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Rep. Elijah Cummings: Congress might 'intervene' in HGH testing

As promised last April, U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said Thursday that the NFL and NFL Players Association should prepare for hearings on Capitol Hill to explain why they haven't implemented human growth hormone testing, The Associated Press reported.


In a statement emailed by his office to The Associated Press, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland said the union "continues to disregard its promise to implement HGH testing."


He added: "Continuing to block HGH testing in this way essentially will force Congress to intervene, which nobody wants."


The oversight committee held a hearing in December to take a look at the science behind blood tests for human growth hormone. HGH is a banned performance-enhancing drug that is hard to detect and has been linked to health problems such as diabetes, cardiac dysfunction and arthritis.


The negotiations over implementation went public Thursday when NFLPA president Dominique Foxworth told USA Today that the holdup was the union wanted Commissioner Roger Goodell out of the appeals process for violations other than a positive test.

Adolpho Birch, the NFL's senior vice president for labor and law policy, fired back in a statement that the NFLPA needs to stop stalling after what he termed were fair negotiations. Birch told NFL.com on Thursday afternoon that the league would not take Goodell out of the appeals process, a position that was built into the collective bargaining agreement, although NFLPA executive George Atallah said neutral arbitration is a must for the union.


In his statement, Cummings pointed to "extraordinary concessions from the NFL, numerous meetings with Members of Congress, and a parade of experts verifying the validity of HGH testing" and said: "After two years of negotiations, the NFLPA is now holding HGH testing hostage because of matters wholly unrelated to testing."


-- Bill Bradley, contributing editor

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