To the 'Supplement Defense' again for Philadelphia Philly reliever JC Romero. The left-hander says MLB will announce his steroid policy suspension due to taking a contaminated supplement. To Philly.com:
An anguished J.C. Romero wanted to tell his side of the story before Major League Baseball announces his 50-game suspension on Tuesday. Once that happens, he knows, people will assume he's just another big-leaguer who had to cheat to compete.
"One thing I'm going to say, I'm a man and I'm accountable for my actions," the Phillies reliever said in a telephone interview. "If I'm guilty of something, you know what? I will face it. But I'm not guilty, and I'm not letting people that don't really know me judge me over something and accuse me of something that I didn't do."
Romero's situation is much more complicated than MLB's curt boilerplate announcement will acknowledge. He was not accused or found guilty of knowingly using a banned, performance-enhancing substance. Baseball and Romero agree that he used only an over-the-counter supplement he bought in a retail store in Cherry Hill. Romero is being suspended for 50 games and losing about $1.25 million in salary because, an abritrator ruled, he was "negligent" in not knowing what was in the supplement.
Romero bucked a trend (he says) of keeping quet about suspensions:
Most players, when suspended, release a statement acknowledging their mistake and apologizing to their teammates, their organization, baseball and the fans. In the current highly charged environment, where MLB has been embarrassed by Congress for its years-long failure to police itself, many players fear repercussions if they speak out.
Not Romero, the 33-year-old lefthanded reliever who won two World Series games for the Phillies - including the decision in the title-clinching Game 5. He feels he owes it to himself, his family and his teammates to explain how this suspension came about.
"If people are intimidated because Major League [Baseball] is a big organization, so be it," Romero said. "But they are not going to make an example of me thinking that I'm just a [dumb] Puerto Rican. It's not going to happen. It's not the way I'm built.
"For me to keep my mouth shut? That's not the right thing to do. If they want to bump me out of the game, so be it. What am I going to do, just sit back and take it? When I know in my heart I'm innocent? That doesn't fly well with me and it doesn't fly well in my house, either."
Romero claims he cleared the supplement -- 6-OXO Extreme -- with his trainer. The story -- found after the jump -- says the supplement is FDA regulated, which we don't think is true. 4-Etioallocholen-3,6, 17-Trione is the aromatase inhibitor in the supplement. That means it inhibits the conversion of androgenic steroids to estrogen (thus preventing Nitro's problem).
Rather than regulated, the ingredient made the FDA's warning list as an adulterated compound. So why was a professional athlete using the supplement? And why didn't his trainer know the supplement was poison? And why doesn't someone pull the stuff from the shelf? (to Wiki)
Baylor University conducted an eight-week study to determine the effects of 300 mg or 600 mg of 6-OXO in resistance-trained males. Compared to baseline, free testosterone increased by 90% for 300 mg group and 84% for 600 mg group, respectively. Also dihydrotestosterone and the ratio of free testosterone to estradiol increased significantly. .
In a warning letter dated July 7, 2006, the FDA argues that marketing of 4-AT (aka, 6-OXO) violates the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and as such products containing it are adulterated by legal definition.
On June 18, 2008, Health Canada issued a warning that 4-AT and 6-OXO had a health risk related to blood clotting and recommended all users immediately cease use.
Romero said he went to the store to look for a supplement in July, the time of year he typically starts weight training again. He went to the shelf where his usual supplement was stocked and noticed a new product, 6-OXO Extreme, next to it. Because the familiar supplement required him to take eight large pills a day, he was intrigued by the other product.
The Major League Baseball Players Association has told players that supplements purchased in U.S. retails stores should be safe and within the guidelines of baseball's drug-testing program. The union acknowledged giving that advice in a letter it sent out to players and their advisers in November. That letter, which arrived too late to help Romero, informed players that three over-the-counter supplements were found to create positive tests under baseball's drug program.
In July, Romero showed the new supplement to Phillies strength coach Dong Lien, who recommended that Romero get a second opinion before using it. Romero then showed it to his personal nutritionist, "the guy I've been working with since I've been in major-league baseball," Romero said.
That nutritionist checked the product's label and saw nothing on MLB's banned list. Romero began taking the supplement at that point.
Meanwhile, according to the arbitrator's report, Lien sent a sample of the supplement to MLB for testing. The tests showed the supplement contained a substance that could result in a positive drug test. A copy of those results was sent to commissioner Bud Selig's office in July.
Considering it was the first time a banned substance was found in an FDA-regulated, over-the-counter supplement - one available to every major-leaguer and millions of youths - that should have sounded alarms. But no one from MLB, the players' association or the Phillies told Romero that there was a problem with the supplement.
So where was the negligence? With Romero? With Lien? With MLB? With a union that told Romero and other Latin players they could trust products in U.S. stores such as Vitamin Shoppe (where Romero purchased the supplement) or GNC?
On Aug. 26, Romero gave a urine sample for a routine random drug test. On Sept. 19, during a road trip to Miami, he submitted another sample for a random test. It was not until four days later - after being tested randomly a second time - that Romero was told the Aug. 26 sample tested positive for a banned substance. He said he immediately stopped using the supplement.
According to sources close to Romero, baseball then offered the pitcher a deal. He could accept a 25-game suspension, beginning immediately, or face a longer suspension in 2009 after going through an arbitration process. Romero declined the deal for three reasons.
First, he believed accepting the suspension meant acknowledging wrongdoing. Second, he was hearing from players' association attorneys that the circumstances made it seem likely that he would win at arbitration. Third, the suspension would have prevented Romero from playing in the postseason.
"It wasn't a tough decision to make at all," Romero said. "I knew I wasn't going to accept that. Me accepting a 25-game suspension meant I was guilty of something. I knew in my heart I wasn't guilty."