As the nation gears up for Super Bowl Sunday, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has its own plans for engaging with the players in the National Football League.
According to The Hill
, Republican Chairman Darrell Issa and ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings have notified the NFL Players Association they intend to speak directly to the players about their views on the use of human growth hormone (HGH).
The move indicates the lawmakers’ determination to assert congressional oversight of the NFL's HGH testing strategy after talks between the league and the players' union on guidelines and safety mechanisms for testing apparently reached an impasse. The league and the union promised the committee 15 months ago to come up with a testing program not unlike that just initiated by Major League Baseball earlier this month.
Under Issa's direction, the oversight panel has been pressing the pro football union to test its players.
"We are disappointed with the NFLPA’s remarkable recalcitrance, which has prevented meaningful progress on the issue," Issa and Cummings wrote Monday in a joint letter to NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, the Hill reported.
“We intend to take a more active role to determine whether the position you have taken — that HGH is not a serious concern and that the test for HGH is unreliable — is consistent with the beliefs of rank and file NFL players.”
The letter continued with a warning to the union not to interfere with committee efforts.
"Although you have requested previously that we communicate directly with the NFLPA on these matters, we now ask that you and your staff not interfere with our efforts to communicate directly with the players or their personal counsel.”
Earlier this month, Major League Baseball set a precedent when it implemented a policy requiring players to be available for in-season testing after the plan was approved by the players’ union.
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