(CBS/AP) - You didn't think it would be that easy, did you? After weeks of hashing out a system for testing NFL players for human growth hormone, the players' union has moved to halt the tests.
''We informed the NFL (Tuesday) that absent a collective agreement on several critical issues, blood collection is not ready to be implemented on Monday,'' the NFL Players Association said in a statement released Wednesday. ''We have advised the players.''
Needless to say, the league is not happy.
''We are disappointed in the union's response,'' NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. ''It is contrary to the terms of the CBA and the agreements reached last Friday with the chairman and ranking member of the House Government Reform Committee."
The tests were schedule to begin next Monday. The NFL and the players agreed to begin blood testing for HGH as part of their new collective bargaining agreement reached in late July - but only if the union agreed to the methods. The union has delayed implementing the test, asking for more scientific data to prove it is reliable.
One of the key items the NFLPA is seeking is a population study of the test - the data from the athletes who were used to originally set thresholds as to what constitutes a positive test. The union, which wants to compare that data to a population study on football players, believes players could have naturally higher HGH levels above those of other athletes.
At the risk of sounding cynical, it's not terribly surprising that the union is pushing back on the testing. When was the last time a group of professional athletes willingly submitted to drug testing?
This latest move by the players' union throws a wrench into an initiative the NFL very much wants to get started. While the two sides continue to haggle, it becomes increasingly possible that drug testing won't take place this season at all.