World Anti-Doping Agency finds NBA anti-drug program lacking

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Montreal, QC, Canada (4E Sports) – The World Anti-Doping Agency has weighed and found the NBA’s anti-doping program wanting as the league continues to defy recommendations to test players for human growth hormones.

“They’ve got gaps in their program, between what they do and what we suggest would be better,” said WADA director general David Howman.

“They know what we would suggest,” added Howman. “And I would just hope that they would be discussing all of those things rather than just putting them on the side table.”

The NBA has declined comment on WADA’s statement.

WADA designs testing protocols employed by hundreds of leagues and national federations globally, including the Olympics and international cycling but not the NBA.

In the past, NBA officials emphasized that performance-enhancing drugs are unlikely to be effective in basketball.

“They do not feel they have such an issue as the other major leagues and therefore haven’t addressed it in quite the same way,” Howman said. “I just think you’ve got to be very careful when you start saying performance-enhancing drugs are not beneficial in any sport, because you’re going to be proven wrong. And you’ll be proven wrong when you’re not expecting it.”

Presently, HGH is banned in the NBA but the league is not following WADA’S recommendation to test players’ blood for it. The NBA and its Players’ Association have formed a committee to explore HGH testing, but no progress has been reported.

The test is being deployed by many sporting organizations, including the Olympics and, in limited ways, Major League Baseball. The NFL is interested in conducting the test but faces hurdles from the union.

As of now, Howman said no major North American leagues have adopted WADA’s full code of recommendations but reported progress in football and baseball, but not in basketball

“I had meetings last week with both the MLB and the NFL,” Howman told ESPN.com. “Although through their collectively bargained agreements, they have not embraced the World Anti-Doping Code, they’ve certainly come much closer.”

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