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Congress explores ability for NFL to test for HGH

NFL and NFLPA can't agree on HGH testing methods, so Congress looks to lend a hand.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

When the NFL and NFL Players Association ended 2011's lockout and reached a new collective bargaining agreement, one of the terms of that CBA was HGH testing.

The NFL and NFLPA agreed that testing for HGH would be allowed, but that the current test used in other sports such as MLB and the Olympics wasn't suitable.

Now, Congress is getting involved, the Seattle Times reports. Congress will hold a hearing to explore the science of HGH testing in hopes of helping the two sides, and all sports, find an acceptable and accurate testing method.

Rep. Elijah Cummings on the hearing:

"The players are claiming that the testing is questionable. What's bothering me about all of this is that the players made an agreement in 2011 ... that they would begin the human growth hormone testing, and it seems to me that they have thrown roadblocks and found excuses not to do it. And that concerns me. An agreement is an agreement," said Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the ranking committee Democrat, who noted that he expects there will be additional hearings.

"We also want to make sure that the players are treated fairly," Cummings said in a telephone interview. "We want to hear the science, so we can make some valid judgments as to the players' allegations that this may not be valid."

The players' union had this reaction to the hearing, and criticism that they were trying to prevent the testing they had agreed to:

"The players agreed to HGH testing in the CBA because they believe in a clean game. They did not, however, agree to an artificial timeline to impose a testing protocol that has no transparency in the underlying science nor a fair due process that is outlined," union spokesman George Atallah said.

And finally, NFL senior VP Adolpho Birch on the hearing:

"I am hopeful because, among other things, the hearing presumably will put to rest the questions of whether the test is safe, practical, reliable and appropriate for NFL players," Birch said. "If that occurs, it may present an opportunity for the parties to resume serious discussions on how to implement it, rather than being sort of lost in the trenches discussing the questions about its reliability."

As Rep. Cummings noted, there will likely be additional hearings on HGH testing, but this is a huge step forward in hopes of finding a testing method that not just the NFL, but all sports can agree on.