Today Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman; Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee Ranking Member G.K. Butterfield; and Rep. Bobby L. Rush sent a letter to Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton urging him to hold hearings on testing for human growth hormone for NFL players. Despite earlier assurances that testing would begin during the 2011 season, testing has not yet started as the NFL and the NFL Players' Association fail to come to agreement on testing practices and procedures.
October 25, 2011
The Honorable Fred Upton
Committee on Energy and Commerce
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairman Upton:
We are writing to request that the Committee hold hearings on the continued impasse between the NFL and the NFL Players' Association (NFLPA) that has resulted in the failure to begin testing for human growth hormone (HGH). Earlier this year, the league and the players' association announced that under their new collective bargaining agreement, they would begin testing for HGH during the 2011 season. But testing has not yet started, with the NFLPA continuing to raise questions about the scientific validity of the test.
This delay is a cause for concern. Earlier this month, nearly two dozen leading anti-doping scientists sent a letter to the NFL and NFLPA affirming the scientific validity of the HGH test. The test has been approved and used by the World Anti-Doping Agency, has been used for Olympic testing, and earlier this year was used in the United States to identify a professional athlete using the drug. There appear to be few questions about the validity of the HGH test.
One leading analyst, former NFL player and television commentator Boomer Esiason, has implied that the NFLPA has different reasons for the failure to agree on a testing protocol. According to Esiason, "the union is backing off because they have players guilty of using this substance . . . [a]nd there are many who believe it is at least 20 percent in the league."
We hope that this is not the case.
Committee hearings will allow us to learn about these issues, hearing from top scientists about the validity of HGH testing and from the NFL and the NFLPA about the extent of HGH use in the league and their plans for testing to eliminate such use.
We urge you to hold a hearing on this issue as soon as possible.
Henry A. Waxman
Committee on Energy & Commerce
Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, & Trade
Bobby L. Rush
Committee on Energy &Commerce