INDIANAPOLIS -- The best-dressed man at the NFL scouting combine Thursday wasn't a player, coach or scout.
And it certainly wasn't a sports writer.
It was Adolpho Birch, the NFL's impeccably dressed senior vice-president of law and labor policy, who made an appearance in the media workroom at Lucas Oil Stadium to rip the players union for the fact that the league still doesn't have HGH testing, even though both sides agreed to it 18 months ago as part of the collective bargaining agreement.
"There is absolutely no reason for this to have taken this long and not have had testing implemented," Birch said.
"It's just enough. We've been through this for two years now. I'm worried that our fans will see this continued effort not to get this done as some sign that the NFL and its players are no longer serious about eliminating the threat of performance-enhancing drugs."
The union has dragged its feet on HGH testing since the day its executive director, DeMaurice Smith, agreed to it in August 2011.
They have questioned the testing. Then they asked for an NFL-player-specific population study. Now, they don't like the appeals process.
Earlier this week, NFLPA president Domonique Foxworth said the union's lack of trust in commissioner Roger Goodell and other league officials was impeding an agreement on HGH testing.
"The relationship with the league has deteriorated the trust between the two sides, and the players don't feel comfortable moving forward, and I don't feel comfortable moving forward, without the proper protections in place," Foxworth said.
The "protections" Foxworth was referring to are a player-friendly appeals process.
"HGH testing that doesn't give our players the opportunity to appeal, that's just a non-starter," he said.
But Birch insisted that the union keeps changing the type of appeals process it wants.
"They've said that if we only had the MLB (Major League Baseball) appeals system, we would have testing by now," he said. "But the reality is that many of the things that are features of the MLB appeals system have been consistently rejected in proposals that we've made over the course of the last two years."
Said Birch: "I'm concerned for the vast majority of our players who are clean and want to compete in the right way. That they are being sacrificed (by union officials) for issues that don't involve the (HGH testing) policy and are more about trying to get do-overs on issues that are unrelated to the effectiveness of this particular steroid policy."
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