NEW YORK (AP) The NFL has begun testing for human growth hormone for the first time, three years after the league and players’ union tentatively agreed to do so.
HGH testing was part of the 2011 labor agreement but was delayed because the NFL Players Association was not comfortable with the procedures or science involved. Both sides agreed last month on the new policy, which took effect Monday.
A total of 950 tests will be performed during the regular season, postseason and preseason. In the offseason, about 385 tests will be done.
Each week during the season, five players on eight teams will be chosen randomly for testing as part of the normal testing procedures under the NFL’s performance enhancing drug policy. No tests will occur on game days. Players subject to the blood testing must be on the active roster, practice squad or on injured reserve, and not already subject to reasonable-cause testing. In the offseason, every player under contract not already undergoing reasonable-cause testing will be tested to a maximum of 90 per team.
Any appeal will be heard by a neutral person, not by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or someone he designated.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – Julius Thomas said he never intended to hurt Calais Campbell despite Arizona coach Bruce Arians calling the Pro Bowl tight end’s chop block the ”dirtiest play I’ve ever seen” in 37 years in the NFL.
Thomas said he and tackle Ryan Clady would never try to hurt anyone and the play Sunday that sent Arizona’s star defensive end out with a sprained right MCL was a matter of miscommunication, not malice.
Broncos coach John Fox passionately defended Thomas, too. He said he’s been in the league just two years less than Arians and ”it’s not the dirtiest play I’ve seen this year, let alone in 35 years.”
Fox said that no matter how bad it looks, Thomas meant only to legally cut block Campbell, which would have been OK had Clady not gotten into his pass protection stance just as Thomas went low and took out Campbell’s knees.
Campbell is expected to miss up to three weeks.
Arians didn’t back off Monday, saying, ”You’ll never convince me it wasn’t premeditated.”
MIAMI (AP) – The former owner of the clinic at the center of Major League Baseball’s recent performance-enhancing drug scandal had his bail revoked because of recent positive tests for cocaine use.
U.S. District Judge Darrin P. Gayles ordered Anthony Bosch jailed immediately. Bosch tested positive twice in August for cocaine use, after he was released on $100,000 bail under conditions including no use of illegal drugs and random urine testing. Gayles also found Bosch wasn’t regularly attending voluntary drug treatment.
Prosecutors say Bosch’s Coral Gables clinic, Biogenesis of America, was involved in a conspiracy to provide performance-enhancing drugs to MLB players and even high school athletes. Fourteen MLB players were suspended following the probe, including a season-long suspension this year for New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez.
Bosch, 51, is scheduled to plead guilty next week and has been cooperating in the investigation against others who were charged, including possibly testifying in those cases. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael ”Pat” Sullivan, however, said authorities were well aware of Bosch’s chronic drug problem and fondness for South Beach nightclubs.
NEW YORK (AP) – The NBA and its television partners couldn’t wait to extend their contracts.
The league renewed its deals with ESPN and TNT even though two seasons remain on the old ones. With potential competition from Fox looming, both networks were willing to pay generously to secure the rights long-term.
The NBA’s annual revenue from the agreements will increase from $930 million to more than $2.6 billion, according to a person familiar with the terms.
The contracts will run an additional nine years through the 2024-25 season. The previous eight-year agreements end after 2015-16.
Michael Phelps’ comeback took a major hit with USA Swimming suspending the 18-time Olympic champion for six months and forcing him to withdraw from next year’s world championships.
Phelps also lost six months of funding from the sport’s national governing body as a result of his second DUI arrest. The 29-year-old swimmer is banned from participating in USA Swimming-sanctioned meets through April 6, 2015.
USA Swimming said Phelps violated its Code of Conduct, and cited a section of its 2014 Rule Book in punishing him. Its executive committee approved the sanctions, which take effect immediately.
Phelps can still train with his North Baltimore club, but he had already qualified for the world championships in Russia next August, which is the biggest international meet leading up to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Phelps came out of retirement earlier this year with his sights set on competing at a fifth Olympics in Rio. Being barred from the world meet could put a serious dent in those ambitions.
BOSTON (AP) – A group working bring the 2024 Summer Olympics to Boston honored dozens of other current and former Massachusetts Olympians and Paralympians at an event at a sports bar near Fenway Park.
Former figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, who won a bronze medal in 1992 and a silver medal in 1994, and Michael Eruzione, the captain of the 1980 U.S. men’s national ice hockey team that defeated the Soviet Union in the so-called ”Miracle on Ice” game en route to capturing a gold medal, were among those attending.
Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh had been expected make their first joint appearance in support of the effort, but Patrick was unable to attend. His office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In statements issued in advance of the event, both politicians expressed optimism, but stopped short of a tacit endorsement of the Boston proposal, which is being developed by the Boston 2024 Partnership, a privately funded organization.