Reps. Issa, Cummings slam NFL stalemate on HGH testing

Leaders of a prominent House panel criticized professional football on Thursday after the league and the players' union hit another stalemate over testing for human growth hormone (HGH).

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) have tried to broker an agreement between the two sides that would allow the doping tests to move forward.

But on Thursday, the two lawmakers slammed the National Football League and the players' association for failing to make progress against the use of HGH as another season begins.

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"We hoped the NFL and its players would work out this issue between themselves," Issa and Cummings wrote in USA Today.

"They have not. We have seen occasional signs of progress, almost always followed by backtracking and finger-pointing."

As of last fall, the NFL and the players' union could not agree on what should constitute a positive HGH test and which medical experts should decide.

An agreement to begin the tests was first made in 2011 but has been stalled ever since as the two sides dispute the details.

According to NFL.com, the latest source of dispute is how much power the NFL commissioner should have over the appeals process.

Issa and Cummings expressed hopes that an agreement can be reached this week before the season gets too much underway. But other experts have said Thursday night's kickoff makes that outcome unlikely.

The lawmakers argued that HGH tests are essential to ensuring that NFL players are good role models for kids.

"Without HGH testing at the professional levels, our youth may come to believe that they must take harmful and illegal short cuts in order to fulfill their athletic dreams," Issa and Cummings wrote.
 
"It is the right thing to do, not only for the players, but for the young men and women whose heroes take the field each week."