By now, after months, if not years, of posturing and with the lockout in full swing, we have all heard what it is both the NFL owners and the players want. Basically, they want more money and they don't want less money.
Suddenly, however, after all this time without mentioning anything about performance enhancing drugs, the owners and the NFL climbed up on their high horses and said yesterday they are going to insist that HGH testing be part of the next collective agreement. They claim they are doing this of course for the integrity of the game.
Give me a break.
Over all these months, we have consistently heard what it is the owners want—an 18 game schedule, a rookie wage scale, a larger piece of the overall pie, and more money to build new stadiums. Because, to listen to them and their mouthpiece Roger Goodell, without a better deal for them, these poor, struggling owners just won't be able to survive.
As a New England Patriots fan, I particularly love the owners' claim about needing more money (both from the players and from the public) to build new stadiums because when the Patriots were still playing in Foxboro Stadium, the state of Connecticut basically offered Robert Kraft whatever it was he wanted to move the team there and build a stadium in Hartford. Kraft, however, turned that deal down, stayed in Massachusetts, and built (under an old agreement with basically no public money) what has become one of the nicest stadiums in the league.
That seemed to workout ok for Kraft, the Patriots, and the league. But, owners and Goodell keep saying they need more money because without it, they can't survive.
Just one of their many lies.
Anyway, back to HGH testing. In the plethora of statements and comments and press releases and interviews by the owners and Goodell about their needs and demands, I am struggling to remember them ever saying that HGH testing was important to them.
Why is that?
Do they suddenly care? Did they mean to say it before? Or is this just another example, such as their pleas that it is the fans that want the 18 game schedule, of the owners and the league manipulating the situation to try to get what they want.
Call me a cynic, but I am going with the latter.
Knowing there is no chance of getting anything done until the courts have their say next month, all the two sides can do is play the public relations game. The NFL and the owners are doing this quite well.
In this continued effort, the owners and Goodell pulled out their trump card—drug testing.
The owners know two very important things: 1) the public will be on their side when it comes to HGH testing and 2) the players won't want it. Win, win.
That is all this is about. The owners don't really care about HGH testing, they likely could take it or leave it. But they want to get a deal done that helps them. And, whenever the dust settles, they want the public to look at the players as the villains in this game.
They are thus using HGH testing, and using the fans, to get what they really want.
Just for once, I'd like the owners and the NFL to be honest. Why do they really want 18 games—not because the fans want it, not because it will improve the game, but because the league and the owners are greedy and want more money.
Why does the NFL suddenly in mid-season care about concussions, when at the same time doing all they can to limit health benefits for retired players and for the players during the lockout—not because they care about player safety, but because the NFL is greedy and cares about sponsors, who don't want to be paying the league millions of dollars to see players with concussions lying on the field each week.
That is why they care about in-game head injuries, which people and sponsors can see, and don't care about the health of retired players, which the public and sponsors mostly don't see.
And why do the owners, now all of a sudden, want HGH testing? Not because they care about the integrity of the game, but because they want to keep the public on their side. This will help them get the deal they want, which ultimately will get them what they only care about—even more millions of dollars.
HGH testing, no HGH testing, that really isn't the issue. The issue is the continued pattern of deception and lies coming from the owners and the NFL in this dispute, with their sudden pleas of the need for HGH testing simply being the latest example.
If they truly wanted HGH testing, why have we not heard about it until now? Did the owners and the NFL not know about HGH until yesterday?
The bottom line is the owners are only now claiming there is a need for HGH testing to get one thing—the money they want.
I want an agreement done. I want football in 2011. And I would like to know that as realistically as possible, the players playing the game are doing so without relying on performance enhancing drugs. But it has come to the point, due to the repeated onslaught of distortions from the league, the NFL, and in particular Goodell, that I just want to see the owners come out on the short end of this situation.
I fully realize that "the short end" means they will continue to receive a large portion of the $9 billion the NFL rakes in each year. But, as a fan who has grown tired of Goodell and the owners, it's all I've got at this point.