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Conway, Parke Suspended, Fined for Substance Abuse

Here is the stunning release from the league.....

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber announced today that he has suspended and fined New York Red Bulls players Jon Conway and Jeff Parke for violating the MLS Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health (SABH) Policy by testing positive for androstatriendione (ATD) and boldenone metabolites, performance-enhancing substances. Each player is suspended for 10 MLS games, including regular season and playoffs, effective immediately, and each has also been fined 10 percent of his annual salary. During the suspension, the players may not participate in any other competitions. The players purchased and ingested an over-the-counter nutritional supplement containing ATD, a substance that metabolizes into boldenone. Both ATD and boldenone are banned substances under MLS's SABH policy. The supplement was purchased from a vitamin store that is part of a national chain. "MLS has one of the strictest drug policies in professional sports and holds its athletes both responsible and accountable for what they put into their bodies," Garber said. "This is an important statement as to the high standards to which we hold our players."

From the Red Bulls:

"We have met with both players and they informed us that they ingested an over-the-counter supplement that unknowingly contained a banned substance," Erik Stover, the Red Bulls managing director, said in a statement. "However, the Red Bulls support M.L.S.'s policy and believe that performance enhancing drugs have no place in professional sports."

To read the Associated Press story, click here.

By Steve Goff  |  October 16, 2008; 4:55 PM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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Comments

Wow.

Posted by: bwidell | October 16, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Wo.

And you beat Ives to it?

Posted by: RK | October 16, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Holy Cow!

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 16, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Red Bull NY using more than Red Bull.

Posted by: RK | October 16, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Can you imagine how bad those two would be without the suplements?

Posted by: Steve | October 16, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

steve you beat me to it my good man

Posted by: anotherbodymurdered | October 16, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Gotta say, it's pretty stupid to ban legal, store bought supplements.

Posted by: JkR | October 16, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

gotta say that's a pretty steep penalty for using a legal dietary supplement purchased at GNC. Wow is right. RBNY's playoff hopes were dwindling before this. Now, they are non-existent.

Posted by: slugger | October 16, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that seems a bit harsh. I can understand wanting to make a statement, but 10 games AND 10% of their salary for an over-the-counter supplement? I smell an appeal coming...

Posted by: Kenobi | October 16, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

ludicrous penalty. just another reason why the MLS was, is, and always will be a complete joke...

Posted by: 1stunna | October 16, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Well Creatine and Andro used to be legal too.

Posted by: AlecW81 | October 16, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Nothing good can come of this

Posted by: Golazo | October 16, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

The rules are on the books. It is not just your job as a player to perform but to adhere to the changing rules of the league. You are getting payed thousands of dollars to play a sport, the least you could do is read the memo and updated rulebook sent to each player at the beginning of each season.

Posted by: Dave | October 16, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

...for an OVER THE COUNTER supplement?

That's a ridiculous punishment, and makes the Commish look dumb. And, once again, minor-league. Total over-reaction.


Posted by: kahlva | October 16, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

how do you ban over-the-counter supplements? how is that possible? how is 10 games and 10% of one's already-low yearly salary worth 10 games for an over-the-counter supplement?

if these guys were going to some dealer somewhere, ala MLB controversy-style steroids, then okay, by all means, ban the bastards and fine them...but this?

Posted by: sublicon | October 16, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

The Red Bulls' official release says the players took the supplement without knowing that it contained a banned substance. Which is not surprising: before this story broke a Google search of the word androstatriendione turned up eight hits.

IGarber and MLS might be trying to make examples of these guys to show how tough they are on PEDs, but it just makes them look even more bush league. I'm all for no-tolerance doping policies but this is a disgrace

Posted by: Slugger | October 16, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Well Creatine and Andro used to be legal too.

Posted by: AlecW81 |

They are, now?

Posted by: RK | October 16, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

You folks realize that sudafed is an illegal substance in the Olympics, right?

How about trashing NY players for not being smart enough to read the ingrediants.

Posted by: Kim | October 16, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I don't know enough to comment on whether a big penalty is appropriate, but does it strike anyone as odd that a ten game ban out of a season of what, 32 games, equates only to a 10% reduction in salary? Sounds to me like they will be getting paid for about seven games they will not play, which makes this actually more of a punishment of the team than the player. Weird.

