The Philadelphia Eagles have tested all of their players and some members of their front office for the AIDS virus, according to one member of the NFL team’s medical staff. However, the doctor apparently performed the tests without knowledge of team owner Norman Braman.
Vincent J. Distefano, the Eagles’ team physician, said the tests were given at the beginning of training camp and were part of what he called “routine physicals.”
Distefano said there was no specific reason for the tests, and stressed that none of the players or front office personnel has tested positive.
Distefano said all players and personnel tested signed consent forms. He would not say which members of the front office were tested.
Braman said he did not know that an AIDS test was given to the players or front office staff. But the Eagles’ owner did say that he “generally approved” of the test.
“This is the first I’ve heard of an AIDS test being given to the team,” Braman said. “But why would I disapprove? I think it’s important. But I am going to check on this matter.”
In 1987, the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Oilers offered AIDS tests to their players and front office personnel on a voluntary basis.
Spokesmen for major league baseball, the NBA, and the NHL said their respective leagues do not test for the virus. Testing among U.S. businesses is not standard, either.
Neither Eagle Coach Rich Kotite nor any Eagles player could be reached for comment Wednesday night.