Thursday, November 02, 2006

Merriman: "I am no cheater"


Shawne Merriman has withdrawn his suspension appeal and will sit out. But he continues to insist that he isn’t a cheater and suggests that he is a victim of the league’s testing policy.

There are a few major problems with his “defense”, aside from his unwillingness to take personal responsibility.

"It's hard to change everybody's mind on what happened. But what they have to know is that it can happen to anybody. It's hard to do anything illegal or doing anything against the rules nowadays because they're so strict already.”

Yet, somehow, Merriman did do something against the rules.

"This has been a real hard process for me because I'm actually having to make a decision on playing football or sitting out," said Merriman.

He didn’t mention that he was having to make the decision on this because of his decision to either take the supplements or take the steroids. The rules have changed, and the players and teams are provided with a list of banned substances. It is up to THEM to ensure that supplements that they ingest are not on the list. It is called personal responsibility. Additionally, players are provided with contact information should they have any uncertainties. Merriman admits he never had it checked by the team’s training staff. Finally, there is also common sense: If you aren’t sure, don’t take it.

What would truly help clear up the “tainted” supplement defense would be his revealing the supplement he took. Merriman refuses (at this point) to do so. Only saying it is an over the counter supplement.

"We're not allowed to say what product yet because there's a high, high possibility that we'll be going after the manufacturer," he said.

"What I tested positive for you can't inject, you can't do anything like that," he said. "It's something ingested and it's from a defective supplement."

What Merriman tested positive for is Nandrolone. Known as Deca. Which, in actuality, is an INJECTABLE steroid, NOT formulated for oral administration.

"It's just sad that I've been taking it for a while and I didn't know. It never came up positive for anything and when it happened, that's when I found out more information about, you know, any kind of tainted supplements. I never knew that supplements can have anything different than what's on the ingredients."

The fact that he had been supposedly taking it for awhile and never came up positive certainly doesn’t help him. If there was an ingredient in there that would cause a positive test, it seems logical he would have popped prior to this test.

"It's one of those things where I'm almost a victim of the policy and I have to accept what happened and move on. I know I made a mistake. I didn't do it knowingly and I'm willing to take full responsibility for whatever happens."

If he admits to making a mistake, how is he a victim? The rules on what substances are banned are clear. It is the players responsibility to ensure that any substances they take are not on the banned list.

The claim of a tainted supplement is hollow. Mostly because the steroid for which he tested for is Nandrolone.

The idea that some company is intentionally spiking their products with Nandrolone is pretty far fetched (particularly since you have to INJECT it for it to work).

There could be one further reason he tested positive for Nandrolone. Androstene (the stuff Mark McGwire kept in his locker) has variants that can convert to the same chemical compound as nandrolone, when ingested. However, andro and it’s derivatives are on the banned list and illegal.

Maybe Merriman truly didn’t use steroids and somehow ingested andro. Only he knows what he took. But the bottom line is: He is no victim. The rules are clear. And the responsibility rests solely on the athlete to KNOW what he is putting in his body. The only victim here is personal responsibility.


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