League and players' union agree on revised drug policy

Wed Sep 17, 2014 1:45pm EDT
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(Reuters) - The National Football League and the union representing its players have agreed to a revised drug policy that includes HGH testing starting this season, the two sides said on Wednesday.

The formal agreement, which should see HGH (Human Growth Hormone) testing begin by the end of the month, comes nearly a week after the players' union agreed to terms for a new policy following a vote by player representatives.

A first violation of the performance enhancing drug policy, including HGH, will result in a suspension without pay of up to six games depending on the nature of the violation, the NFL and NFL Players Association said in a joint statement.

A positive test for diuretics or masking agents will result in a two-game ban while a positive test for a steroid, stimulant or HGH will result in a four-game ban. Evidence of an attempt to manipulate a test will result in a six-game ban.

A second violation of the steroid policy will result in a suspension without pay of 10 games while a third violation will result in banishment for a minimum of two years.

The NFL had struggled for years to reach an agreement with the union over HGH testing but it has finally done so, more

than a year after Major League Baseball started testing, and long after many international sports began doing so.

The International Olympic Committee first started testing athletes for HGH at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

The National Basketball Association and National Hockey League, North American's two other major sports leagues, do not test for HGH but both have said they are considering it.   Continued...

A worker walks on a stage in front of the NFL logo in New York's Times Square January 27, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Segar