Their appeals were heard and they lost. Six players were suspended by the NFL today for four games for violation of the league’s policy on anabolic steroids and related substances.
The six players who have been suspended are: Saints running back Deuce McAllister, Saints defensive end Charles Grant, Saints defensive end Will Smith, Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams, Vikings defensive tackle Pat Williams, and Texans long snapper Bryan Pittman.
It should be clear, however, that none of these six players took steroids. The substance in question is called Bumetanide (a diuretic) and it’s found in a supplement called StarCaps, which is available by prescription only and doesn’t say “Bumetanide” on the label.
“The players specifically violated a longstanding provision of the policy relating to the use of diuretics and water pills, which serve as masking agents for steroids and are potentially dangerous to the health of players” the NFL said in a release.
In the release, the NFL talked about the allegations that Dr. John Lombardo knew that a supplement known as “StarCaps” secretly included Bumetanide.
“With respect to the question of whether a specific warning should have been given regarding Star Caps, the policy does not set forth an obligation to issue specific warnings about specific products and no testimony suggests that the NFL and NFLPA have ever contemplated imposing such a requirement on Dr. Lombardo, who oversees the development of education materials on steroids” the release says. “In keeping with that responsibility, the NFL, NFLPA, and Dr. Lombardo have emphasized the need for extreme caution in the use of any supplement, including weight reduction products, have established a Hotline for players to call for information regarding supplements, have established a Supplement Certification program with EAS to provide players with supplements that are free of banned substances, and have, in conjunction with reinforcing the strict liability rule, repeatedly warned players about the dangers of unregulated and inaccurately labeled dietary supplements. In the past, players have been suspended for using dietary supplements that contained a banned substance.”