After testing positive for a substance banned by the MLB, J.C. Romero will be suspended for 50 games without pay at the beginning of the 2009 season. The ordeal began as far back as August, when Romero first tested positive for the substance, which he unintentionally ingested from an over-the-counter supplement he purchased from a GNC store.
Romero says he stopped taking all supplements when he tested positive, though he still did not know the cause of the positive test. According to him, the substance is not listed on the bottle and he had the supplement checked by a nutritionist prior to taking it.
The Players Association responded to the suspension (along with one that was issued to Yankees’ Sergio Mitre for a similar infraction) saying they disagreed with the Commissioner’s and arbitrator’s decisions.
Indeed, the evidence out so far seems to point to the punishments being unfair and unfounded, as both players ostensibly tried to follow the rules to the best of their ability.
My favorite part of the ordeal is that after Game 3 of the National League Division Series, Romero was approached by MLB officials and offered a reduced suspension of 25 games if he admitted he was guilty. Romero promptly told them what they could do with their offer (aka he declined).
When results of an earlier test came back positive again, Romero was offered a similar reduced sentence. Again, he said no.
I know the MLB has a lot of bad drug news they are trying to overcompensate for at this point, but it doesn’t mean players who are trying their best to be in top physical condition as well as follow all rules and regulations need to be punished because vendors can’t get their labels correct.