When the league and players agreed a new labor deal in July 2011,
the NFL's decision to include a blood test for HGH was hailed as
major break-through in the fight against performance-enhancing drugs
in U.S. professional sports.
The NFL, however, still does not test for HGH with both sides unable
to come to an agreement, though Smith said they were close to a
"I honestly believe that what we have negotiated is the gold
standard in a drug policy because we have done things in this policy
that no policy has ever done," said Smith.
"It has championed transparency, it's championed following the
science, it's championed coming up with a specific standard as it
relates to football players and it also envisions a world where we
can constantly update or modify that and that is something, quite
frankly that you don't see in any other policy.
"You certainly don't see it with WADA's policy because I'm not sure
they can use the word transparent."
The NFLPA has long maintained it will not be bullied into HGH
testing and wanted assurances of the validity and fairness of any
The union initially said it was unconvinced the testing is fool
proof and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has accused them of
In the NFLPA's annual Super Bowl address ahead of Sunday's game
between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, Smith said that 98
percent of the details for HGH testing had been agreed upon with the
only stumbling block now centering around the use of a neutral
"The HGH policy is done, its been done the drug policy overall is 98
percent done," said Smith.
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"We both agreed to conduct a population study for HGH, we agreed the
results of that population study would set a decision limit with
scientific rigor about the level of normal HGH in our players'
"We've discussed and agreed upon what the fines or discipline would
be, the only two remaining issues are is in the area of neutral
"For the first time there is neutral arbitration in every aspect of
the proposed drug policy. That is clearly something the player
fought for and fought hard for."
Smith said the league is seeking two exceptions to the use of a
neutral arbitrators; when a player has been adjudicated criminally
or civilly as violating the drug policy or one where suspension is
not based on a positive test but upon evidence that the player has
engaged in a violation of the drug policy.
The NFLPA boss pointed to Major League Baseball's handling of the
Alex Rodriguez doping case, where a neutral arbitrator handled the
New York Yankee slugger's appeal of a doping suspension reducing it
to the entire 2014 season.
Rodriguez, MLB's active home run leader and highest-paid player, was
originally handed a 211 games ban by the league last season after he
was implicated in an investigation looking into the now shuttered
Florida anti-aging clinic Biogenesis that is alleged to have
distributed performance enhancing drugs.
"We believe that neutral arbitration strengthens and enhances our
system entirely and our players are not in favor of any of those
carve-outs," said Smith.
"We look forward to a world where all of our players can rejoice
that their collectively bargained drug process and program is in
(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)
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