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Lawmaker: NFL players 'trying to back out' on HGH

Lawmaker: NFL players 'trying to back out' on HGH

WASHINGTON (AP) Accusing the NFL players' union of ``trying to back out'' of an August 2011 agreement to start checking for human growth hormone, a congressman worried aloud Wednesday that the league will head into next season without a test for the banned drug.

``Hopefully as we move down the line, players will see how incredibly ridiculous it looks for them not to ... straighten this thing out,'' said Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's ranking Democrat. ``We're now getting ready to go into a third season, and it does not look very good.''

The panel held a hearing to examine the science behind the testing, and heard from experts that it is reliable.

``No test is perfect ... but there hasn't been a single false positive,'' U.S. Anti-Doping Agency Chief Science Officer Larry Bowers testified.

While the latest, 10-year labor contract paved the way for HGH testing in professional football once certain parameters were set, the NFL Players Association wants a new study before it will agree to the validity of a test used by Olympic sports and Major League Baseball. The sides haven't been able to agree on a scientist to help resolve that impasse.

HGH is a banned substance that is hard to detect and used by athletes for what are believed to be a variety of benefits, whether real or only perceived - such as increasing speed or improving vision. Among the health problems connected to HGH are diabetes, cardiac dysfunction and arthritis.

``They say they need more time ... before doing what they agreed to do. To me, it seems obvious the Players Association is simply running out the clock,'' Cummings said. ``Although they agreed to HGH testing, they are now trying to back out of the contract.''

Cummings and committee chairman Darrell Issa, a California Republican, both said additional hearings are expected.

``It is our hope (to) move these parties closer together,'' Issa said.

``This isn't the players'' who are objecting to the test, Issa said after the hearing. ``This is lawyers making a statement. Players want to know that the rules are the rules for everybody. ... We're not seeing a vast amount of players stand up. We're seeing a few lawyers stand up on an unfounded technicality.''

The NFL and union were not invited to testify at the hearing, but representatives of both attended Wednesday's session.

Asked about Cummings' comments, NFLPA spokesman George Atallah said after the hearing: ``I respect his opinion. We have a contract, and the contract says both sides have to agree to protocols to move forward.''

Atallah said the union was ``absolutely not'' trying to back out of the agreement on HGH.

NFL senior vice president Adolpho Birch, who oversees the league's drug program, called the union's insistence on a population study to determine whether current HGH tests are appropriate for NFL players a delay tactic.

``As a league, we need to look at it in terms of competitive integrity, in terms of being consistent with the NFL having a leadership position in the world of performance-enhancing drugs,'' Birch said. ``And frankly, I think this delay in implementing this program has put our leadership position at risk.''

Even once scientific issues are resolved, there will be other matters the league and union need to figure out, including who administers the test and what the appeals process will be.

``First, I applaud the NFL and players for taking a bold and decisive position on HGH in their 10-year agreement. Now let's get on with it,'' one witness, Pro Football Hall of Famer Dick Butkus, told the committee Wednesday. ``The HGH testing process is proven to be reliable. It's time to send a clear message that performance-enhancing drugs have no place in sports, especially the NFL.''

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How to watch Pistons at Wizards ‘Predict the Game’ broadcast

How to watch Pistons at Wizards ‘Predict the Game’ broadcast

The Washington Wizards return to Capital One Arena to host the Detroit Pistons on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at 2 p.m. 

The Wizards are hoping to not only bounce back after suffering from a tough 140-111 loss in Toronto Friday night but also to snap their losing streak at home. Monday’s game will be the Wizards last home, before hitting the road until they return home on January 30th. 

The Wizards currently lead the series 2-1, the Wizards won both matchups against the Pistons on Nov.4 and Dec. 16. However, most recently the Wizards fell short 132-102 on Dec 26th. Will the Wizards be able to win the season series on Monday?

Take your Wizards experience to the next level and get involved in the action with NBC Sports Washington's newest Predict the Game contest.

'PREDICT THE GAME' HOW TO WATCH

What is this broadcast? Predict the Game is an easy-to-enter, free contest that allows fans to predict various game and player performance outcomes through a series of approximately 12-15 questions per quarter that will appear on-screen during the alternate telecast on NBC Sports Washington Plus. Predict the Game leaderboards will be displayed at select times, and the winner of each contest will be revealed throughout the game and during NBC Sports Washington’s postgame coverage.

Where can I find it? Contest questions and leaderboards will be displayed on NBC Sports Washington Plus (Channel Finder).

Additionally, the broadcast can be streamed on desktopiOS and Android devices. 

The NBC Sports Washington Plus presentation will, for the first time, feature special hosts, who will appear at various times to address Predict the Game participants and provide contest updates, information and results. The enhanced experience will contain the majority of the same video and audio (including announcers) as the primary live-game coverage, which will be available simultaneously on NBC Sports Washington.

How do I win? Fans will earn points for both answering questions (1 point) and correct predictions (1 or 2 points, depending on the question), with the top eligible scorer at the end of each game earning or splitting the $500 prize.

Each quarter will be its own contest, with an entirely new leaderboard starting from scratch, so even if fans miss out on the start of the game there will still be plenty of time to play and win. 

Fans must enter Predict the Game, which is open to join throughout the entire game, and submit their predictions at www.nbcsportswashington.com/predict.

WIZARDS vs. PISTONS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. Detroit Pistons

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 2:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Wizards vs. Pistons will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Pistons on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. PISTONS TV SCHEDULE

1:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)

1:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)

2:00 PM: Wizards vs. Pistons (LIVE)

4:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)

5:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)

5:30 PM: Wizards Talk (LIVE)

WIZARDS 2019-20 'PREDICT THE GAME' SCHEDULE

January 6: vs Boston (7 p.m.)

January 20: vs Detroit (2 p.m.)

January 26: at Atlanta (6 p.m.)

February 3: vs Golden State (7 p.m.)

February 11: vs Chicago (7 p.m.)

February 21: vs Cleveland (7 p.m.)

February 26: vs Brooklyn (7 p.m.)

March 3: at Sacramento (10 p.m.)

March 10: vs New York (7 p.m.)

March 18: at Brooklyn (7:30 p.m.)

March 15: vs Phoenix (7 p.m.)

April 1: vs New Orleans (7 p.m.)

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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Former Raven Terrell Suggs and the Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl-bound

Former Raven Terrell Suggs and the Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl-bound

Terrell Suggs and the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Tennessee Titans 35-24 Sunday to advance to Super Bowl LIV in Miami. 

Suggs, who spent 16 seasons with the Ravens, will look to cement his Hall of Fame candidacy with a victory in his second Super Bowl appearance (Won SB XLVII) this time as a member of the AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs.

Suggs departed from Baltimore before the 2019 season, signing a one-year deal with his hometown Arizona Cardinals before being waived mid-season. 

The Ravens were rumored to be interested in a reunion with their all-time leader in sacks but did not put in a claim, being last in waiver priority, and Suggs was claimed by the Kansas City Chiefs.



While the Ravens' 2019 season ended prematurely at the hands of the Titans, fans in Baltimore can take solace knowing that Suggs and the Chiefs helped bring the Titans' magical season to an end.

Suggs' accolades (2011 AP Def. Player of the Year, 2003 AP Def. Rookie of the Year, 7x Pro-Bowl, 1x All-Pro) will stand the test of time, but adding a second Super Bowl ring to his resume would make his Hall of Fame candidacy that much greater. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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