Btw, is the spell check feature on this blog new, or have I always previously just been uncharacteristically accurate in my typing? Anyway, good feature.

Posted by: regular fan | October 16, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Well, this obviously puts a HUGE dent in NY's playoff chances. Especially since they dealt their backup (Thornton).

Posted by: JoeW | October 16, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Anyone defending these jokers is way off base. Any professional athlete ought to know that andro is a banned substance. It may not be the androstenedione that Mark McGwire famously admitted to using, but it's obviously a related substance. When you're being tested, you should have enough sense to read the ingredients, as Kim says above. There has to be a punishment, even if this turns out to be an innocent mistake.

On the plus side, this has got to be good news for United's playoff chances -- if you think United's making the playoffs would be a good thing. See ya'll there tonight.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | October 16, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

can dc protest their losses to ny this year?

Posted by: Atl | October 16, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Huh? Spell-check feature? I don't see no stinkin' spell-check feature. Do you mean the red underline that you get with certain browsers? Firefox has it. Explorer does not.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 16, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Uhrrr. wow.

Posted by: dadryan | October 16, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

As for the penalty -- I imagine it's a union issue. The general idea of such a ban is to prevent a competitive advantage. It's not even just a punishment issue. If they've ingested a performance-enhancing substance, you have to keep them off the field while that's still effective. However, it's probably also covered as a misconduct issue. So they are bannable, but also finable. There's no reason for the percentages to match up. I can see why symmetry there might seem reasonable, but it's probably a question of what the union contract allows with respect to docking pay -- which is very different than the competitive angle.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | October 16, 2008 5:53 PM | Report abuse

CCL 3rd jersey????

Posted by: Anonymous | October 16, 2008 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't anyone here follow professional cycling or any other pro sport where just about every week some athlete complains that he/she was taking an OTC product when accused of doping? It seems that every skin cream known to humankind contains some kind of steroid that just happens to show up as a banned substance in blood tests.

Doping is real, it happens in every sport, and it's clear that Garber and Co. are warning MLS players to read their labels and check with the medical staff before ingesting anything. This is their way of saying "Barry Bonds? Ain't gonna happen here."

Posted by: Modibo | October 16, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Fisch Fry - perceptive as usual. I mostly just thought it odd. Given how little these guys get paid, and the prevailing perception (so far) that the infraction is not major, I'm not suggesting the 10% fine is too little, and I hadn't thought about the need to keep them out while the substance works its way out.

On the spellcheck - yeah anonymous, good catch, I'm on my laptop for a change, using Firefox.

Posted by: regular fan | October 16, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

"MLS has one of the strictest drug policies in professional sports..." Garber said.
Ask Floyd Landis if this is true? And cycling is doubling it's doping ban from 2 years to 4 years.

Posted by: Nine | October 16, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

This isn't double secret probation, the rules were clear and should be followed. Just cause the FDA hasn't banned it doesn't mean it's not performance-enhancing.

They should just lose the salary for the weeks they miss, why should a team pay them for not playing?

With what happened in baseball, no league can be forgiving with steroids. I think this is a bit of an overreaction, but it's the public/media's fault, not Garber's.

Posted by: danj | October 16, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Haaaa Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Posted by: Nelson | October 16, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter if it's over the counter or prescription or illegal, doping is doping. End of story. Lots of people (see: professional cyclists) claim they didn't know what was in the products they took. Lots of them were lying. Not that these two are, but just because they didn't know what was in it doesn't mean they shouldn't be punished. The rules are there for a reason. They broke the rules.

Though, as a cycling fan, I was surprised to see that Goff's subject line had nothing to do with cocaine or heroin. Instead, it was just plain old doping.

Posted by: Sarah | October 16, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

The league has a set Drug Abuse policy. Whether it was intentionally ingested or not, ATD is a banned substance in MLS. I for one am glad that MLS and Garber are not sweeping this under the rug. They are making it known as a warning to other players what could happen if they use banned substances knowingly or unknowingly.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 16, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Sweeeet

Posted by: Asher | October 16, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Wow. That's crazy. Rules is rules, and I'm guessing these guys didn't realize they were breakin' em, but that's no excuse.

