NFL wants to start testing for human growth hormone. The players union and the league are meeting Wednesday in an attempt to reach agreement on testing procedures as early as the upcoming season.
Supplemental HGH is a banned substance that is hard to detect and used by athletes for what are believed to be a variety of benefits, whether real or only perceived — such as increasing speed and improving vision.
According to NFL.com, there are few financial issues the two sides are wrestling over:
Each HGH testing kit costs $2,200, so it needs to be discussed who will foot the bill …
… Confidentiality also is a point of discussion. The blood samples will be identified by numbers, with each series of numbers corresponding to a player name. It must be determined who has access to those results.
Some players feel blind-sided by these tests, but HGH typically leaves the body in 48 hours, so the players will have plenty of notice before the first round of testing.
Meanwhile, the mythology surrounding why the NFL tests its athletes continues to rest on a fallacious statement: it seeks to create a level playing field. The larger media frames its stories on this myth, so we have analysis such as this from respected Bleacher Report columnist, and former NFLer, Ryan Riddle:
For example, we were given no privacy when providing a sample during the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Yet, all the drug tests I’ve completed at a team facility were done without a direct witness while filling the cup with a urine sample.
The reason for this inconsistency is uncertain. Perhaps the gravity of a drug test aiding in the team’s decision-making process, like that of the combine, is done with greater precaution. Or it could be that the random nature of the other drug tests decreases the need for a direct witness.
No Ryan, the inconsistency is not a great mystery. It’s the precisely the nature of governing bodies to NOT go against their interests.
When it comes to testing for steroids and other performance enhancement drugs, the NFL policy is supposed to conduct random drug tests throughout the NFL season and to a lesser degree in the offseason. With that said, I have never been randomly drug tested for steroids in my three years playing in the NFL.
And then he goes to suggest that NFL steroidally profiles its players — on par with most athletic governing bodies ‘suspicion-based drug policy’ — which probably works as well as President Obama’s drone program, you kill a few known combatants, but mostly women, children, and folks nearby.
Perhaps it was my lack of bulging muscles that saved me from the hassles of PED testing. I suppose testing me for steroids would have been a pretty obvious waste of time and resources seeing how I barely looked like I knew what a weight room was.
It seems wholly like a full-on charade by the NFL and the NFLPA, with both sides playing their roles as enforcer and protector, respectively.
Athletes bring all kinds of personal advantages to the playing field. From favorable genetics to financial resources — which helps silence your critics — no one comes from the same set of circumstances. Moreover, if a player finds out that he has a special genetic gift, competition requires that said athlete exploit that to his advantage. Owners build state-of-the-art facilities, hire the best trainers and doctors, and give all their resources to players in order for them to compete at the highest level. Why? To enhance their players’ performance. Now why aren’t owners being tested? Right …