Roger Goodell Wants to Implement HGH Testing in NFL


August 5, 2010

ASHBURN, Va. — NFL commissioner
Roger Goodell says the league wants to test players for human growth
hormone "to protect the integrity of our game."

In an interview with The Associated
Press while riding with former NFL coach and TV broadcaster John Madden
on the Madden Cruiser between visits Wednesday to the Ravens and
Redskins training camps, Goodell called the HGH issue a key element of
ongoing labor negotiations involving owners and the players' union.

"It's very important. It's about the
integrity of the game. It's about player health and safety," Goodell
told the AP. "It's about making sure that we're doing everything to
protect our players and to protect the integrity of our game."

He later made similar comments while speaking to a group of reporters at Redskins camp.

The NFL currently does not test for
HGH, but its use is prohibited, and the league has suspended players
and an assistant coach based on other proof that they had used the

The NFL has told the players' union
it would like to add HGH to the list of drugs in the league's testing
program. The union has opposed blood tests.

"We think it's important to have HGH
testing, to make sure we ensure that we can take performance-enhancing
substances out of the game. Unfortunately, the only way to test for
that, on any reliable basis right now, is through blood testing,"
Goodell said.

"And if your objective is to take it out of the game," he added, "that's the only way to do it. … That's why we proposed it."

Told of Goodell's comments Wednesday,
the NFL Players Association replied via e-mail to the AP that it would
"stick to" an earlier statement from Director of Player Services Development Stacy Robinson, which read in part: "The NFLPA along with
the NFL has supported research to find a suitable test that will detect
sustained HGH use. … We believe in and collectively bargained for a
system that supports the testing of all banned substances. We look
forward to discussing the NFL's proposed blood testing program in CBA

Preventing athletes from using HGH
is considered a key target in the anti-doping movement. The substance
is hard to detect, and athletes are believed to choose HGH for a
variety of benefits, whether they be real or only perceived — including
increasing speed and improving vision.

Last month, Major League Baseball
implemented random blood testing for HGH in the minors, making it the
first U.S. professional sports league to take that aggressive step
against doping. Baseball was able to impose that on players with
minor-league contracts because they are not members of the players'
association, which means blood testing is not subject to collective

During his appearance at Redskins
camp, Goodell said NFL staff contacted Santana Moss about the
Washington receiver's connection to a Canadian doctor charged with
smuggling and supplying HGH.

Moss has told teammates he received treatments — not involving banned substances — from Dr. Anthony Galea.

A U.S. criminal complaint filed in
May charged Galea with conspiracy, smuggling, unlawful distribution of
HGH and introducing the unapproved drug Actovegin into interstate

Tiger Woods is among the athletes
who have acknowledged being treated by Galea. Woods has said he met
with federal authorities investigating the doctor.

"We're following it. It's obviously
part of an overall criminal investigation that we obviously are
cooperating with and following very closely," Goodell said. "Certainly
when a determination is made, then we'll determine our next step."

Asked about a possible suspension for Moss, Goodell said: "I like to know the facts first."

On Wednesday, Goodell met privately
with Redskins players — as he does at each of his training camp visits
— but said he did not talk to Moss.

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