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League wants to avoid similar scandal

10/19/2003

In the wake of the budding track and field steroid scandal, the NFL announced Friday that it will begin testing for tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), the New York Times reported in Saturday's editions.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the paper that the league expects to add the substance to its banned list by the end of the season, if not sooner. The league has the power to test for THG under the collective bargaining agreement, according to Aiello.

The first rumblings of a THG presence in the NFL may have come this past August. According to the report, two NFL team officials said recently several players from different teams were approached during training camp by people peddling an undetectable performance-enhancing drug that, they said, worked like a steroid without the negative side effects. Those officials then described a drug practically identical to what anti-doping officials are now calling THG, according to the Times.

Other professional leagues may soon join the NFL in testing for the drug. A spokesman for the National Basketball Association told the Times that the league, which randomly tests for steroids, might add THG to its list of banned substances in the near future but has not yet discussed it with the players' union.

Major League Baseball said it might add THG to its testing plan if the league begins mandatory steroid testing. MLB is still awaiting the results of this year's random test run. The National Hockey League did not return calls, according to the report.

THG has become big news in recent weeks in the wake of a burgeoning scandal that now includes over 40 track and field athletes facing subpoenas. Dr. Don Catlin, who runs the Olympic drug-testing lab at UCLA, created the test that caught several track stars and created the furor. The NFL also uses Catlin's lab to test its players, according to the Times.