Wait, What? The NFL Doesn’t Drug Test for Human Growth Hormone?

This year’s Tour de France is over, and I have to admit that it was perhaps the most boring Tour I’ve watched. Chris Froome dominated the whole thing and no one could touch him. So naturally there were plenty of rumors about Froome using illegal drugs. We’ll wait and see what turns up in the coming months.

But along those lines, the following story actually came as no surprise to me: the NFL hasn’t been testing players for HGH, which, in cycling and baseball, is one of the most common performance enhancing drugs. That’s about to change, however.

The NFL and the Players Association are closer to HGH testing than ever before. The sides have agreed in principle on a population study for HGH testing, according to an email the union has sent to its players. The study is a precursor to formal HGH testing.

Procedural issues such as the storage of blood samples and how positive tests would be tied to the larger Performance Enhancing Drug policy still must be resolved, but the sides hope to finalize those details before the end of the week.

Of course testing is fine, but will penalties be enforced or will players get a slap-on-the-wrist that’s small enough to justify further cheating?

The notion that cycling and, to a lesser degree, baseball and Olympic sports are somehow crooked and filled with cheaters is hilarious to me given the 12-foot-tall superhumans in football has always hit me as totally unfair. There are drug users in all professional sports, not just cycling and certainly not just Lance Armstrong.

  • mrbrink

    Ryan Braun won the NL MVP two years ago(signed to a $113 million dollar contract as a result), beating out Matt Kemp of the LA Dodgers($160 million), and he was just suspended for the rest of the year for doping. The media and the fans are burning his jersey and calling him a coward and all kinds of nastiness. His name appeared on the same HGH customer list as Alex Rodriguez of the NY Yankees(nearly half a billion lifetime), and all anyone seems to care about is whether he’s going to come back from injury this season.

    Weird standards.

    But I caught about four random minutes of the tour and I still like to know someone’s racing in it.

  • D_C_Wilson

    Really, let’s just open the floodgates and let athletes use whatever performance enhancements they want. There isn’t a sport on this planet that isn’t dirty at this point and nobody really cares. At least let’s be honest about it.

    Twenty years from now, they’ll be grafting cheetah muscles on their legs installing bionic arms any way.

    I’m only half-sarcastic.

  • Lady Willpower

    Everyone knows football players juice. It’s just that no one cares. I have no idea why.
    Cycling, on the other hand, tried to convince us it was pure. Even though the entire sport is as dirty as can be. If they’d just owned up to it or not pretended to care, like football does, it wouldn’t be such a big deal.

  • jebediahspringfield

    One quibble – I didn’t find the Tour boring at all. Yes, after a very short time Froome’s victory was a foregone conclusion, barring mishap. But the Tour isn’t just the yellow jersey – I thought the battles for other jerseys, and some of the stage finishes, were plenty dramatic and entertaining.

    But as to your larger point – absolutely. It has ground my gears for years that cycling gets such scrutiny about drugs, while other more major sports either do a laughably half-assed job or just look the other way.

  • JMAshby

    No, the NFL has never tested for HGH.

    During the last lockout, both sides agreed to test for it, however they haven’t agreed to a procedure for testing for it.

    Here’s why–union-chief–players-refuse-to-accept-hgh-testing-policy-from-nfl–that-s-not-fair–011007381.html

    “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,” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith told Yahoo! Sports on Thursday. “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.”

    Despite public pressure from the NFL, which has accused them of stalling, and from two U.S. Congressmen, who earlier this year chastised the union for its “remarkable recalcitrance,” players have held firm on their insistence that Goodell surrender some of his existing power.

    TLDR: Roger Goodell is a jackass who ruined the Saints’ season last year for virtually no reason. Just because he was trying to look hard. Most of the charges were dropped mid-season but the Saints were already fucked.

    Why? Because there’s no oversight of Goodell. He just does whatever he wants. He’s the dictator. The only thing standing in the way is the players’ union. The team owners don’t give a shit.