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Monday 06, Apr 2009

  MLB SHOULD GET SERIOUS ON DEALING WITH STEROIDS

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MLB SHOULD GET SERIOUS ON DEALING WITH STEROIDSThere’s too much steroid talk going around that the fans are worn out and gagging every time the word “steroids” is being mentioned on TV, the newspapers, radio, the internet, everywhere. It has become so tiring and they are clamoring to have the old ball game back. The past months had educated them of the different kinds of steroids and seen their favorite players being dragged to court or having to admit their shameful deed in public. Enough is enough.

The MLB better do something the players who got involved with the controversy on performance enhancing drugs. By now the new policies that have been drafted should getting implemented. The penalty for steroid users now: First offense – 50 game suspension, Second offense – 100 game suspension and a lifetime ban on the third offense.

MLB should stop being lenient and learn to apply more authority on the teams. Some do get away with their misbehaving and the officers should get their attention by imposing more severe penalties. They can change the commissioner, test the players regularly, parade all dope users in public, but unless they do something to make them learn their lesson, controversies like the ones on steroids will never end.

Friday 15, Aug 2008

  Boxer Joey Gilbert to pay $10,000 as steroid fine

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Joey Gilbert SteroidsAn ESPN article in October 2007 called the Joey Gilbert case as a “strange one.” And if you’re going to look at the circumstances surrounding his case, you would probably agree with that observation.

Gilbert was suspended from boxing last year because of a positive test of the anabolic steroid stanozolol and a long list of banned compounds – amphetamine, methamphetamine, oxazepam, diazepam, temazepam, and nordiazepam. So, you could say that Gilbert has this chemical romance thing and, since he is a licensed lawyer, perhaps you could call him Atty. Strangelove.

Gilbert has agreed yesterday to pay a $10,000 fine as part of a settlement with the Nevada Athletic Commission (NSAC). His compliance will allow him to fight as soon as Sept. 22, according to reports.

Gilbert agreed to the fine and a one-year suspension retroactive to his last fight, which was against Charles Howe on Sept. 21, 2007 in Reno. In exchange, the panel dropped charges related to his positive tests of the other compounds except for the stanozolol metabolite found in his system.

Background of the case of Atty. Strangelove

Now, let’s explore the case of Gilbert.

It was on October 5 last year when the middleweight fighter was temporarily suspended by the NSAC due to his positive test for several banned compounds (mentioned above). The Nevada attorney General’s Office has filed a disciplinary complaint against Gilbert.

Now, this is not the first time Gilbert has figured in a, shall we say, bizarre testing behavior.  When he fought Juan Astorga on May 5, 2007, Gilbert volunteered to a urinalysis drug screening. Gilbert told the attending ring physician that he was taking the medications Ambien and Xanax, and Ultracet. This is the SOP for such a screening, in which an athlete should notify NSAC all the over-the-counter and prescription drugs taken pre-fight. When the results came, it was found out there were indeed the presence of medications found in his system; however, what surprised officials was the fact there were metabolites of other compounds that he failed to mention. These other drugs include an amphetamine. Gilbert was notified by NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer of these results and was asked to respond. A week later, Gilbert complied and explained his use of Adderal, an amphetamine.

In one interview at the height of this controversy, Gilbert said: “It’s my absolute quest to clear my name and to make sure those who have supported me understand that we’re going to do everything in our power to make sure that all the explanations are given, that we are eventually cleared and everybody is happy and we can move forward.”

The 31-year-old Gilbert gained popularity during his stint in the NBC reality TV show The Contender in its 2005 season. He started his amateur career at the University of Nevada, earning him winning three consecutive NCAA boxing championships and the Super Middleweight Nevada Golden Gloves championship. He has an amateur career record of 27-1. Gilbert, according to his website, is “a successful professional boxing champion, practicing attorney, sports commentator, product spokesperson and now fight promoter.”

Some castigatory remarks from the ESPN article for this jack-of-all trades

Perhaps Gilbert will produce medical records explaining why so much of this risky polypharmacy was allowed. But it’s hard to imagine an adequate explanation for the use of stanazolol metabolite. When it comes to steroid use, many athletes claim that they unknowingly took a banned substance or that its presence in their body must have come from the breakdown of another supplement that they believed was legal. But that old dog doesn’t hunt well anymore. Fighters should be held responsible for anything that they put into their body before a fight and accept the consequences if illegal drugs are detected.

One hopes that the NSAC will come to a correct decision in the Gilbert matter. If the allegations against him are proven to be true, then the commission, the state, and boxing fans have been misled. In such an event, there should be a lengthy suspension of Mr. Gilbert’s boxer and promoter licenses, he should be fined an amount equal to his entire purse from the Howe fight, and the decision in that bout should be changed to “no-contest.”

Some medical conditions are just incompatible with boxing. If Mr. Gilbert truly requires some of these medications to lead a normal healthy life, then the harsh reality might be that he should no longer box.

We just hope that Mr. Gilbert has learned his lesson on his love affair with polypharmacy.

Athletes’ affair with stanozolol

Stanozolol is one of the most commonly used anabolic-androgenic steroids by athletes because of its ergogenic effects. It is available in oral (Winstrol) and injectable (Winstrol Depot) versions. In humans, it is used in the treatment of certain forms of anemia as well as hereditary angioedema. In animals, it is sought after for its promotion of appetite, muscle growth, red blood cell production, among other desirable properties.

Another publicized case of stanozolol use in boxing is of former middleweight champion Fernando Vargas during the mandatory testing after his fight with Oscar De la Hoya in September 2002. He was knocked out by De la Hoya in that fight. Vargas was suspended for nine months and was fined because of his failed test.

