Reporting Tim Williams
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Setting a good example for young athletes. A Maryland congressman insists on human growth hormone testing for NFL players.
Tim Williams has more on Congressman Elijah Cummings’ latest push.
With about two weeks left before the official kickoff of the 2013 season, it appears the NFL is moving closer to testing players for human growth hormone, a highly contested process being pushed by Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings.
“So many young people were trying to emulate professional football players [and] baseball players and they were beginning to use banned substances so that’s how the Congress got involved, trying to protect the health of children,” Cummings said.
A preliminary plan involves testing 100 former players, with two-thirds of them receiving HGH and the other third receiving a placebo.
“The goal is to see what a player is actually, or a former player in this case, is actually taking growth hormone looks like for the test and what a normal player looks like,” said sports writer David Epstein.
The tests would set a “decision limit” to be used in judging future cases. Testing has been delayed because of disputes, but was agreed to by the NFL and its players in their 2011 talks.
“We only have one more preseason game, so if they don’t do it, then we’re probably going to bring them back before the Congress,” Cummings said.
Once HGH testing begins, a total of 40 players will be chosen at random from eight teams every week. A first offense would result in a four-game suspension.
Cummings says Congress will only get involved if it has to, but that the NFL owes it to its fans to make sure that the game is fair.
Neither a final plan nor date have been determined.
Some experts say even when HGH testing begins, the drug will be hard to detect because it already exists in the body.