Senate bill would strengthen sports league drug programs

Senator Byron Dorgan

United States Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) today introduced the “Clean Sports Protection Act” that would remove the legal uncertainty created by any single court decision and permit the professional sports leagues, including the NFL, to consistently apply and enforce their collectively bargained drug testing programs. The bill is a federal legislative response to the “Star Caps” case in Minnesota and means that, if passed, drug testing programs would pre-empt state laws if these programs are more likely to detect performance enhancing drugs.

In a letter today to Senator Dorgan, NFL Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy Jeff Miller stated the league’s strong support for the bill:

“Congress has made clear, and we agree, that professional sports leagues’ drug testing policies must command the public’s respect.  A strong and consistently enforced testing program, featuring zero tolerance and strict liability for those testing positive, preserves public confidence in the integrity of professional sports, including competitive equality.  In addition, the NFL realizes that a strong testing regimen ensures that young people know that using steroids and other performance enhancing substances is dangerous and wrong.

“The Clean Sports Protection Act will help maintain a level playing field in the NFL, protect the health of our players, ensure public confidence in the game of football and set the right example for young athletes.”

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