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Sunday 07, Dec 2008

  Players union sues NFL to block doping suspensions

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NFL-steroidsThe NFL Players Association has filed a suit against the league Thursday following the suspension of five players who allegedly breached NFL’s policy on anabolic steroids and related substances.

All five players tested positive for bumetanide, a loop diuretic considered to be a masking of steroids and other performance boosters. NFLPA argues that the league knew of the tainted over-the-counter supplement and withheld the information from the players.

The lawsuit was meant to acquire a temporary injunction against the suspension, allowing the five players to be eligible to rejoin their respective teams towards the end of the regular season.

The five players were Kevin Williams and Pat Williams of the Minnesota Vikings, and Charles Grant, Deuce McAllister and Will Smith of the New Orleans Saints.

A sixth player, Houston’s long snapper Bryan Pittman, was also suspended but his case involved another type of diuretic. A seventh player, Atlanta’s Grady Jackson has not been handed a suspension; NFL’s counsel Jeff Pash had requested for additional information on Jackson’s case.

The Williamses had already obtained a temporary restraining order blocking their four-game suspensions from Hennepin County District Judge Gary Larson. The two tackles joined their team’s practice Thursday.

Thursday 04, Dec 2008

  Six players suspended for violation of NFL policy on anabolic steroids

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NFL steroidsWhether their ingestion of a banned compound is intentional or unintentional, six NFL players will miss four games for violating the league’s policy on anabolic steroids and related substances.

A section of the policy reads: “You and you alone are responsible for what goes into your body. Claiming that you used only legally available nutritional supplements will not help you in an appeal. … Even if they are bought over-the-counter from a known establishment, there is currently no way to be sure that they contain the ingredients listed on the packaging or have not been tainted with prohibited substances …If you take these products, you do so AT YOUR OWN RISK! For your own health and success in the league, we strongly encourage you to avoid the use of supplements altogether, or at the very least to be extremely careful about what you choose to take.”

The suspended players were running back Deuce McAllister and defensive linemen Charles Grant and Will Smith of New Orleans; defensive linemen Kevin and Pat Williams of Minnesota; and long snapper Bryan Pittman of Houston.

The Minnesota Vikings is expected to take most of the brunt of these suspensions since their run defense, ranked no. 2 in the league, would no longer be formidable for the next games with the absence of the Williamses.

The case of Atlanta’s Grady Jackson, another player implicated with the doping controversy, is still pending.  According to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, Jeff Pash, the league’s chief counsel, had asked for additional information in the Jackson’s case.

Jackson has filed a lawsuit against StarCaps, maker of the weight-loss product he took as a supplement. Jackson’s camp said StarCaps engaged in “false advertising and unfair business practices”, saying the company did not mention bumetanide as one of its product’s ingredients.

Excluding Pittman, all the suspended players tested positive for bumetanide and blamed the spiked StarCaps pills for their failed tests.

Wednesday 29, Oct 2008

  Deuce McAllister admits he’s one of several juiced NFL players

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deuce-mcallister-steroidsIn the continuing NFL doping (or should we say ‘masking’) saga, New Orleans Saints’ veteran Deuce McAllister finally talked about his case. The running back is one of the still undetermined number of NFL players who have reportedly tested positive for the diuretic bumetanide.

Right after Saints win over San Diego in London on Sunday, McAllister himself admitted that he is one of the players under investigation for violating NFL’s policy on anabolic steroids and related substances.

“We’ve been kind of going through this process for a while,” McAllister said. “I guess you guys just found out about it at this point. But whatever happens, that’s what’s going to happen. We’ve hired counsel. He’s going to do his job to kind of put the case together and however the NFL rules, that’s the way it will be.”

McAllister is probably referring to David Cornwell, a well-known sports and entertainment lawyer. Cornwell has been a former lawyer for the league and has handled similar cases in the past. He has confirmed last week that he is representing some of the players implicated in the current NFL controversy. Cornwell has declined to name his clients except for Bryan Pittman, the 31-year-old long snapper for the Houston Texans.

“Bryan did everything humanly possible to comply with the NFL steroid policy, including obtaining doctors’ written authorization to take weight loss medication. He did not use steroids,” Cornwell said Monday in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

“Thus far, the only violation of the NFL steroid policy is the breach of Bryan’s absolute right to confidentiality while his appeal proceeds. Whoever is leaking this story is attempting to put their thumb on the scale (of) justice to harm Bryan.”

Other players who have been identified in various media reports include McAllister’s teammate Will Smith as well as Viking’s Kevin Williams and Pat Williams.

Under the NFL’s steroid policy, a player testing positive for prohibited compounds can be suspended for four games.