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Marlon Byrd suspended 50 games for PED use; Victor Conte denies involvement

Marlon Byrd was suspended 50 games by MLB on Monday for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy. Byrd tested positive for Tamoxifen, which reportedly is used by steroid users to kick-start testosterone production after a cycle. The product, which is commonly used to treat breast cancer patients, reportedly reduces side effects of steroid use.

Byrd, who is a free agent after being released by the Red Sox earlier this month, claims he wasn’t taking the substance to gain an advantage.

“Several years ago, I had surgery for a condition that was private and unrelated to baseball. Last winter, I suffered a recurrence of that condition and I was provided with a medication that resulted in my positive test. Although that medication is on the banned list, I absolutely did not use it for performance enhancement reasons.”

Byrd’s positive test is notable for several reasons. The outfielder became an All-Star in 2010 with the Cubs and credited his work with Victor Conte for his success. Conte is the man who ran BALCO lab which infamously served PED users like Barry Bonds and Marion Jones.

Conte continues to work with athletes but says he does so cleanly. He denied involvement with Byrd’s positive test.

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Guillermo Mota blames positive drug test on children’s cough medicine

Giants relief pitcher Guillermo Mota is facing a 100-game suspension after failing a performance-enhancing drug test for the second time in his MLB career. Since he’s not that notable of a player, we wouldn’t pay much attention to this news other than to say he’s every bit the cheater we already knew he was. But hold on a second. This guy has given us reason to address his suspension; Mota’s blaming his positive test for clenbuterol — a banned stimulant — on children’s cough medicine.

“Players are responsible for what they put in their bodies. Guillermo understands that,” agent Adam Katz said. “A 100-game suspension for taking a children’s cough medicine that contains trace amounts of a prohibited substance, which is what happened here, is severe and unfair and does not reflect the intention of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. We will appeal it.”

Guess what folks? We now have a leader for worst excuse ever when it comes to failing a drug test. We’ve heard some bad ones over time. Remember the lame excuses from Brian Cushing and Rashard Lewis? Yeah, those have nothing on this one.

Guillermo Mota, a 38-year-old aging reliever, wasn’t trying to take a banned stimulant to enhance his game. Oh no, he was just busted for taking a swig of Dimetap. What’s a guy to do when he has a poor little cough?

Guess Mota’s agent read our three step guide to denying PED-usage.

Forearm bash to Hardball Talk

Study suggests green tea could mask PED usage

A recent study showing that green and white tea extract lowers testosterone concentrations has Olympics drug testers considering adjusting their tests.

The study, conducted in Britain, showed that testosterone concentration was reduced by up to 30 percent when researchers added green and white tea extracts. According to the research, the tea appeared to work best when testosterone was only slightly higher than normal.

The study was done in a lab dish and not with humans, so scientists are unsure if it will have the same effect on people, though similar results have been found with rodents. Their results are convincing enough to have Olympics drug testers considering changes to their tests.

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MLBPA director Michael Weiner says PED users should be in Hall of Fame

Should they, or shouldn’t they? That is the question regarding known steroid users and the MLB Hall of Fame. The general consensus seems to be that cheaters should not be allowed. To this point, there are no known performance-enhancing drug users in the Hall of Fame. Guys like Mark McGwire have the numbers to justify a place, but McGwire has never received more than 25 percent of the votes in the balloting since he became eligible in 2007. In 2012, he received just over 19 percent.

Considering his job is to represent the guys who are taking the swings, it should come as no surprise that MLB Players Association director Michael Weiner believes PED users should be allowed into the Hall.

“If you want to have some notation on their plaque that indicates that they were either judged to have used performance enhancing drugs, or having done that, so be it,” Weiner said when asked if McGwire and other admitted users deserved a spot.

Weiner also said that “there are people in the Hall of Fame and there will be people in the Hall of Fame who have been judged by several arbitrators to have engaged in a massive conspiracy called collusion to defraud the fans of competition” who deserve to be there as well. He was referring to some executives who have a place in the Hall.

George Brett, meet your worst enemy. As we told you a few weeks ago, Brett believes current Hall of Famers would boycott Cooperstown if an admitted steroid user was voted in. Since there is an entire era of baseball that was ridden with PEDs, the asterisk argument has some merit. However, most people believe the Hall of Fame is a place where legends are preserved. Plaques that are accompanied by a disclaimer would look a little out of place.

