In the realm of guys you’d expect to hear were busted for using steroids, objectively, you’d have to think a string bean like Rashard Lewis would be way down on the list. But here we are, apparently.
(The NBA knew something was really up when they saw the Gumby cut.)
The ORLANDO SENTINEL is reporting that Lewis tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug today. So was it Manny’s female fertility drug or Michael Jackson’s Propafol and horse tranquilizers or something hardcore?
Well, no. It was a banned substance, but one you don’t exactly need to go down to the Dominican Republic to get (sorry, A-Rod’s mysterious cousin). It’s even natural:
According to league sources, Lewis was taking nutritional supplements at the end of last season that unknowing to him contained a substance commonly known as DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) — a chemical compound made naturally in the body but also found in numerous over-the-counter supplements at nutritional stores. The substance is banned by most sports leagues, including the NBA.
This would be just about the only way that a 10-game suspension is appropriate and not outrageously low (seriously, they don’t even break a sweat in the NBA until Christmas).
But more importantly, given the high level of focus on PEDs in professional sports and the common usage of supplements, doesn’t there need to be some better regulation of this side of nutrition and sports? Yes, leagues try to stay on top of it, produce lists of what’s banned, etc. etc. We’re not saying the leagues, teams, and players are in any way ignoring the issue or anything.
But wouldn’t GNC benefit by having a “kosher” section? Something where they’ve said “hey, we’ve tested these products, they’re clean by these standards, these standards, and these standards.” Granted, some companies won’t want to be branded by a major distributor as “unclean” or anything, but if they cause people to fail drug tests (and, mind you, the Venn diagram of athletes and GNC customers is pretty close to concentric circles), then they’re unclean. Facts is facts, right?
If that all seems a little onerous and heavy-handed, yes, it is. But considering the billions upon billions of dollars generated by the athletic industry, you’d think something as crucial as PED avoidance would be more closely scrutinized than this.