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Stearns Asks NFL Commissioner and Executive Director of Players Association for Views on Testing for Human Growth Hormone (HGH)

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Stating that Congress generally has no role in the negotiations between the National Football League (NFL) and the NFL Players Association, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) and Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) requested the league's and the association's views on adopting a testing regimen for human growth hormone (HGH). In a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Executive Director of the NFL Players Association DeMaurice Smith, they wrote that Congress does have an interest in advancing "good public policy," and in "the drug testing programs of the professional sports leagues."

When he was Chairman of the Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection Subcommittee, Stearns held hearings on drug testing in the major professional sports. With the urging of Stearns, Major League Baseball adopted tougher penalties for steroid use.

In the letter, they state that recent "positive tests of athletes for human growth hormone in Europe and Canada suggests that the breakthroughs in testing are real. Now that the science surrounding the test has been established, we support the efforts to find common ground in adopting a thorough testing program for HGH in the NFL."

The letter continues, "As the science around both performance enhancing drugs, as well as the ability to detect such substances constantly changes, it is incumbent on the professional sports leagues -- and most specifically on the most popular league -- to constantly demonstrate your seriousness on this issue." The letter ends with a request for a description of "how you intend to support your desire to have the best drug testing program and what role your current negotiations can play toward facilitating that goal with regard to HGH."

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