Blood testing (for Human Growth Hormone) is a component of the NFL/NFLPA dispute that is often overlooked. And now the leading anti-doping "expert" is saying the NFLers are just a bunch of pansies.
"I'd be very disappointed if the NFL does not get in lock with the rest of the world -- and this goes for (Major League) baseball as well -- and employ blood testing," Wadler said Friday. "Any concerns the athletes have of a needle ... It's almost comical to think a 300-pound athlete is afraid of a little needle prick."
"No one is interested in a blood test," said Upshaw, who died in 2008. "We've got a lot of big tough guys, but even they don’t like to be pricked on the finger to give blood."
Ex-NFL tight end Mark Bruener echoed that sentiment last year in a Washington Post interview. Bruner called the process "extremely invasive ... We have one of the most aggressive, productive drug-testing policies in all of sports. To go to that extreme, I'm not sure that's good for the health of an athlete."
Adolpho Birch, who oversees the NFL's drug-testing program as the league's senior vice president of law and labor policy, told FOXSports.com that the league believes HGH testing is "necessary" and "we're going to insure that it's done."
"That's something very important to us and the integrity of our game," Birch said. "We believe some of the basis for going slowly on it before has been addressed. At this point, it's proper for it to be an active part of our program."
The problem is fairly simple: there is no reliable urine test for HGH. And it doesn't appear there is one on the horizon.
It makes sense that HGH would present problems in this context. Nagging injuries limit your on-the-field production - and in turn - could put performance-based bonuses or contract extensions out of reach. If you're a marginal NFLer, it could keep you in the league for a couple extra seasons.
As advances in medicine are made, we're inevitably going to need to address issues of this sort. Even if they do consent to blood testing, I'm sure some newfangled performance-enhancer will come along sooner or later. In the meantime, HGH testing is something I personally think they need to implement a.s.a.p.
Curious what y'all think. Discuss!