NFL can't understand why the union hasn't agreed to HGH testing

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer

In January, Major League Baseball announced it would start randomly testing players for HGH, and soon after that, NBA commissioner David Stern said he wanted HGH testing for his league by next season.

Though the NFLPA is apparently on board with testing the NFL's players -- union executive director DeMaurice Smith said as much the day after MLB made its announcement -- the league and the union have not agreed on how to implement such a test.

On Thursday, Adolpho Birch -- the NFL's senior vice president of law and labor policy -- had a chance to talk with reporters at the NFL combine, and he clearly is not pleased with the delay in implementing the test. Particularly since the NFLPA has said it has an issue with the potential appeals process.

“It's hard to understand what it is about the [appeals] system that they're saying they need that we have not made a proposal on,” Birch said, via the Washington Post. “It is clear that in response to the recent set of issues raised, we put forward a proposal that addressed every one of the stated concerns that they had concerning the appeals process.”

As you probably remember, blood-testing for HGH was agreed to by both parties in the CBA that ended the lockout before the 2011 season. But for various reasons, the testing hasn't happened yet.

“It's just enough,” Birch said. “We've been through this for two years now. … There is absolutely no reason for this to have taken this long and us not have testing implemented. We should have been more than a year into this by now.”

In the past, the NFLPA has requested a population study to determine how effective HGH testing is and how it will affect NFL players who are much bigger than those in the regular population. The biggest issue, though, might be the NFLPA's lack of trust toward the league.

"It's pretty obvious that there's a gap in what would be a reasonable amount of trust ..." union leader Domonique Foxworth said last week. "There've been a number of events to lead players to believe they cannot trust the league.

"There was a bridge beginning to be built and then there were some recent events that kind of broke that bridge again."

Responded NFL spokesman Greg Aiello: "Since 2011, the union has spent most of its time backing away from its commitments. Whether on old litigation, HGH, or commissioner discipline, the NFLPA has consistently looked backwards.

"Trust is a two-way street. If the union wants to work together to build a better, safer and even more popular game, we extend our hand in partnership and respect. If the union wants to stir up old grievances and create mistrust, we will simply have to do the best we can to serve the interests on the fans, players and the game.”

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Josh Katzowitz on Twitter here: @joshkatzowitz.

 
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