HoopsHype Doping rumors

March 2, 2014 Updates

U.S. Anti-Doping Agency head Travis Tygart says it is not difficult for NBA players to beat the league's drug-testing program. Tygart told ESPN.com that the NBA's testing program, which is built on six urine tests a year, is "not at all" tough to beat. ESPN.com

"Unfortunately, I think the athletes are being let down by the system," Tygart said in an interview with ESPN.com at the Sloan Conference on sports analytics Saturday at MIT. "Really, I've said it before. If there's no chance of getting caught, and you're overly competitive, you're going to do anything possible to win. That includes using these dangerous drugs because they will give you a performance-enhancing benefit. "We're hopeful at some point the athletes are supported and given the opportunity to be held to the highest standards. They do it when they're subjected to the Olympic testing, a year out before the OIympic Games. They're under our jurisdiction subject to blood testing and out-of-competition, no-notice, no blackout periods for when they can't be tested. And they fully support it. We've never had a player say they didn't want to be part of the program because of the testing." ESPN.com

"I don't want to be naïve. We don't have HGH testing in our league. It's something we agreed we'd do with the union, and we're waiting to figure out what the appropriate procedures are. Understandably -- and I'm sympathetic to the players here -- because it requires the taking of blood, we want to make sure it's done in the absolute right way. The NFL and their player association are going through the same discussion." Tygart, however, dismisses the long-held NBA position that a lack of overt signs of PEDs means the lack of a problem. "Don't be naive to the pressures," Tygart said before hearing Silver's comments. "Take your head out of the sand." ESPN.com

March 1, 2014 Updates

While performance-enhancing drug scandals have rocked sports such as baseball and cycling in recent decades, the NBA has mostly steered clear of controversy. And according to commissioner Adam Silver, that’s not an accident. At MIT’s Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, the new boss of the league said he doesn’t believe there is widespread PED use by players. “I don’t have that sense,” Silver said on Saturday, during a panel discussion with author Malcolm Gladwell. “We may be just that we’re fortunate in the NBA that there is a cultural view that those types of drugs are not helpful for performance.” For The Win

The NBA does not currently test for human growth hormone, although the league and players’ union have said they want to reach an agreement on a testing process. “It’s something we’ve agreed we would do with our union, and we’re waiting to figure out what the appropriate procedures are, Silver said. “Understandably, and I’m sympathetic to the players here, where because it requires the taking of blood, we want to make sure that it’s done in the absolute right way. “To our players association’s credit, that was not a contentious negotiation—on drug testing six times a year, on agreeing to the appropriate procedures.” For The Win

November 25, 2013 Updates

Cuban isn't advocating the use of the controversial drug but rather calling attention to what he sees as a dearth of research on the topic as it relates to athletes who are recovering from injury. His hope, which he shared in front of the league's owners and league officials at an Oct. 23 Board of Governors meeting in New York, is that a more-informed decision can be made as to whether it should remain on the league's banned-substance list or perhaps be utilized as a way of expediting an athlete's return to the court. If it were ever allowed — and it's safe to say that won't be happening anytime soon — Cuban sees a major benefit for teams and their fans like. USA Today Sports

"The issue isn't whether I think it should be used," Cuban told USA TODAY Sports via e-mail. "The issue is that it has not been approved for such use. And one of the reasons it hasn't been approved is that there have not been studies done to prove the benefits of prescribing HGH for athletic rehabilitation or any injury rehabilitation that I'm aware of. The product has such a huge (public) stigma that no one wants to be associated with it." USA Today Sports

As Cuban sees it, though, none of the obstacles should preclude the powers-that-be in the sports world from pursuing more definitive answers about the pros and cons of HGH. "I believe that professional sports leagues should work together and fund studies to determine the efficacy of HGH for rehabbing an injury," Cuban told USA TODAY Sports. "Working together could lead us from the path of demonizing HGH and even testosterone towards a complete understanding. It could allow us to make a data based decision rather than the emotional decision we are currently making. And if it can help athletes recover more quickly, maybe we can extend careers and have healthier happier players and fans." USA Today Sports

