“The long and short of it is, we’re not going to agree to a system that doesn’t give the player full due-process rights on HGH. That’s where we started, and that’s where we’ll end up. We believe in collective bargaining. The fact that the league would rather force us to accept something that’s not fair, rather than bargaining for it, is worrisome.”
–DeMaurice Smith, executive director, NFL Players Association
Union boss says players will not accept unfair Human Growth Hormone testing policy
After they signed the Collective Bargaining Agreement, over one year and half ago, the league may finally be closer to an agreement on the matter of testing for Human Growth Hormone among NFL players. YouWager’s football bettors may see the issue settled before the 2012 NFL football wagering season gets underway. The players and the league have traded proposals, and now union leaders will review the league’s most recent offer prior to their upcoming meeting in the Bahamas.
One thing has become clear to the online betting community- by establishing a third party to oversee arbitration over the appeals of any positive drug tests, the players made it obvious that there is a general lack of trust for any arbitration process that might be set up by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after the fallout from the infamous New Orleans Bounty scandal and the penalties that resulted from the league’s rulings, and their subsequent reversals. Many players felt that the commissioner used his power inappropriately in those settings. The league has already agreed to a third party system, and it is pressing the union to move forward.
Greg Aielo, a spokesman for the NFL, told a YouWager news source that both sides are really on the same page. “There are no true differences here, only manufactured ones,” he said. “We fully share the union’s belief in reliable, scientifically-valid testing. That is why we want to use the same test used in baseball, basketball, hockey, the Olympic games, and every other sport in which HGH testing takes place. As to the appeals process, we offered — two years ago — to have all appeals of drug and steroid tests heard by third-party arbitrators. More recently, the union said it wanted the same appeal process used in the Major League Baseball program and we have offered to do exactly that.”
One roadblock, according to YouWager’s source, the players are concerned about how the third-party arbitration will handle matters they call the “other appeals,” such as drinking or marijuana possession, as related to arrests. This process, they hope, could include a kind of plea-bargaining process, and this could also include the use of anabolic steroids
The main bone of contention, according to YouWager’s source, is the actual time that the blood samples are taken for the HGH testing. The NFL wants blood on the day of the game. The union strongly opposes this. One YouWager source said, “That is absolutely never going to happen.”
Adolpho Birch, a senior vice president of law and labor policy for the NFL, told YouWager’s source, “It has been a stall. I don’t know if it is a tactic. There is absolutely no reason for this to have taken this long and for us to not have testing implemented. We should have been more than a year into this by now.”
Brian Dawkins, a member of the NFL Players Association executive committee said, “It’s definitely frustrating for us as players to not have a test in place, but we can’t simply agree to a test because all of us are frustrated. It has to be the right test and the right process for a player to be able to challenge it. I was blessed to play in this league for 16 years. And I can proudly say I accomplished that feat under the rules that governed us all. While we all want cheating out of the game, we know that no test is 100-percent foolproof. And I also know that the NFL has not yet given us what MLB has so far as our ability to challenge the science and full neutral arbitration. We want an HGH test just as bad and in most cases to a greater degree than many will ever care to understand, but we want it the right way.”
The NFLPA negotiators also suggested the league employ a third-party arbitration system for all player discipline issues. DeMaurice Smith, executive director, NFL Players Association, told YouWager’s source, “The league acts like it’s their drug program. It’s as much ours as it is theirs. They forget that.”