News broke today on NFLLabor.com regarding a new blood test that can detect the presence of human growth hormone, or HGH, much better than the current test.
According to the site, the new test, called a bio-markers test, detects chemicals an athlete's body produces after using HGH. The current test, called the isoform test, searches for synthetic HGH.
While the isoform test works, its limited in its ability to detect HGH to only 48 hours. In contrast, the bio-markers test would be able to detect the chemical byproducts for up to two weeks after the athlete uses.
I reacted to the news in a variety of ways. The first thing that came to my mind is, it's about time.
I know that the inner workings of science are extremely complicated. I also know that we possess the ability to put humans on the moon. To me, it should not have taken this long.
Secondly, I thought about what this test would do to the NFL. If this test can deliver what it promises to, it will send shock waves throughout the NFL, as well as many other leagues.
If the NFLPA accepts this test, it may do to the NFL what the Mitchell Report did to Major League Baseball.
And lastly, and to me the most important, was the question: Do we care?
With the number of athletes getting caught or admitting to using performance enhancing drugs or PEDs, it has become an afterthought to most sports fans. Did it shock anyone when Shawne Merriman was busted? Brian Cushing? Not at all.
Sure, the aftermath of testing will interest, and perhaps anger, the most passionate of sports fans. I would venture to guess that most, even if angry, will not remain so.
The only exception may be the fan of the athlete who tests positive. Fans of the team will either deny or simply not care, as long as the player puts up numbers.
A reason for this may be because fantasy sports and free agency have changed the way fans enjoy sports.
Both have transformed many sports fans from hardcore sports fans to fans of certain athletes, whether it be because your favorite athlete is LeBron James and "wants to win a championship" or because a player is on your fantasy football team.
Perhaps it is because sports fans love to see records broken? When Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were rising Major League Baseball from the ashes after the strike in 1994, even Bud Selig didn't care.
There are those that say they definitely don't care if their favorite athletes are using PEDs. They say it makes the game more exciting and it is hard to argue that point.
We hear all the time about how today's athletes are is bigger, stronger, and faster than the athletes of previous generations.
Who remembers Warren Sapp's 40 time at the 1995 combine? The 300 pound defensive tackle ran a 4.84!
I'm not accusing Sapp of using, but one has to agree that it is insane to think that a 300-pound man can run faster than most NFL starting quarterbacks and this serves as a perfect example of the above point.
The reality is that we as sports fans have become so jaded that we suspect most, if not all professional athletes, use some form of performance enhancing drug. It is now shocking when an athlete, especially a superstar athlete, never has a positive test.
So, do we care? Do we care, as sports fans, that our players, and to some, our heroes, cheat? I can only answer for myself, of course. The answer is yes. I do care.
However, the question remains...
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