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  1. I think the MLB have got this one right in enforcing the 50 game suspension. I think they leave themselves open to all sorts of excuses if they start negotiating suspensions on drug related offenses.

    I would think that an MLB team has a doctor and/or dietitian who can advise their players on what they should and should not be taking, so for me it doesn’t seem like it would take more than a quick phone call to team staff by Romero for some advice.

    As an aside, this reminds me of a similar case that happened in Australian cricket. A top player (equivalent of someone like a Clemens) tested positive for a drug masking agent that they claim was supposedly given to them by their mother. The result was still a one year ban. See

    Comment by Levi — January 6, 2009 @ 9:17 pm

  2. Eric: while I generally agree with your take on the matter, I have to point out Romero DID double check. He had Doug Lien, the Phillies’ strength coach, as well as his personal nutrionist check the substance. And the MLBPA had of course informed players that nothing that could be purchased over-the-counter would result in a failed drug test.

    Ultimately, I understand that Romero is responsible for what he puts into his body, and I have no problem with that as a general rule. But there are two things that stick out to me: (1) the MLBPA completely failed Romero here; and (2) MLB should have exercised some prosecutorial discretion.

    Comment by PhillyFriar — January 6, 2009 @ 9:20 pm

  3. The bottle he bought did not have the standard warning, apparently, but wouldn’t he have the common sense to check with someone that the supplement is good to go?

    From Peter Gammons’ article today on the suspension:
    “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.”

    Comment by Jake — January 6, 2009 @ 9:24 pm

  4. Then Dong Lien needs have his resume double-checked or the MLBPA failed Romero.

    Comment by Eric Seidman — January 6, 2009 @ 9:25 pm

  5. Erg…PhillyFriar beat me to the punch. I want the steroid freaks’ heads on a platter just as much as anybody else does, but I think we gotta give Romero the benefit of the doubt here. He checked this stuff out through all the right channels, and it’s quite draconian to relieve him of over a million bucks of salary because his nutritionist, team coach, and union all gave him the thumbs-up for a supplement he bought over-the-counter.

    Comment by Jake — January 6, 2009 @ 9:27 pm

  6. According to Romero, he checked with both his personal nutritionist and the Phillies’ strength coach when he bought the supplement, and he got a letter from the Players’ Association that notified him (and other players) that supplements purchased in U.S. retail shops were no longer necessarily safe on Nov. 21, long after he’d already tested positive. The MLBPA also said they had no idea the supplement he took would cause a positive test until they heard about his positive test. From what I’ve heard so far, it certainly sounds like an unreasonable standard of negligence here, especially if the bottle he bought wasn’t properly labeled. If neither of two people paid to know what is in the supplements he takes and whether or not they are legal nor MLBPA knew that what he was taking contained a banned substance, it seems like quite a bit to expect that Romero should know despite assurances from the people he checked with.

    Here’s one story I read that I pulled these claims from-

    Maybe as more facts come out some of that will change. Right now it just seems to be what Romero says happened, so I don’t know what kind of evidence there is to corroborate any of that.

    Comment by Kincaid — January 6, 2009 @ 9:32 pm

  7. My point, and maybe I’m expecting too much from an athlete, is that if I am an athlete in this current climate, and I’m considering a supplement, I’m going to check with at least 5-6 different sources to confirm something is legit and won’t come back to haunt me.

    Comment by Eric Seidman — January 6, 2009 @ 9:37 pm

  8. He checked with the two people whose responsibility it was to make sure he got the most out of his body without breaking any rules. He was further backed by the MLBPA’s guarantee that no OTC product could result in a positive test. NOBODY could have told him that the stuff was a banned substance, since the banned substance wasn’t on the label.

    Comment by Jake — January 6, 2009 @ 9:43 pm

  9. Ah, it looks like I need to do more reading, as it seems as if Romero did do some checking.

    I guess I would still ask what Romero was hoping to achieve with the supplement? I would have thought if you needed to improve your strength (or similar) you’d ask your team doctor/strength coach on the best way, rather than just checking on a supplement.

    Still, kind of sucks for Romero if he did check and his sources were wrong.

    Comment by Levi — January 6, 2009 @ 9:43 pm

  10. What does he have a personal nutritionist for then, and what to the Phillies have a strength coach for? I just think the standard is way too high if a guy checked all the labels on the bottle, consulted with two different professionals, and was told by the MLBPA that anything he bought over the counter was fine (4 different sources all indicating what he was taking was fine), but you can just say, sorry, you should have checked with 5 or 6 different sources every time you used it, it’s nice that you did so much to make sure you were safe, but it’s still negligence on your part that you didn’t get 5 or 6, here is your 50 game suspension at the cost of $1.25 million. Where was he even going to find 2 more sources that were more trustworthy than the ones he had?

    Comment by Kincaid — January 6, 2009 @ 9:57 pm

  11. If all of the above is true, and Romero definitely spoke to everyone he could, then he is being jobbed. Apparently, MLB feels differently, so either they felt his story was not legit, or they know information we do not.

    Comment by Eric Seidman — January 6, 2009 @ 10:09 pm

  12. And also, my feeling is that if you or I can go to a Will Carroll or Rob Neyer article and click on a link to discover that OXO-6 carried andro, then the Phillies training staff looks more incompetent for not recognizing this substance. I can’t imagine that andro was not listed back in July but suddenly is now on the website for the supplement.

