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HGH use in the NFL, still apparently subject for debate

May 1, 2013, 2:30 PM EDT

Image (1) hgh.jpg for post 4145

Here’s a thought experiment: take every fact asserted and every quote offered in this article about HGH use and testing in the NFL and replace the proper nouns with baseball players and baseball teams. And then ask yourself how thick the walls would have to be on your backyard shelter to withstand the nuclear fallout from all of the outrage that would come from the sporting press:

As soon as the three letters are mentioned – H-G-H – the player laughs. Human growth hormone? In the NFL? Come on. HGH use is rampant, this NFC starter says. “It’s like clockwork nowadays,” he said, estimating 10-15 players on each team use the banned substance. “Not tested and it’s easy to get. Nowadays, dude? In 2013? (Expletive) yeah. I’m just being real.” …

… Twenty-one months after agreeing to a test, HGH remains a part of the NFL. That’s the cold, unsettling reality. “Until they start testing for it, it’s not illegal, right?” [Darren] Woodson said. “It’s just a dirty game. I’ve always felt it was that way.”

Thing is, a lot of people in that article make good points about the use and efficacy of HGH. But you’re not allowed to talk about that in baseball. Orthodoxy mandates that HGH is evil, squeezed from The Devil’s glands and used only by those of blackest heart. And they turn you from a crappy player to a Hall of Famer overnight. Except the Hall of Fame part, because we won’t have you there if you dare use HGH.

Why does football get to actually talk about this stuff? Why aren’t any sportswriters giving up on football and damning that whole lot to Hell?

  1. cur68 - May 1, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Here we go. Like we didn’t have enough Faux Outrage with that Bad Man, Psy. How is it that the NFL can look up the benefits vs problems with HGH and NO ONE can do that in MLB? Its just stupid.

  2. DelawarePhilliesFan - May 1, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    The NFL will have HELL to pay in years to come on many fronts, and this is one. Someday the damn will break, just like it eventually did in baseball.

    Yes, peopel like Mike Silver need to get thier mouth off the NFL’s d*ck, and cover the what really goes on. In 1970, one player in the whole frickin league weighed 300 lbs. Today, the average for a O Lineman is 311. It’s not from steak and potatoes.

    • cur68 - May 1, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      Their size is probably not from HGH, either. There is ONE study, published in the 1990 New England Journal of Medicine, that indicated some significant muscle/weight gain from HGH. That one has since been discredited. In fact, its been so thoroughly trashed that The NEJM went so far as to publish against it in 2003 since the various snake oil salesmen who traffic with the gullible touted HGH as a muscle builder based on that 1990 study.

      If anything, linemen are bigger because people in general are just bigger. The CDC has published extensively on this topic. They point out that the average American is about 1 inch taller but 25 pounds heavier, than in 1960:
      (google this if you don’t believe me: Mean Body Weight, Height, and Body Mass Index (BMI) 1960-2002: United States).

      There’s the bulk (pun intended) of your difference in O Linemen weight, right there.

      • chip56 - May 1, 2013 at 3:16 PM

        So what you’re saying is that something called human GROWTH hormone doesn’t stimulate growth? Get your head out of your rear.

      • cur68 - May 1, 2013 at 3:27 PM

        Yep. That’s what I’m saying. I’ve only administered it and read up on its uses, effects, side effects and contra-indicatios so what the hell do I know? Clearly, you in your astute internet reading ability and succinct grasp of the word “growth” know more than I.

        And thanks for the oh so polite comment. Its a mark of how powerless and small a person is in reality that it takes a faceless internet to make them feel confident enough to insult a perfect stranger.

      • nategearhart - May 1, 2013 at 3:26 PM

        Marketers must love you, chip.

      • apmn - May 1, 2013 at 3:50 PM


        You seem knowledgeable and admit a professional connection to HGH (and other PED’s?). What is that connection? Not accusing you of anything, just honestly want to know if you are an unbiased source of info or if you are Anthony Bosch or one of A-rod’s cousins.

        Besides, it is impossible to ascertain whose head is in their rear on the Internet. :)

      • cur68 - May 1, 2013 at 3:59 PM

        Professionally I’m an NICU nurse and graduate student. I’ve had to use, and seen the use of, HGH in patients with pituitary disorders.

        Anyhow, it doesn’t take a genius or even a knowledgeable person to use a google browser to look this stuff up.

      • yahmule - May 1, 2013 at 4:01 PM

        Everybody in general is bigger now because they’ve been pumping steroids into the cattle for decades. This is why the average meathead who would place second in a bodybuilding contest at his local YMCA has a better physique than guys who were competing for Mr Universe in 1950.

      • apmn - May 1, 2013 at 4:20 PM

        Thanks, cur. I disagree with your last statement, though. It doesn’t take a genius to use google, but some smarts are required to filter through the results for useful and sensical information. There is a lot of crap on the web. Especially for anyone looking to affirm their own biases.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - May 1, 2013 at 4:36 PM

        I am not a scientist, and I do not play one on TV. I am not saying what HGH does, and I am not saying it should (or should not) be banned. But the fact is it is banned by the NFL, and logic dictates that if NFL players freely use HGH despite the fact that it is banned, I would imagine there is a laundry list of other things they are taking as well. That was my main thrust – and the day will come when someone dies from PED’s (actually, that already happened with Lyle Alzado), or someone is arrested, or something. And when the light shines in, the NFL will take a major black eye, just like baseball did

      • chacochicken - May 1, 2013 at 4:51 PM

        For what its worth, Alzado’s death was from a lymphoma in his brain. He assumed his PED use caused his illness but that isn’t really likely. The rest of the stuff, his uncontrollable rage and the like sure, but it probably didn’t kill him.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - May 1, 2013 at 7:41 PM

        @chaco – agreed that Lyle was probably incorrect, but my point was that in 1992, that went down as “Look at what Lyle was taking”. If that happened today, people would say “what is going on here?”

