Derrick Mason: Roger Goodell a 'joke'

Updated: April 12, 2011, 12:04 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Roger Goodell said earlier this week that the NFL will insist on testing for human growth hormone in the next labor deal. A prominent receiver said Tuesday the commissioner is a "joke" for the stance he's taking.

In his weekly appearance on "The Norris & Davis Show" on 105.7 FM in Baltimore, Ravens receiver Derrick Mason said Goodell needs to focus his attention on getting a deal done between the owners and players instead of talking about drug testing.

"He needs to stop crying about blood tests and HGH. He needs to try to get a deal done, that's what he needs to do," Mason said. "He's been on this crusade about HGH, but he needs to be on a crusade about getting these owners together and trying to work out a deal. To me, he's a joke, because every time I look, he's talking about performance enhancements instead of talking about trying to figure out a way to make sure football is played in August."

When asked if he would call Goodell a "joke" to his face, Mason replied: "Yeah. He's a grown man and I'm a grown man."

Not all NFL players agree with Mason's take, however. New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie posted comments on Twitter saying he is in favor of HGH testing.

"Jus was reading an article about HGH testing in the NFL. I'm for it I'm not against it. If u against that mean you hiding something," he wrote.

"i mean u shouldn't have 2 cheat 2 get an edge just go out an play ball. God created us all differently so us the talents he blessed us with."

Goodell made his comments about HGH testing on Monday when he joined Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, to speak to area students at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County.

Mason To me, he's a joke, because every time I look, he's talking about performance enhancements instead of talking about trying to figure out a way to make sure football is played in August.

-- Derrick Mason

"I made it clear to the kids in the room today that the integrity of the NFL is critical, and we need to make sure we're doing everything possible to have the best drug program in sports," Goodell said. "Making changes to our program is critical and we have done that over the years. We need to do more, including the inclusion of HGH testing."

Preventing athletes from using HGH is a key target in the anti-doping movement. The substance is hard to detect, and athletes are believed to choose HGH for a variety of benefits, whether they be real or only perceived -- including increasing speed and improving vision.

HGH use is prohibited by the NFL, but the league's old collective bargaining agreement did not have testing for it. Goodell thinks players "recognize the importance of" adding HGH tests.

Mason said Wednesday that, if there is HGH testing in the next collective bargaining agreement, he doesn't want to have to submit to a blood test.

"Blood tests, I don't know. They've been crying about a blood test for [a while]. I think that's too intrusive. There's other ways and other methods, I think, to go about testing for it," he said.

The NFL Players Association has opposed blood tests in the past but did say last summer it would be open to hearing a proposal from the league during CBA talks. Goodell said Monday that HGH was "part of a broader proposal on where we go with our drug program."

CBA negotiations broke off March 11, and the old deal expired. The NFLPA said it would no longer function as a union, and a group of players filed a class-action antitrust lawsuit in federal court in Minnesota. The owners then locked out the players. A hearing took place Wednesday on the players' request for a preliminary injunction to lift the lockout.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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