Good things...

May 10, 2011

Sometimes good things come out of bad situations. Such is the case with the NFL player-management impasse. It appears that in the wake of this work stoppage, the NFL is now taking a serious look at involving the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in the carrying out of their anti-doping program. It seems the owners are trying to get the courts to rule in support of them opening the season under their own rules in the absence of a collective bargaining agreement with the players. Under their own rules, the league is posturing about involving WADA and, in particular, carrying out blood testing to detect the use of human growth hormone.

If this opens the door to the adoption by the NFL of the World Anti-Doping Code, then this would be a huge step forward for North American professional sports. If the NFL took this bold step, the other professional sports in North America, including MLB, NBA and the NHL, would surely follow suit. The world knows that the most effective way to fight doping in sport is to adopt the World Anti-Doping Code, yet players associations in North American pro sport have resisted this move on behalf of the players they purport to represent.

It seems a tad ironic that a work stoppage would provide the opportunity to allow the league to bring in a more effective anti-doping policy because the players association would not be able to oppose it. Anti- doping policies exist first and foremost to protect the health and safety of the athlete. They ensure a level playing field and they remove the pressure on the clean athlete to feel they have to dope to keep up with the cheaters. And the players association won’t support it? I hope that for the sake of the players, a good thing comes out of this bad situation. What do you think?