NFLPA Up for Discussing HGH Testing
"We believe in and collectively bargained for a system that supports the testing of all banned substances," NFLPA spokesman Carl Francis told FanHouse on Wednesday. "We look forward to discussing the NFL's proposed blood testing program."
The NFL proposed testing for human growth hormone after it was announced Monday a British rugby player became the first player to test positive for HGH. The synthetic hormone can only currently be detected using blood, something professional sports unions have been wary to allow to be drawn from their players.
"Our position is that HGH blood testing has advanced to the point where we are taking steps to incorporate it into our program," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the Washington Post.
Several pro leagues and their unions have contributed thousands of dollars over the years to develop a urine test for HGH, although one hasn't passed scientific muster as of yet. Don Catlin, a noted Los Angeles-based researcher and recipient of much of those funds, told New York's Newsday on Wednesday that his "work has not shown that we are going to be able to detect growth hormone in urine."
"The NFLPA along with the NFL has supported research to find a suitable test that will detect sustained HGH use," Franics said. "We have and will continue to work with the NFL to build a system that is fair, reliable and maintains the integrity of our game and the health and safety of our players."
The NFL and NFLPA are currently meeting in Indianapolis to discuss the current CBA, which expires at the end of the 2010 season. Francis said if the topic of blood testing isn't broached in the current round of meetings, it would likely be discussed in the near future.
Like other leagues, the use of HGH -- which can help build lean muscle and aid in recovery from strenuous workouts -- is banned by the NFL. Former New England Patriots safety Rodney Harrison was suspended for the first four games of the 2007 season after law enforcement notified the NFL he had received shipments of HGH.