The NFL and NFL Players Association are searching for a new candidate to run a population study prior to players being blood-tested for human growth hormone, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith told The Washington Post on Thursday.
The hunt for a fresh candidate is underway after the initial candidate withdrew from the study.
"We just recently found out ... the league's choice to run the population study that we had consented to recently withdrew and said that he wasn't the right person to get this done," Smith told The Post. "I'm thrilled that the league has made a decision to move forward with the population study. I'm a little frustrated that their selection has now pulled out so that we have to again re-up and try to get this done."
The population study will be conducted to help establish consensus between the league and union as to what triggers a positive HGH test for NFL players. The union argues the study is needed because existing standards "might not apply to NFL players," per the newspaper.
The league declined comment to The Post. A person familiar with the NFL's view on matter told the newspaper the league believes the NFLPA's "actions caused the scientist who had agreed to do the population study to withdraw." According to the anonymous source, the initial candidate concluded the study was "scientifically unnecessary" and believed the NFLPA's motivations were "more about politics than science." The source told the newspaper multiple scientists have turned down the role for the same reason.
The NFL and NFLPA agreed players would be blood-tested for HGH as part of last year's new collective bargaining agreement. The NFL maintains that current HGH testing is reliable. The league initially balked at the study as an unnecessary step, but complied in order to help move the process along, according to The Post.