Congress could call NFL players to testify about HGH

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com
Oversight Chairman Issa wants answers on the NFLPA's HGH in-season testing plans. (Getty Images)

On Monday, House Oversight Committee and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) sent a letter to the NFL Players Association about its continued reluctance to institute in-season HGH testing for NFL players.

“We are disappointed with the NFLPA's remarkable recalcitrance, which has prevented meaningful progress on this issue,” Issa and Cummings said in the letter. “We intend to take a more active role to determine whether the position you have taken -- that HGH is not a serious concern and that the test for HGH is unreliable -- is consistent with the beliefs of rank and file NFL players.

“Despite being the first of the major professional sports leagues to agree to test for HGH, the NFL has now fallen far behind its counterparts in implementing the agreement,” the letter continued. “While NFLPA management may not believe that HGH is a problem in the NFL, the words of your athletes suggest otherwise. We hope the facts collected by the Committee will provide you and the NFL with the information necessary to resolve this matter.”

A brief timeline of how we got to this point:

* Back in July 2011, days before the NFL and players came to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement, league attorney Jeffrey Pash told the New York Daily News: "We expect that we will have testing for HGH. I think that both sides believe that's important for the integrity of the game and that we should continue to be leaders here. I think that's a view that's strongly held by the players as it by us.

"How soon can it happen?" Pash asked. "Some issues needed to be worked out. It will take some time to get that ramped up, but we would hope that it could be ramped up by the start of the season."

* Fifteen months ago, the Oversight Committee sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith regarding a previous meeting for plans to implement a test for HGH "in accordance with the terms of the collective-bargaining agreement ratified this summer."

* Then, in August 2012, a month before the start of the NFL season, the House panel sent Goodell and Smith another letter requesting information "about the status of the ongoing negotiations between the NFL and NFLPA regarding implementation of blood testing for the use of HGH by players."

And if information continues to be hard to come by, players could be called before the committee to testify.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to the Pick-6 Podcast on iTunes. You can follow Ryan Wilson on Twitter here: @ryanwilson_07.

 
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