WADA backs HGH test against ‘extremist’ NFL union
The World Anti-Doping Agency defended its test for human growth
hormone on Wednesday and accused the NFL players union of being
”extremist” for questioning its validity.
WADA director general David Howman said the union was acting
”the way they’ve operated the last few years” in trying to block
the introduction of HGH testing in the National Football
”I would expect the players association to take a stance which
is extremist,” Howman told The Associated Press in a telephone
interview. ”What we’ve got to do is get to reality and not to a
position that is an extremist position.”
The NFLPA questioned the HGH test again after Tuesday’s ruling
by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the case of Estonian
cross-country skier Andrus Veerpalu.
The court lifted the three-year suspension imposed by the
International Ski Federation on the two-time Olympic champion for
use of HGH, citing ”procedural flaws” in the limits established
by WADA to determine a positive test.
But the three-person CAS panel also said it believed Veerpalu
did take HGH and it backed the WADA testing method as a whole.
”What we have to do is actually look at the decision in a very
calculated, objective fashion,” Howman said. ”What CAS has
decided is that the test is OK and what they want is for there to
be a bigger population-based study in terms of the impact of it.
We’ll take that on board and we’ll go further.”
The NFL players said the decision highlighted its long-running
concerns about HGH testing in pro football.
”For almost two years, the NFL players have fought the NFL and
certain members of Congress who have publicly referred to the
players’ insistence on scientific validity and fairness as
`stalling’ and `posturing,”’ the NFLPA said in a statement
Tuesday. ”Today’s decision validates the players’ demand for
scientific validity, full due process rights, and a transparent
The NFL responded in a statement that it has been almost two
years since an agreement was reached with the players on testing
but HGH controls still have not started.
”Surprisingly, the union uses this particular decision to
justify and extend into overtime its game of duck and delay,” the
The NFL and the union agreed in principle to HGH testing when a
new 10-year labor agreement was finalized in August 2011. But
protocols must be approved by both sides and the players have
questioned the science in the testing procedures, delaying
”There is no contest as to the validity of the test,” Howman
said. ”The test is OK. We have to make that quite strong. There’s
some extra work to be done. In fact, we’ve been doing it and we’ve
been saying we’ve been doing it for the past four or five
”It’s not a surprise to us. It’s just part of what you do in
the evolution of things. If there are more blood tests taken, there
is more information available to us.”
In a prolonged legal battle with the ski federation and WADA,
Veerpalu’s lawyers tried to align him with the NFLPA in contesting
the HGH test.
However, CAS rejected such a link as ”irrelevant to the
question of the test’s validity and reliability” – and suggested
the union was motivated by the labor negotiations.
AP Sports Writer Graham Dunbar in Geneva contributed to this