Posted by: GDopplerXT | October 16, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

I wonder what derogatory comments Jim Rome will have about that?

Posted by: Skeeze | October 16, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

RE: stuff above.

- many "nutritional supplements" may not list all the ingredients.
- how could Steve "scoop" Ives if Steve's source is a press release?
- what FF said: union issue, appeals, this isn't the last of it.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 16, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Boldenone is a horse steroid, at least according to Wikipedia. Wow... I'm going with the theory that these guys are dumb (didn't realize what they were doing), not really really dumb (trying to get jacked racehorse style).

Posted by: Big Brown | October 16, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

"IGarber and MLS might be trying to make examples of these guys to show how tough they are on PEDs, but it just makes them look even more bush league. I'm all for no-tolerance doping policies but this is a disgrace"

How are having dopping rules that follow WADA guidelines more "bush league"? I'm just curious.

Posted by: Eric B | October 16, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

The substances that were found ATD and boldenone are anabolic steroids. Enough said.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 16, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

I thought Red Bull the drink should be a banned substance!

They should test Blanco, there is something about his body chemistry that ain't right!

They should also test Ruiz, he led Guatemala down the drain in the WCQs...

Posted by: Anonymous | October 16, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Big Brown, did you try reading the rest of that wikipedia entry?

Look, the rules are the rules. Everyone agrees in fair play and banning performance-enhancing drugs. I don't for a second believe these guys didn't know what they were ingesting.

But it's pretty bone-headed to ingest substances that stay in your blood for so long. According to wikipedia, it appears that a blood test can find this substance perhaps 1.5 yrs after you've taken it!

Oh well, move on

Posted by: Eugene | October 16, 2008 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Lots of people weighting in don't have a freaking clue what they are talking about. These are NOT illegal drugs, you can buy them at the local vitimin shop. These guys didn't know this stuff was banned. MLS gives the players a scroll of a list that lists the drugs banned in MLS. Many players have been caught with mariwana(sp?) in their systems during tests but they are allowed three strikes on that so we don't hear about it.
MLS is bush league and doesn't pay enough for this kind discipline...I also notice no 'name' players ever get this kind on punishment...pretty odd.

Posted by: Tex | October 16, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

The players don't even need to do the reading themselves. They can bring the bottle to the team trainer or doctor and ask them if it is cool. As a player this sends a clear message that you are trying to follow the rules and consulting a team medical professional for guidance.

Posted by: Dan | October 16, 2008 6:55 PM | Report abuse

daaaang
that's crazy stuff

Posted by: andrew | October 16, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Wow, what's the commish doing? Fining these Metrostar/Red Bulls players. It's a well know fact that the MLS league office favors the New York team and the Beckham Bunch out west. It certainly appears the Don has lost focus.

Posted by: Diego Marijuana | October 16, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

MLS hits the big time. Suspending players for banned substances. Who would thought that the players would cheat to get those tiny paychecks. Maybe there is more to this soccer league than we thought.

Posted by: Tommie | October 16, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

we need all the help we can get! ha!

Posted by: playoffs | October 16, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

The commish is trying to get the Gals in the playoffs, everyone knows Beckham draws more fans than anything the Big Apple has to offer.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 16, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

I didnt know MLS did drug/steroid checks?

Posted by: Anthony The Great | October 16, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

A sweeter chapter in the DC/NJ rivalry story can not possibly exist.
"Remember the time we were almost eliminated but because NJ lost two key players to doping, right before the end of the season, we were able to get in?"
Wait. Are we sure Michael Mojeida isn't behind this as some sort of twisted joke?

Posted by: David | October 16, 2008 11:14 PM | Report abuse

I love Steve for playing into my hands like putty...
"CCL 3rd jersey?"
Goff loves it or he wouldn't have mentioned it..=)

Posted by: dadryan | October 16, 2008 11:28 PM | Report abuse

mariwana(sp?)

Tex | October 16, 2008 6:54 PM
meet
regular fan | October 16, 2008 5:57 PM

He'll tell you all about spellcheck in Firefox.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 16, 2008 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Why are people surprised at their being punished for an over-the-counter supplement? Aren't most of the substances banned under e.g. the NFL and NBA policies available legally over-the-counter? Or do I have that wrong?

