Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez denied reports that surfaced Tuesday linking the two sports stars to performance-enhancing drugs.
During the Super Bowl media day, Lewis declined to directly address a Sports Illustrated report that he sought help from a company that makes a deer-antler spray to speed up his recovery from a torn right triceps.
Rodriguez was among a half-dozen players listed in records of a Florida clinic an alternative weekly newspaper in Florida said sold performance-enhancing drugs.
Lewis, the NFL’s leading tackler in the playoffs after missing 10 regular-season games with the injury, dismissed the report linking him to the company that makes the spray as “stupidity.”
The company, Sports With Alternatives To Steroids, says its deer-antler substance contains a banned performance-enhancer connected to human growth hormone.
Sport Illustrated reported that SWATS owner Mitch Ross recorded a call with Lewis hours after the player hurt his arm in an October game against Dallas. According to the report, Lewis asked Ross to send him deer-antler spray and pills, along with other products made by the company.
The magazine also said that when it spoke to Lewis for its story, he acknowledged asking Ross for “some more of the regular stuff” on the night of the injury and that he has been associated with the company “for a couple years through Hue Jackson.”
“That was a 2-year-old story that you want me to refresh, ... so I won’t even speak about it,” Lewis said Tuesday. “Because I’ve been in this business 17 years, and nobody has ever got up with me every morning and trained with me. Every test I’ve ever took in the NFL – there’s never been a question of if I ever even thought about using anything. So to even entertain stupidity like that. ...”
The NFL didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, and NFL Players Association spokesman George Atallah declined to comment.
“The team knew about this report. Ray denies taking anything and has always passed tests,” Ravens spokesman Kevin Byrne said.
The Miami New Times said Rodriguez bought human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing substances during 2009-12 from Biogenesis of America LLC, a now-closed anti-aging clinic in Coral Cables, Fla., near Rodriguez’s offseason home.
The new public relations firm for Rodriguez issued a statement denying the allegations.
The newspaper said it obtained records detailing purchases by Rodriguez, 2012 All-Star game MVP Melky Cabrera, 2005 AL Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon and 2011 AL championship series MVP Nelson Cruz of Texas. Other baseball players the newspaper said appeared in the records include Washington pitcher Gio Gonzalez, who finished third in last year’s NL Cy Young Award voting, and San Diego catcher Yasmani Grandal.
Rodriguez admitted four years ago that he used PEDs from 2001 to ’03. Cabrera, Colon and Grandal were suspended for 50 games each last year by MLB following tests for elevated testosterone.
A baseball official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements, said MLB did not have any documentation regarding the allegations. If MLB does obtain evidence, the players could be subject to discipline. First offenses result in a 50-game suspension and second infractions in 100-game penalties. A third violation results in a lifetime ban.
Rodriguez is sidelined for at least the first half of the season after hip surgery Jan. 16. A 50-game suspension would cost him $7.65 million of his $28 million salary.
“The news report about a purported relationship between Alex Rodriguez and Anthony Bosch are not true,” Rodriguez said in a statement issued by a publicist. “He was not Mr. Bosch’s patient, he was never treated by him and he was never advised by him. The purported documents referenced in the story – at least as they relate to Alex Rodriguez – are not legitimate.”