NFL Lockout: Talk Of HGH Testing In New CBA Is Another Public Relations Win For Owners

Right now, there's a "calm before the next storm" of barbs sure to come after a Minnesota court holds a hearing for the anti-trust suit the (former) NFLPA has filed against the NFL, set for April 6.

While the NFL continues to (in my view, wrongly) paint themselves as the aggrieved party in this fight, the players haven't done much of anything.

The NFL may have quietly landed another solid body blow in the public relations fight this week when reports surfaced that the owners will want Human Growth Hormone testing as part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Previously, HGH was a banned substance in the NFL, but there were no tests in place to detect it. 

Having made their desire to implement testing public, the owners have added another bargaining chip to their stack. I'm sure the owners are sincere in saying they want testing in place in order to preserve the integrity of the game, but far more important to them is the fact that they might now be able to pull it off the table in order to get the players to budge on a different issue.

If the players resist the desire to insert HGH testing publicly, it casts doubt in the eyes of many fans that the players are, for the most part, clean. Of course, we know that's not entirely accurate, but I must once again bring up the whole "perception is reality" issue. Most people are going to make a snap judgement that because players don't want HGH testing, it means they want to have the option to use it. It's similar to the often inaccurate assumption that if you refuse a lie-detector test, you've got something to hide. It's a shallow generalization. 

April 6 will only bring yet another date to wait for, and then another. Meanwhile, as players on the whole do nothing, the NFL P.R. machine is cranked up and rolling. Public opinion started overwhelmingly in favor of the players, but they've done nothing to maintain it. The owners have gained a little bit of ground with their P.R. assault, but of course by now, most are angry with both sides and just want it to be over. Count me in with that group, even if I do tend to side more with the players on most issues. 

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