. It is time for the NFLPA to stop the delay tactics, to move forward for the good of the game and players, and stop focusing on protecting people that break the law.”

So there you go. Shots fired.

The union decided that it needed to have a word on the matter. In a far briefer statement, NFLPA Assistant Executive Director of External Affairs George Atallah tried to counter Birch’s statement.

"The only case of buyer's remorse is the attached letter that the NFL agreed to weeks ago. Our signature is on it. Sign it, like you agreed to, and we start drawing blood from players immediately. Your refusal to sign it confirms that the only thing you care about is power."

Liar, liar, pants on fire. Remember this tough talk from both sides? It was all the rage in the summer of 2011.

Here’s both the good news and the bad news. Good news: Football is almost back, with the regular season three weeks away. With that, these types of matters tend to go away. And the bad news: Football is almost back, meaning that the timetable for getting HGH testing — which star players such as Adrian Peterson say they want — implemented is shrinking quickly.

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