The facts on NFL steroid testing

For those interested in how the testing of NFL players for steroids takes place, following are the facts:

The policy, as agreed to in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, states that testing “will be directed by the Independent Administrator on Anabolic Steroids and Related Substances (‘Independent Administrator’).”

The details of the notification process are determined by the independent specimen collector group, approved by the Independent Administrator, and reviewed by the NFL and the NFL Players Association.

Together with many other procedures under the policy, the process is designed to ensure that players are tested with minimal notice on the same day, and that the specimens provided are valid, and have not been diluted, substituted, or adulterated.

“We have absolutely no doubt that the specimen collectors are carrying out their duties in a professional and effective manner,” said Adolpho Birch, NFL vice president of labor relations.

Other facts on NFL steroid testing:

  • Most players provide their specimens immediately upon notification. For those who cannot produce a specimen immediately, the collectors remain on site, are aware of the team’s meeting and practice schedule and can monitor the players’ movements.  Players who do not provide timely specimens are considered to have missed the test and are referred for disciplinary review.


  • Unlike other testing organizations, the NFL’s protocols require players to be completely free of clothing from their knees to the top of their heads, to present government-issued photo ID, and to provide the specimen via direct frontal observation to preclude the use of devices or other methods to evade testing. 


  • Laboratory procedures are specially geared to confirm that the sample is valid and to check for dilution, adulteration and the presence of masking agents.


  • More than 14,000 specimens are collected per year, far more than any other organization.


  • The NFL policy and protocols, including those for players who do not produce a specimen immediately, have been thoroughly reviewed by World Anti-Doping Agency headquarters personnel  in Montreal.”

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