Stanozolol is also the culprit in the case of former Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson, mixed martial arts fighter Tim Sylvia, and Major League star Roger Clemens who was allegedly had been injected by his former strength coach during the 1998 baseball season.

Thursday 07, Aug 2008

  Steroids in baseball – it’s a long history

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steroids-in-baseballHere’s just one of the news items that illustrates baseball’s alliance with steroids. From Miami Herald:

Major League Baseball suspended Cincinnati Reds minor league pitcher Renny Amador and Arizona Diamondbacks minor league shortstop Bernardino Jimenez for 50 games after each tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

Amador tested positive for metabolites of Stanozolol and Jimenez tested positive for Boldenone.

Both players are members of their organization’s Dominican summer league teams.
The suspensions are effective immediately.

Use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs in baseball grabbed national attention starting in the 1990s, when the record-breaking era of Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire took place.

During the 1998 season, Sosa hit 66 home runs while McGwire McGwire earned the single season record by hitting 70 home runs as Major League fans watched in open-mouthed disbelief.  It was alleged that these two players had been getting some help from performance boosters – androstenedione for McGwire and creatine for Sosa. Then Barry Bonds came, easily breaking the home run record established by McGwire. Bonds’ sensational performance had caused many to speculate on his possible use of steroids.

In 2003, the Balco Affair exploded implicating Bonds of use of steroid and PEDs along with other elite athletes in diverse sports. Subsequently, the Major League and its affiliates (including the Minor League) have adopted stricter anti-doping policy.

The organization has implemented harsher penalties for steroid users, commencing at its 2005 season.

A first positive test results in a suspension of 10 games. A second and third positive test result in a suspension of 30 and 60 games, respectively. A fourth offense results in a one-year suspension. A fifth offense results in a penalty at the commissioner’s discretion, which could mean saying ta-ta to the game permanently.

Prior to this implementation, a first-time offense would only call for the treatment of the player and the player would not even be named.

Friday 01, Aug 2008

  James Irvin tested positive for banned drugs

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james-irvin-steroidsJames Irvin is now under temporary suspension pending a disciplinary hearing with the Nevada State Athletic Association. His suspension stems from his reported positive test for the non-approved painkillers Methadone and Oxymorphone.

Irvin (14-5) grabbed the opportunity to fight Anderson Silva on UFC’s July 19 card despite a recent injury he sustained while he was training for his bout against Rashad Evans on UFC 85: Bedlam.  The match-up did not push through and Irvin lost to Silva in UFC Fight Night.

His hearing with the NSAC could result to cancellation of his license and/or pecuniary fine for his alleged violations.

Both Irvin and his manager Mike Roberts have yet to release any statements regarding this issue.

Wednesday 23, Jul 2008

  Pakistan cricketer suspended due to steroid use

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Cricketer steroidsThe steroid nandrolone (a.k.a. 19-nortestosterone) has the nasty, nasty reputation of being detected by the oh-so-watchful eye of anti-doping officials. The latest athlete who tested positive with this banned compound is Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Asif. Asif is now facing a two-year suspension. This is strike two for Asif – he tested positive for the same drug in 2006 (some men are obviously slow learners).

In order to keep the fame and its attendant fortune intact, athletes must remember these three things: 1) nadrolone is a banned compound, 2) nandrolone metabolites can be detected for several months after last injection, and 3) anti-doping agencies and sports organizations are developing new technology in outsmarting the not-so-smart athletes. The recent improvements in the purification, isolation and analysis of urine specimens make it highly probable to identify even the minutest level of steroids during testing. And athletes really should not ask who’s gonna win in this kind of peeing contest.

AFP files this report on the Asif incident:

Pakistan paceman Mohammad Asif tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone during the Indian Premier League (IPL), his lawyer said Friday.
The 25-year-old was named on Monday as the player who tested positive for a banned drug during the IPL held between April and June, and the Pakistan Cricket Board suspended him on Tuesday.

It is the second time in his career that Asif has tested positive for the substance, having been found with nandrolone in his system in October 2006 along with Shoaib Akhtar.
“The IPL have informed us that the B-sample of his urine could possibly be tested in the same laboratory in Switzerland on July 28,” Asif’s lawyer Shahid Karim told AFP.
“Asif is very keen to have his name cleared so he is anxious to go to Switzerland because he is confident to get out of this mess and play,” said Karim.

Asif had a taste of trouble earlier this year when he was seized at Dubai airport while returning from the IPL in India on June 1 on charges of possessing opium.
He was detained at the airport for 19 days before the Gulf police deported him after they found the quantity of the drug “insignificant.”

The fast-rising bowler was banned for one year after he first tested positive for nandrolone two years ago, while Akhtar got a two-year lay-off. Both bans were overturned on appeal.
The Pakistan Cricket Board dropped Asif from a 30-man provisional squad for September’s Champions Trophy squad announced on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Rameez Raza, former Pakistan captain and chief executive, is critical of the Pakistan Cricket Board, saying if the PCB had taken a sterner action against Asif two years ago then they will not be having this kind of problem today. Raza says the recent incident with Asif is casting a bad reputation to the sport.

Raza also throws some strong words against Asif, stating that Asif is solely responsible for ruining his own career.

The site newKerala.com files this side of the news:

Rameez said that it was unfortunate for Pakistan cricket being stormed by controversies one after the other.

He said that the cricketers by virtue of central contracts were employees of the Board against whom severe disciplinary actions should be taken instead of rescuing them.

If the Board gets strong, then it would never fall prey to the political maneuvrings, but Muhammad Asif, when tested positive in 2006, was let off on political considerations and now, first the Dubai case and then the IPL dope test came to the fore.