        Just the fact the he said it was the reason would cause a stir today, back then it didn’t

    • asimonetti88 - May 1, 2013 at 3:31 PM

      I’m not discrediting that PEDs could be part of the reason, but the NFL is also a different beast now. There is much more focus on weight training and nutrition than there was in the 70s- even in the lower levels of the sport such as high school and college.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - May 1, 2013 at 4:39 PM

        Totally agree with you about training and nutrition, and as we have seen in Baseball, plenty of PED users were still scrappy lil fella’s. But to say the size gain in the NFL is ALL training and nutrition….well, sorry, I don’t buy it. And it is my belief the NFL will look real bad when the are ultimately forced to come to terms with what there players have taken.

        That, and the $10 Billion class action lawsuit they will have to pay retired concussed players

      • asimonetti88 - May 1, 2013 at 5:03 PM

        I don’t disagree at all- like you are saying that training and nutrition isn’t the whole reason, I’m saying that PEDs aren’t the whole reason. It’s a combination of that, as well as humans in general just becoming larger.

  3. kingmj4891 - May 1, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    Because football is the #1 sport in America and hgh is not a big deal any how.

  4. easports82 - May 1, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    No one’s going to pay attention to NFL drug issues until someone is killed on the field. People get out of whack over MLB because they want it all to have historical significance, regardless of evolution of the sport, training, etc. NFL? People just want to see guys beat the crap out of each other and remember highlights that the players involved can’t remember due to concussions.

    • aiede - May 1, 2013 at 3:03 PM

      Nobody’s going to die on the field from HGH use, but I still remember getting the Lyle Alzado Sports Illustrated issue and being completely shocked…then not hearing anything else substantive about steroids for years.

      • easports82 - May 1, 2013 at 4:25 PM

        Wasn’t implying that HGH was going to kill somebody. However, the over-inflated players that are on HGH, hell, even those that build cleanly, will probably end up killing another player through legal game action, and that’s when people will wake up.

  5. hisgirlgotburrelled - May 1, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    For one thing, there are no coveted records and statistics being tainted (that we know of). If you asked me who these 10-15 guys are taking HGH on each team my guess would be lineman and linebackers. There’s a perception that taking HGH instantly increases batting average and HR’s, which instantly affects the outcomes of games. The advantages gained in football are not perceived to instantly change the outcomes of games.

    Maybe there’d be outrage if we found out Adrian Peterson was on it. There’s also the sense that we don’t care much because we want the best players to stay on the field, and, in such a violent sport, if that means taking HGH then do it. (this comment does not condone HGH use)

  6. nategearhart - May 1, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    Because baseball writers, by and large, hate baseball. At least, they hate today’s baseball. Today’s baseball is not as good as it was when they were kids, so they believe.
    Football writers, on the other hand, love and obsess over football. They love football players. They love the advances the game has made. They are advocates of football, promoters of football. They cherish fun more than nostalgia.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - May 1, 2013 at 4:48 PM

      I am laughing, but that was very well said! Baseball writers do hate (and yet love) baseball, and the ones who don’t just blabber on at MLB Network and are rightly dimissed.

      NFL writers are butt boys plain and simple. And yea, why look at PED’s when it is so much more fun to cover the Red Carpet affair that the draft is. Why talk about quality of life threatinign injuries that could easily be avoided, when those hits are so fun to talk about?

  7. chip56 - May 1, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    The funny thing is that players openly talk about using HGH in the NFL and then whine about their quality of life after they get out of the game.

    Perhaps if steroid use wasn’t so rampant then neither would be the rate of death among NFL players at relatively young ages. They’re bigger, faster and stronger so they hit each other harder and cause more catastrophic injuries.

  8. apmn - May 1, 2013 at 3:58 PM

    Baseball and the public both like to consider the sport wholesome. As American as apple pie on the Fourth of July, right? Chemically enhanced baseball players are like sugarless apple pie…it just feels wrong. Juiced-up football players, on the other hand, are like the hot dogs that everyone loves even though we know they are full of nasty crap because they don’t pretend to be something they aren’t.

    I’m hungry now.

  9. yahmule - May 1, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    Football has always had a Teflon coating when it comes to the media, but they’re also much more media savvy than the people running MLB. A perfect example is the way the different leagues reacted to a couple ESPN productions.

    ESPN put on a series called Playmakers about a fictionalized pro football team that was saturated with drugs, sex and other controversial topics. The Cougars team was depicted for several weeks and no references to the NFL were ever made. That didn’t matter to the league, who found the comparisons to the Cowboy championship teams of a few year prior far too hurtful. Not wanting to further harm the feelings of their multi-billion dollar business partner, ESPN squelched the series after one season.

    By contrast, MLB seemed to have no problem lending their officially licensed properties to ESPN for the execrable “Hustle”, wherein unsavory actor Tom Sizemore portrays unsavory baseball player Pete Rose in the most surreal baseball film of the last 20 years.

  10. nobody78 - May 1, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    The obvious conclusion to draw is that baseball fans have better morals than football fans.

    I’m honestly not sure whether I’m kidding.

  11. gunpowderjones - May 1, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    Steroids did not kill Lyle Alzado

  12. DelawarePhilliesFan - May 1, 2013 at 8:29 PM

    That is probably correct, but even the doctors who cast doubt said you could not rule it out either. But my point is if that happens again, it will be a lot different today then it was in 1992. Tell me that this SI cover today would not have HUGE reprecussions for the NFL.

    Back then it was met with “meh….that was just Lyle” I don’t think it would be that way today

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