… or is it? Philadelphia Phillies pitcher and World Series winner J.C. Romero has been handed down a 50 game ban for what seems to be a total miscarriage of justice.
On July 22, Romero bought a supplement at the GNC store in Cherry Hill. He had it checked by his personal nutritionist, who said there was nothing in the supplement that was illegal. There was no warning on the label. Romero mentioned it to Phillies strength and conditioning coach Dong Lien.
There seems to have been some confusion in testimony during the October arbitration hearing. According to Romero, Lien told him to get a second opinion; Romero took the supplement to a second nutritionist, who cleared it.
On Aug. 26 and Sept. 19, Romero was tested, as all players are, randomly. On Sept. 23, players’ association counsel Bob Lenaghan informed Romero he had tested positive.
“I immediately stopped taking all supplements, although I had no idea it was the cause of the positive test,” Romero said.
He spoke to Michael Weiner at the MLBPA and told him he did not know the cause of the positive test. On Oct. 1, Weiner told Romero that the specific supplement was indeed the cause of the failed test and that because it was purchased over the counter in the U.S., he believed the case would be dropped.
That same day, Oct. 1, Romero was tested again. The results were negative. So for the NLDS, NLCS and World Series, the supplement was no longer in his system.
Two days later, Romero was informed that MLB would be willing to reduce his suspension to 25 games, starting at the beginning of the 2009 season, on the condition that he admitted guilt. Romero said he couldn’t because he did not believe he did anything wrong.
Sounds harsh. I’m all for cracking down on drugs in sport, especially in cycling and baseball where they seem to be rife, but this is a travesty. More at http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3812334