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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.

Saturday 22, Nov 2008

  Vikings Williamses meets NFL officials to appeal doping suspension

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NFL steroidsKevin Williams and Pat Williams of the Minnesota Vikings met with NFL officials on Monday to appeal their suspension stemming from their positive tests for the diuretic bumetanide.

The two are among the six to eight players who reportedly tested for bumetanide, a loop diuretic used as a masking agent for anabolic steroids.

The duo was suspended for four games without pay for violating the NFL’s policy on anabolic steroids and related substances.

Other players involved in the bumetanide controversy are New Orleans Saints’ running back Deuce McAllister and defensive ends Charles Grant and Will Smith. The Saints players are expected to meet with NFL officials Tuesday.

All the players implicated blamed a tainted supplement for the failed tests. Apparently, all of them took the StarCaps weight-loss system. The manufactures of the over-the-counter supplement has decided to cease shipments of their product as a result of the controversy.

StarCaps advertised their product as “all natural supplement” which has “been prepared in Peru, using an exclusive drying process to help preserve the enzyme, activity of papaya, grown in the Peruvian Amazon, and the dietary integrity of fresh garlic, grown in the rich and fertile mountains of Arequipa, Peru.”

The NFL policy states: “The use of so-called ‘blocking’ or ‘masking’ agents is prohibited by this policy. These include diuretics or water pills, which have been used in the past by some players to reach an assigned weight. Players are responsible for what is in their bodies.”

Monday 03, Nov 2008

  Williams Wall, other NFL players likely to receive punishment for violating NFL’s steroid policy

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nfl-steroidsThe NFL players who are currently under investigation for testing positive for bumetanide have a slim chance of winning their cases.

The league’s Policy on Anabolic Steroids and Related Substances is explicit about use of prohibited compounds. The following is an excerpt from this policy relating to the use of masking agents like bumetanide, a loop diuretic.

“The use of so-called ‘blocking’ or ‘masking’ agents is prohibited by this policy. These include diuretics or water pills, which have been used in the past by some players to reach an assigned weight. In addition, a positive test will not be excused because it results from the use of a dietary supplement, rather than from the intentional use of a prohibited substance. Players are responsible for what is in their bodies.”

And in case players are unsure of a certain dietary supplement or other product, they are advised to call the NFL Advisor on Anabolic Steroids and Related Substances and players don’t have the excuse of not having enough quarters to dial the payphone- it’s a toll-free hotline.

Minnesota Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards knew the futility of appealing his case. He said he “knew there was no chance” of him winning it. The 25-year-old was suspended December last year for an unidentified substance.

Speaking from experience, Edwards likes to impart to players to be cautious with supplements and other products they use.

“This is our job. We just have to make sure we protect ourselves. That’s about it. That’s all I’m saying,” he said. “I had the situation last year. You’ve just got to protect yourself.”

It’s unfortunate that Edwards failed to advise his fellow Vikes, Pat Williams and Kevin Williams, before the duo known as the ‘Williams Wall’ opted to use bumetanide.

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