NEW YORK -- The NFL might turn to the World Anti-Doping Agency to oversee testing of players for performance-enhancing drugs, *The New York Times* reported Sunday, one of many changes the league is mulling if forced by the courts to operate without a new collective bargaining agreement.
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals could require the league to end the lockout and implement rules for operating the 2011 season. The NFL currently has a temporary stay keeping the lockout in place after U.S. District Court Judge Susan Nelson granted an injunction sought by the players to lift the work stoppage.
The Times, citing an unidentified NFL official briefed on its planning, reported that the league is discussing having WADA involved in drug testing. That eventually could lead to players being blood tested for human growth hormone for the first time.
"Our goal has at all times been the same -- to operate under a negotiated set of procedures that are agreed to by the clubs and the NFLPA," league spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement. "The current litigation has created a significant amount of uncertainty, and we are therefore considering a wide range of alternatives depending on developments."
After talks broke down in March, the NFL Players Association dissolved and 10 players brought an antitrust lawsuit against the owners in March. The lockout began March 12 and has been in force for all but one day since.
Nelson granted the players' injunction April 26, and the league reopened for business April 29, then shut down again when the stay was granted later that day.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press