NFL Steroid Policy 'Not Perfect'

AP Image Ingested via Automated Feed AP

The National Football League's steroids policy is tough, "but it's not perfect," the head of a congressional committee said Wednesday, warning that he hopes soon to introduce a bill governing drug testing across the spectrum of U.S. sports.

Rep. Tom Davis opened the House Government Reform Committee's second hearing on steroids by saying the NFL had been more cooperative than Major League Baseball was when its drug program was examined publicly by the panel last month.

But Davis also stressed that steroid use by professional athletes is a serious problem for them and the kids who emulate them, reports CBS News Correspondent Bob Fuss.

Saying that all sports leagues must "acknowledge that their testing programs need improvement," the Virginia Republican added that he, ranking Democrat Henry Waxman of California, along with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., are working on legislation to create uniform policies for major sports.

Such an effort would face obstacles in Congress, which has been reluctant to legislate professional sports policy over the years. Many times over the years, for example, various sessions of Congress have threatened legislation removing baseball's exemption from antitrust laws. But that has not happened.

In prepared testimony submitted to the committee, NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue and NFL Players Association chief executive Gene Upshaw said the league is tripling from two to six the number of random offseason tests that players can face.

They also said the league and union recently agreed to add new substances to the list of banned performance enhancers; to put in writing previously agreed-to policies to test for designer steroids; and to lower the testosterone ratio threshold.

"There are numerous issues on which management and labor disagree. ... But there is complete agreement on this: Steroids and other performance-enhancing substances have no place in our game, or anywhere in sports," Upshaw said.

He and Tagliabue sat next to each other and each occasionally jotted notes while some lawmakers criticized the NFL's penalties as too lenient and raised questions about whether amphetamines should be banned.

"Some people might think that this is a fairly weak policy," said Rep. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
  • Joel Roberts

Comments

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.