NFL, players union can’t find common ground on HGH testing

The NFLPA wants to limit league commissioner Roger Goodell's authority to hear appeals in cases where there is no positive test, such as a conviction on drug charges.

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The fourth season under the current NFL collective bargaining agreement figures to be yet another year without HGH testing.

So says the NFL Players Association in a letter to its executive committee that was obtained by FOX Sports.

In the letter, which was sent out on Thursday, the NFLPA states the league "has refused to sign" the agreement of terms on a population study to determine the baseline against which all tested levels are to be judged. The union says the league won’t do so "without complete agreement on new drug policies."

FOX Sports and others have reported the league has agreed to third-party arbitration on all positive tests, but the final sticking point is NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s authority to hear appeals in cases where there is no positive test, such as a conviction on drug charges.

The NFL has countered by saying Goodell’s power was agreed to as part of the negotiations toward the CBA in 2011 and that the union is trying to retroactively change the terms of the agreement by holding up HGH testing as leverage. Goodell also stated at the league’s spring meetings in Atlanta a new drug policy would include more a more lenient process for offenders. Goodell stated 21 of the 104 players in drug-related cases since would have been referred into the drug program rather than being suspended and two other players would’ve faced a two-game suspension rather than a four-game suspension.

But the NFLPA is holding firm on its end in this HGH standoff.

"We are on the verge of another year without a safer and cleaner game because the NFL refuses to commit to fair due process for players who choose to appeal NFL discipline for alleged drug policies violations," the union wrote.

A league spokesman did not respond to a request for comment about the NFLPA’s latest letter on the situation.