February 28, 2007

Stop Me If You Think That You've Heard This One Before.: A joint task force of law enforcement officials from Albany County, New York and Orlando, Florida raided a Florida pharmacy that they say may be the key to a massive, internet-based illegal steroids trade. Gary Matthews, Jr.'s name has been specifically mentioned, as well as a Pittsburgh Steelers team doctor who purchased $150,000 worth of human growth hormone just last year. More than two dozen doctors, pharmacists and business owners have been, or will be, arrested in the coming days in Alabama, Texas, Florida and New York on sealed indictments charging them with various felonies for unlawfully distributing steroids and other controlled substances.

posted by The_Black_Hand to general at 05:35 AM - 17 comments

The article says Evander Holyfield is involved in the investigation too. He reportedly bought steroids under the very stealthy assumed name of "Evan Fields".

posted by Venicemenace at 08:36 AM on February 28, 2007

A rush and a push and the HGH is ours.

posted by yerfatma at 09:30 AM on February 28, 2007

I don't think the "Evan Fields Name Generator" will be quite the hit that the Ron Mexico version was.

posted by tron7 at 09:34 AM on February 28, 2007

These steroid investigations make me uncomfortable. I don't like names like Gary Matthews, Jr. and Evander Holyfield being thrown around until the investigation reveals that these drugs were not purchased legally. Performance-enhancing does not necessarily equal violation of the law or cheating. Shouldn't this information still be federally protected medical records at this stage? The really interesting part of this story is the team doctor for the Steelers buying a large quantity of steroids and HGH.

posted by bperk at 09:40 AM on February 28, 2007

This probably won't result in more names being released, this is clearly a law-enforcement agency going after the top of the pyramid and not end users. I can't envision any scenario where the players who got drugs through this system will be exposed, since they weren't the ones logging on to purchase. Only if a doctor on the buying end gets offered a deal to name names and rolls over. That would be kind of unique - usually you roll over to name the names above you, in this case the more interesting thing is to name who you're supplying.

posted by vito90 at 10:31 AM on February 28, 2007

"Performance-enhancing does not necessarily equal violation of the law or cheating. " You are grossly misinformed. In the NFL, NBA and yes, even the patheticly unenforceable MLB it is cheating. Possession of HGH, unless you are a legal pharmaceutical provider is illegal in all 50 states. "Shouldn't this information still be federally protected medical records at this stage?" uh... no! These weren't legitimate medical treatments. You should research the legitimate clinical uses of HGH and see why any use by an otherwise healthy professional athlete is not only ludicrous, but has no legitimate clinical indication whatsoever. This will continue until they enforce a lifetime ban for first offenders. Get caught once - never play again. That is the only solution.

posted by Brucifer at 12:09 PM on February 28, 2007

Brucifer, it might be a good idea to read the linked article before calling someone else "grossly misinformed." The article never says what products the named athletes were using. From the article: A law enforcement source involved in that investigation said authorities have not identified what types of products allegedly were ordered by Matthews or Holyfield, whom they said used the name "Evan Fields" when placing orders.

posted by bperk at 12:23 PM on February 28, 2007

I'll add to what bperk said that there are many, many substances that are "performance-enhancing" and that are perfectly legal: ginseng, for example, or caffeine, or blueberries. The rationale for regulating what athletes put into their bodies has never been that nobody was allowed to consume anything "performance-enhancing", but that there was a valid interest in regulating or banning substances and practices that were both performance-enhancing and harmful to the athlete. Enough harm has been done because of sloppy thinking and terminology in the arena of sports drug testing and regulation; WADA and Dick Pound can be cavalier about such things, but I see no reason for us SpoFites to sink to that level.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:06 PM on February 28, 2007

I don't think the "Evan Fields Name Generator" will be quite the hit that the Ron Mexico version was That may be true but just having the real name of Dick Pound would be enough for me to want to generate a new one.

posted by BornIcon at 01:48 PM on February 28, 2007

I always have blueberries and a coke before any physical activity. Just to be on the top of my game you know.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 02:18 PM on February 28, 2007

Ellis, D. That is all.

posted by JohnSFO at 03:23 PM on February 28, 2007

There are two things I hate about situations like this. First, names are leaked without any associated facts. As often as not, it turns out that the persons mentioned are guilty of nothing, but it doesn't matter because the leak created buzz. Second, I hate that raids like this have become necessary, but I guess they have. Until the pain of the penalties start to outweigh the benefits, many elite athletes are going to do whatever it takes to remain competitive. Education about the extremely harsh health dangers doesn't seem to be enough to slow most of them down (and if we slow them down enough, the supplier problem solves itself since there are no longer buyers). Maybe taking away enough of the money they make and preventing them from competing for long enough periods would do the job. Getting banned from competition would kind of defeat the purpose of using illegal performance enhancers, right? I hope something works. Too many young people are gambling their futures against a chance for instant gratification. Russian roulette, anyone?

posted by ctal1999 at 09:50 PM on February 28, 2007

I don't think the "Evan Fields Name Generator" will be quite the hit that the Ron Mexico version was You may be wrong. There would be actual drugs related to it, not just somebody thinking they smelled drugs.

posted by Bishop at 12:48 AM on March 01, 2007

Smells like ground axe in here.

posted by yerfatma at 05:56 AM on March 01, 2007

This probably won't result in more names being released... The investigators insist that this is not an attempt to identify any individuals involved, rather it is to break the chain of distribution. Thing is, you can bet if there are any records available, there will be names attached. You can also bet that if the names are available, they will be leaked. (Sorry for shouting, but I really want to call attention to this) Someone who is privy to the information will let it out to a member of the press. Whether it is done for some sort of payoff or just because someone wants to impress others with his "importance", names will become known. The pity is that the press will willingly go along with sullying the reputation of people without hearing all of the facts in the case. I'm not trying to condone the use of banned substances, but the media of today seem to go too far in their attempts to sensationalize. They are not trying to report. It is nothing more than an attempt to print or broadcast those things which will boost circulation or ratings. Higher circulation or ratings equate to more money for advertising. Truly, would any of us pay a lot of attention to an article that said, "We will not publish the names of anyone connected until a court judgement has been reached"?

posted by Howard_T at 08:30 AM on March 01, 2007

I'm guessing George Mitchell finds this pretty interesting.

posted by SummersEve at 09:00 AM on March 01, 2007

SI has more on Matthews, Jr. I still don't understand why SI reporters have to interview themselves for stories. I especially love it when they introduce the article with "We caught up to SI reporter dot dot dot..." If it's that much work catching up to them, how do you know where to send the checks?

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 10:01 AM on March 01, 2007

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