As reported by Alex Marvez at FOXSports.com, it looks as if the NFL is moving toward a more comprehensive approach to leveling the playing field when dealing with performance-enhancing drug use. Their proposed agreement supports testing of players for HGH, a test that is only accomplishable through blood analysis.
In the past, the players' union has been vehemently opposed to such testing, voicing their opinion through former association director Gene Upshaw. Before his death in 2008, Gene was quoted as saying, "We've got a lot of big tough guys, but even they don't like to be pricked on the finger to give blood."
This stance by the union is refuted in FOXSports' piece by world renowned PED expert Dr. Gary Wadler. "NFL players have no excuses when it comes to consent for human growth hormone testing" was Marvez's take on Dr. Wadler's comments. Additionally, Dr. Wadler was quoted as saying:
"I'd be very disappointed if the NFL does not get in lock with the rest of the world -- and this goes for (Major League) baseball as well -- and employ blood testing. Any concerns the athletes have of a needle ... It's almost comical to think a 300-pound athlete is afraid of a little needle prick."
"And let's remind everybody that there isn't an athlete who doesn't go to a doctor to get their blood taken now and then. It does not interfere with their performance."
I find it interesting that there are experts in the medical profession (people in the know) who consistently and passionately argue against the use of these performance enhancing substances, yet it is still a battle to get deterrents adopted by the very people this will help.
You have to wonder what that is all about, right?
As far as the NFL stepping up to the plate and putting HGH testing on the table, all I can say is, it's about time. There isn't a professional sports league anywhere that should not have this, and any other test for performance-enhancing substances, as a mandatory part of doing business in sports. In fact, I would go as far as saying that the pressure to have these tests should really come from the players and the unions themselves, not from league owners.
Ok NFL, let's see how well you hold up when it gets closer to "game" time and $$$$ are at stake. My hope is that you hold strong and keep pushing for fairness in sport. The consequences for not doing so are far reaching.
So what are your thoughts?