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Fame boosting illicit drugs

It looks like Ray Lewis, a two-time champion, is riding into retirement.

After a 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers, the Baltimore Ravens are now 2-0 in Super Bowl appearances.

While Ravens fans rejoice, I find myself in a whirlwind of thought.  On Oct. 14, 2012, Lewis suffered a torn triceps in a game against the Dallas Cowboys.  At age 37, many saw this as the end of his career.  However, Lewis returned weeks ahead of schedule and was able to play in every game of the playoffs, as well as Super Bowl XLVII.

Prior to the Super Bowl, rumors surfaced that a key reason behind his quick recovery was deer-antler spray.  This particular spray contains IGF-1, which is similar to human growth hormone and is banned in the NFL.

Joining the long list of athletes in denial, Lewis is adamant that he has never taken the banned substance.  For what it’s worth, he does have some credibility in his favor.  Throughout his 17-year career, the Ravens’ linebacker has never failed a drug test.

While this works in his favor, it must also be noted that his drug tests are always done by urine samples.  The banned substance in deer-antler spray can only be detected through blood tests.

My issue with the Lewis accusations is simple.  If players cannot be tested for HGH of IGF-1 (since the players’ union won’t agree to it), then why is Lewis’s career coming down to accusations?  Why is there negative light being put on him when there is no way of knowing who is or isn’t taking a banned substance?

The world is full of dishonesty.  It is becoming regular news nowadays for athletes to admit to taking some sort of performance booster for personal gain.  Maybe it is truly being done to aid in recovery.  Maybe it is simply being done to secure an interview slot with Oprah once their careers are said and done.  For all we know, every professional athlete could be taking one of these banned substances.  In the end, what needs to be done is stricter regulation of drug testing and monitoring of these activities.  No agreement to submit to blood testing for human growth hormone should alone put up a red flag.

Maybe Ray Lewis did take the substance.  At the end of the day, it puts him on a shelf with athletes like Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and most recently Lance Armstrong and Alex Rodriguez.  I hope the allegations are false.  But with the current policy of drug testing, we may never know.

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One comment

  1. Very well written article sir!

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