November 7, 2013 Updates

Saying 'mainly NBA players' is stretching it in the Biogenesis case, but a former Biogenesis employee did say there were NBA players among the many claimed to be involved in the scandal. The NBA says they have not found evidence that any of the league's players were linked to Biogenesis, and they are leaving it at that. Which has rubbed some people the wrong way who are saying not enough was done to find out. The league is pushing for HGH testing, but we're a ways away from that becoming a reality in the league. In August, Portland guard Terrel Harris was suspended five games after being found in violation of the NBA's Anti-Doping Program. Players are randomly tested four times a year during the season and twice in the offseason. Denver Post

October 1, 2013 Updates

NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver refuted a claim in CBS Sports that the NBA and the National Basketball Player's Association have a long way to go before reliable testing for human growth hormone (HGH) can be achieved, but acknowledged there were still significant hurdles to overcome before anything can be put into practice. Silver says there's two primary factors holding back the testing. Former executive director of the NBPA Billy Hunter was placed on "indefinite leave" back in February following numerous accusations of illicit behavior, including nepotism, and NBPA attorney Ron Klempner has acted as interim executive director in his place until the NBPA can find a proper director. The NBPA also just recently hired Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul as their union president. The Brooklyn Game

The second issue is that the NFL has yet to come to an agreement on their testing methods, something that Silver sees as a benchmark for other sports. "Because they haven't reached their agreement on HGH, it would've been easier for us, especially with an interim executive director, to fall in line behind them. So I don't think we're that far apart." "I think there's a philosophical understanding, an agreement between the two parties, that it's necessary," Silver added. "(The players) want a level playing field as well. It's just we've got to come together and figure out the right way to ensure the sanctity of the testing." The Brooklyn Game

September 23, 2013 Updates
September 10, 2013 Updates
August 13, 2013 Updates

Much of that talk has centered around the use of human growth hormone (HGH), which is the latest PED sports leagues are trying to combat. That includes the NBA, which is in the process of figuring out the best way to implement HGH testing as part of its drug-testing program. “One of the changes that we know we’ll be making to our current drug testing is the addition of HGH testing, which requires taking blood from the players,” NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver told The Post last week. “We want to make sure, on behalf of our players, as well, that’s it’s done in the proper way, and that we understand what are the appropriate baselines for a natural substance, like HGH, so we can detect where there are aberrations. That is something we’re very focused on.” New York Post

Although the implementation of HGH testing is something that likely won’t be completed until the NBA Players Association has hired a new executive director — something it’s currently in the process of doing it — Silver said he has heard nothing but agreement from the players on the need to ensure fairness for all. “It’s why, even in the collective bargaining agreement, this was not a point of contention,” he said. “Both for the player representatives and the owners who participated, this is an issue where it is in everybody’s interest to have state-of-the-art drug testing, and to have a level playing field for all players, because we recognize it’s not fair for a player to believe that in order to compete, and in order to keep his job, he has to do something that one could potentially harm his body and number two could potentially get him in trouble.” New York Post

August 2, 2013 Updates

While there were recent indications the NBA could be dragged into the Biogenesis scandal, a league source says that the evidence it has gathered shows only one NBA player "might" be involved. NBA HQ apparently has been doing its own investigating and is cautiously optimistic that there was neither wholesale involvement nor a big-name player from its ranks. Sulia

July 28, 2013 Updates

Porter Fischer, a former associate of Biogenesis head Tony Bosch, told The Associated Press on Friday that he fears releasing more names and involving more leagues would further complicate his life. “This whole fiasco with MLB has made me very, very wary about doing this with another agency,” Fischer said. “The way this whole thing has gone down with MLB makes me really, really apprehensive about starting another forest fire with somebody else. I mean, if you were me, would you go pick a fight with somebody else? I’d have NBA fans calling me names, I’d have a whole bunch of high-paid athletes calling me this-that, I’d have other goons at my door.” Juneau Empire

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