NEW YORK — The 32 player representatives to the union could vote Tuesday on changes to the NFL’s drug policy that potentially could implement HGH testing.
A person familiar with the talks over the past few weeks told The Associated Press that a conference call vote could come Tuesday evening "depending on the type of proposal" the league presents to the players association.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because drug policy negotiations between the union and league are confidential.
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Both sides have discussed changes to the policy on substance abuse and driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol. The union also is pushing for neutral arbitration in the appeals process and is seeking higher thresholds for positive marijuana tests. But the key element could be a test for human growth hormone.
HGH testing was agreed upon in the 2011 collective bargaining agreement that ended the lockout of the players. But the union has been uncomfortable with the science and the procedures for the testing, as well as how appeals would be handled. The league did agree to an appeal process several years ago.
In marijuana testing, the union feels the league’s threshold for a positive test of 15 nanograms per milliliter is too demanding, citing the IOC’s threshold of 150 nanograms, 10 times as high.
The NFL threshold was collectively bargained. But as NFLPA President Eric Winston told the AP last Friday, anyone within the vicinity of people smoking marijuana without partaking themselves could wind up testing positive at such a low number.
"The (potency) level is so much greater in marijuana now, the secondhand smoke can get a positive test," Winston said. "Just a guy who is around it second hand, then to have to go into the program? We don’t want false positive. W we have to move up the minimum to normal workplace standards."