    Romero may have done everything right, but something went wrong here to merit the suspension. Perhaps it shouldn’t be as severe if the fault belongs to the Phillies doctors, though.

    Comment by Eric Seidman — January 6, 2009 @ 10:15 pm

  13. I saw an earlier story that Sergio Mitre had the EXACT same thing happen. Was there a mistake in that story, and the guy is actually Romero? Either way, it sounds like rubbish to me. The answer, though, is fairly simple. Teams should simply tell players, don’t ingest anything without official club approval, and then clubs should establish a mechanism for distributing stuff like GNC products.

    Comment by Chuck — January 6, 2009 @ 10:49 pm

  14. Hopefully as this plays out, we’ll get more of the facts. As of right now, all we have is Romero’s side, so of course it seems like he got jobbed-I have no idea if the arbitrators ruled guilty based only on what we know. It does sound plausible, though, based on the disciplinary system in place and how it’s been used. Either way, all we really have to discuss now is what’s out there, so I could be saying this and end up being totally wrong later.

    I can’t see in any of the links Will Carroll posted (or Neyer, who, as far as I can tell, just reposted Will Carroll’s article) that OXO-6 contained andro, though, or even that that it was andro that he tested positive for. The link that discusses andro specifically says the author doesn’t know the details of what Romero tested positive for, and he’s only speculating that it may have been andro cross-contamination from other supplements made by the same company. The author also puts forth the likelihood that OXO-6 didn’t even cause the positive tests, but the players were actually doping and using this as an excuse for something that could have tripped the test instead of what actually did. Obviously, if that’s the case, no sympathy for Romero. I can’t find any mention of andro being in the supplement on the company website he linked.

    Clearly something went wrong somewhere, and if we are to trust the arbitrator’s ruling, there’s more to this than what Romero is saying. I wouldn’t rush to judge him until those other facts do come out, though.

    Comment by Kincaid — January 6, 2009 @ 11:29 pm

  15. Mitre and Romero were both hit for the same thing. Romero is just the one who went public with his side, so he’s the one we’re talking about.

    Comment by Kincaid — January 6, 2009 @ 11:31 pm

  16. 6-OXO Extreme may have andro, but it’s used in bodybuilding circles as PCT, not as some kind of steroid replacement. To suggest so is ridiculous by most standards.

    God knows why he would even bother with this.

    More than a cheater, he just comes off as stupid to me. If only because if he was going to cheat, you would think he would use something that would help him. :o

    Comment by kensai — January 6, 2009 @ 11:35 pm

  17. Why would any substance advertise that it has androstenedione in it — especially one that’s aimed towards athletes? That’s bad business.

    Comment by Bill B. — January 6, 2009 @ 11:53 pm

  18. Exactly, it would be poor marketing. But if a player goes to someone being paid to evaluate supplements and determine if they are safe to use, I would fully expect that employee to investigate whether any of these banned substances are included in the supplements. Something very fishy happened here.

    Comment by Eric Seidman — January 6, 2009 @ 11:56 pm

  19. I think you might be reading too much into this. Basically, Romero is a victim. The MLBPA failed him, Major League Baseball failed him, and the trainer and the nutritionist failed him. Romero did everything he was supposed to do when it comes to using these supplements — and every single baseball player uses supplements — and he got victimized by an incompetent system.

    MLB is essentially making an example out of Romero. It’s unfortunate because they’re toying with someone’s reputation and livelihood, not to mention calling into question the validity of the world championship just won by his team. I don’t think you could ask Major League Baseball to handle the issue of PED’s any more poorly.

    Comment by Bill B. — January 7, 2009 @ 2:53 am

  20. More like good business. Ever since McGwire got caught with it, the uneducated out there went on a craze for it without knowing what it is. Probably trying to take advantage of that.

    And it’s not marketed towards professional athletes, just to people who workout.

    Comment by kensai — January 7, 2009 @ 7:02 am


    Comment by anon — January 7, 2009 @ 11:15 am

  22. This does not contain the andro that McGwire used. Its androstenetrione in oxo6, McGwire was using androstendione.

    Different chemicals, please don’t be lazy and say ‘andro’. Use the full name.

    Comment by Patrick — January 7, 2009 @ 12:17 pm

  23. Patrick, when this post was written, the sources said androstenedione. Now that it’s known to be androstenetrione there is an obvious difference.

    Comment by Eric Seidman — January 7, 2009 @ 1:07 pm

  24. Fair enough. There was a lot of nonsense with how the story has been told.

    Thanks for the clarification.

    Comment by Patrick — January 7, 2009 @ 2:31 pm

  25. I guess the label wasn’t clear enough to him…
    6-OXO (3;6;17-androstenetrione) 300 mg

    Just another lesson to you youngsters, stay in school and learn to read.

    Comment by Bill H — January 9, 2009 @ 12:33 pm

  26. I’ve had some reasonable results from a product known as Natural Energy Max, It did take some time but I think this is always going to be the case with legal products. Since utilizing it though, the results have been steady and I’ve really gained from it. They’re offering a free trial currently so it’d be a good time to check it out. It’s at

    Comment by Albert Wheeless — May 25, 2010 @ 3:08 pm

  27. Useful post can i have your permision to translate into French for my sites viewers? Thanks

    Comment by hcg — July 8, 2011 @ 5:38 am

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