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“These are some certain, fundamental things we’re asking for that are not insane,” union spokesman George Atallah said. “The league says, ‘Let’s just get on with it.’ But maybe we take a closer look and we find out it’s not a good enough test for the Olympics, either.”

Players around the league have a multitude of questions, some even doubting the need for HGH testing.

“Where does it stop? What’s next?” Lions receiver Nate Burleson said. “Those are the questions I ask. I don’t think the NFL has been hit that hard with HGH problems, but maybe I just don’t know.”

WADA, meanwhile, is sticking with a long-held policy of not completely opening the books on its testing methods because, among other reasons, that could give dopers a blueprint on how to cheat the tests. People in anti-doping circles say plenty of literature has been published on the HGH test.

“It’s just flat wrong to say there’s no peer review papers on the … test,” said U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart, who referred to the website http://www.pubmed.org as a resource for dozens of papers on HGH.

The vast majority of independent experts say the test used by WADA, which is considered the gold standard for doping testing, is highly reliable and has been reviewed sufficiently to be considered dependable.

“The duration of a positive test is very short. You could easily avoid testing positive if you stop it early enough,” said Gerry Baumann, who has studied HGH for three decades and is considered one of the world’s foremost authorities. “But in terms of the reliability of the test, I haven’t come across a problem along those lines. The false positive rate is one in 10,000. That’s pretty rigorous standard in my opinion.”

A different HGH test that has been in development for more than a decade is also ready for use, according to a number of scientists. But WADA has not yet approved that test, which detects HGH in a different way and also has a longer detection period. It has not been seriously discussed in the NFL-union negotiations.

At a meeting with the NFL and anti-doping experts in August, the union was represented by attorney Maurice Suh, who also handled the defense for Floyd Landis, the cyclist stripped of his 2006 Tour de France win after an arbitration panel found he had doped.

Suh’s strategy during that hearing was to cloud the issue by questioning nearly every scientific theory used by the anti-doping side and assailing their professionalism and their techniques. He ended his defense with a presentation called “Garbage in, garbage out,” replete with a graphic showing garbage cans moving across the screen _ a ploy that drew some snickers in the hearing room but was not appreciated by the dozens of scientists who had spent much of their lives devoted to the work.

“If there’s an iota of a question, we shouldn’t move forward until that’s answered to our satisfaction,” Atallah said.

It’s more than just one question the players want answered.

Dolphins safety Yeremiah Bell said players aren’t so much against testing but how the test is going to be conducted.

“That’s probably the biggest concern among the guys _ how much you’re going to be tested,” Bell said. “I don’t think guys care about being tested for it. It’s just how often are you going to draw my blood, and how much do you need to draw?”

A normal test calls for 10 milliliters of blood _ less than a tablespoon, and not enough to have any impact on a person’s strength or health. Under the NFL’s plan, players would be subject to random testing for HGH, in addition to annual checks _ as is the case for all banned substances in the league’s anti-doping program.

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