H/T Eye on Baseball
Photo credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Alistair Overeem fails drug test, UFC 146 fight in jeopardy

Alistair Overeem’s scheduled fight with Junior dos Santos at UFC 146 in Las Vegas is in jeopardy after the MMA star failed a drug test due to elevated levels of testosterone. The Nevada State Athletic Commission says Overeem’s T/E ratio was greater than 10:1, which is higher than their 6:1 limit. Overeem will have to appear in front of the commission.

Overeem had similar issues prior to his UFC 141 fight with Brock Lesnar. He initially did not provide a sample before the fight, then he did, and it was the wrong sample. The NSAC granted him a conditional license and he faced drug testing after the fight, which he passed. This time he wasn’t as lucky and he failed a random test.

There is some irony in this situation. Junior dos Santos implied in an interview last year that both Overeem and Lesnar used steroids. Now, leading up to a fight against dos Santos, he’s been popped for likely PED usage.

This news should not surprise anyone. Suspicions of Overeem’s PED usage should have been high after the whole fiasco prior to the Lesnar fight. Plus, just one look at these pictures tells you all you need to know.

Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

George Brett says Hall of Famers would boycott Hall of Fame if steroid user gets in

To date, there are no Hall of Famers among the ever-increasing list of known steroid users who currently play or once played in the MLB. Some of the game’s biggest names like Alex Rodriguez and Mark McGwire have admitted they used performance-enhancing drugs, while others like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens continue to fight to prove their innocence. As we know, voters have not come close to letting McGwire in the Hall of Fame because of it. What will happen with the others when their time comes remains to be seen, but Hall of Famer George Brett says voters would be wise to steer clear of anyone whose name is tied to PEDs.

“I wasn’t a home-run hitter,” Brett said according to the Arizona Republic, “but I know from talking to guys in the 500-home run club, guys like Schmitty (Mike Schmidt) and some other guys like that, if those guys make it in then they’ll never go back. Meaning those guys will never go back and attend (the Hall of Fame inductions) if the cheaters get elected.”

If you ask Jose Canseco, there’s just one minor problem with Brett’s theory: A steroid user is already in the Hall of Fame. Canseco, who has a solid reputation for telling the truth when it comes to PED usage, said more than two years ago that Major League Baseball is going to have a big problem on its hands when they find out that a current Hall of Famer used steroids. At the time we speculated that it could be Rickey Henderson or a few other former teammates of Canseco’s, and anyone would be extremely naive to think that it’s not possible or likely.

Brett also said that A-Rod should not get into the Hall of Fame just because he came clean and that he should have gone about it like Jason Giambi and Andy Pettite did. As Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk mentioned, how was Rodriguez’s confession any different? Either you’re willing to make amends for guys who admitted it or you’re not.

If you believe both Brett and Canseco, the Hall of Fame could be facing a major dilemma at some point in the near future.

Rampage Jackson reportedly says UFC doctor recommended he get testosterone therapy for fight

Rampage Jackson says he was injured leading up to his UFC 144 fight against Ryan Bader and that he nearly pulled out because of all his medical problems. However, he says he saw a UFC doctor who recommended he get testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) to heal so he could keep the fight date. Rampage says he followed the instructions, took the TRT, and that it made him feel great.

“I never had surgery in my life. But I hurt this knee back in college, I hurt it before I fought Rashad and so I knew it was the same injury… a lot of fights when I am injured I don’t tell anybody but the UFC knew this time because my doctor works for the UFC,” Rampage told Fighter’s Only magazine. “It’s good that the UFC knew because they look after you, they take care of you even if its just in training. Pride didn’t do that.

“I almost pulled out but then I went to see the doctor and he told me to talk to an age-management doctor. So I went and talked to them and they tested me and said my testosterone was low; they prescribed me testosterone, to bring my testosterone levels back up to levels where I can be like … so that I am the same as young people, like when I was 25, and it would help build my knee up,” he said. “I hurt my knee like a month ago and I only did three shots of testosterone but it put a lot of weight on me, a lot of muscle on me but it healed me knee up good enough to where I could fight.

“It was hard for me to train, it takes time to heal, I couldn’t do certain things, but this was my first time ever using testosterone. I took what the doctor prescribed to me and I went to the pharmacy… I gave myself small doses and that **** immediately changed me, that’s why I am saying now I am not going to retire. I am not gonna retire no time soon, it’s just unfortunate that I got this injury.”

Based on those comments, you can clearly see how beneficial TRT can be to fighters. Now there’s another serious concern beyond a UFC doctor recommending a fighter get testosterone replacement therapy — Rampage says the UFC told him several fighters are probably using TRT but just keep it quiet.

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