Posted by: Bootsy | October 16, 2008 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Holy Cow!

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 16, 2008 5:06 PM
=======================================
GREAT line!

NYRB - Ha ha ha ha - die, die, die!

Posted by: JSF | October 17, 2008 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Well, this obviously puts a HUGE dent in NY's playoff chances. Especially since they dealt their backup (Thornton).

Posted by: JoeW | October 16, 2008 5:41 PM

They can have him back!!! He sux!!!

Posted by: Michoacano | October 17, 2008 1:56 AM | Report abuse

Since Fisch Fry has summed up my thoughts already, I'm going to approach this from a different angle: how this affects NY.

Losing Parke isn't that much of a disaster. Andrew Boyens is a slower, slightly dumber version of Parke. There's no doubt that Boyens is a step down, but it's not going to kill their season by itself. This isn't RSL losing Morales, or LA without Donovan. If Osorio is worried about Boyens' speed, he could bring in Diego Jimenez (who has his own flaws). In both cases, you have guys that have MLS or MLS-equivalent experience.

Conway is the bigger loss. I've never thought that Conway is a good keeper, but this year he's climbed to the lofty heights of "average" in my book. An MLS club could go far with him in goal if they happened to have a Fire/Dynamo-level defense. He is far from brilliant, but he won't kill your season. The problem here is that Conway's backup is up in the air. As best I can remember, the last appearance in the NY goal by someone other than Conway was Caleb Patterson-Sewell in the 2nd half against Barcelona. Since then, NY has recalled Danny Cepero from a loan to Harrisburg and acquired Terry Boss from Charlotte (both USL-2 sides). The MLSnet article mentioned Osorio being non-committal about which of these 3 is his choice. It's a tough call, because none of them has any MLS experience, and NY's back four has been shaky of late.

If you're like me, you will see this as welcome (and maybe even wonderful) news. NY is already defending poorly, and now the 2 guys least likely to screw up are out. Hopefully, this will help Columbus be cold-blooded like Rick James and go win in the Swamp.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | October 17, 2008 3:44 AM | Report abuse

why does Goff give a link to an AP article with less information than his post?

if the league detected this so easily, and came down so hard so quickly, how was Quaranta able to get away for years with all the drugs he was taking?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 17, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Anon 8:30am -- probably because sports leagues tend to handle illegal/recreational drugs and performance enhancing drugs differently. Sports leagues tend not to see themselves as extensions of the criminal justice system; when a player in a league gets into trouble with illegal/recreational drugs, it's the "not making the league look bad" responsibilities of the player that get the player in trouble with the league. If Tino had been picked up in a drug bust and a mug shot posted to the Smoking Gun, you can believe the League office would have acted more harshly towards him.

On the other hand, sports leagues *do* see as one of their primary responsibilities ensuring fair play in their leagues (of course, we can discuss whether MLS actually does a decent job of that; but that's a different conversation). Players taking performance enhancing drugs, legal or illegal from a criminal justice point of view, conflicts with the league's goal of creating a level playing field. Sports leagues respond harshly to this (well, unless you're MLB) because if they don't, the leagues' credibility among the public can be destroyed.

Posted by: Bootsy | October 17, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Since when does the League favor New York? They definitely favor DC more because of their "tradition" on the field. New York is a big joke of a team, and I love the team since '96.

Parke should have left a long time ago and play on some 2nd division Norwegian team. Would have made 3 or 4 times more money that he does now.

Garber should move the MLS HQs to LA sooner than later.

Posted by: Manny F | October 17, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone know if players are issued a list of OTR products that would be considered banned by MLS? If so then there is no excuse for their stupidity, in any event they should have read the lable.

Posted by: GLD123 | October 17, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Regardless of how you get it, if it's illegal it's illegal. And please all drug offenders use that "I didn't know the drugs contain banned substances". They all do that. When have you seen someone come out and said "yep I used drugs and I got caught"?

Posted by: Bart | October 17, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

MLS better review this because injecting steroids into your body is one thing but taking supplements from GNC is another. 10 games is too harsh a penalty and is dumb.

Posted by: Felix | October 17, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Remember when you could get GHB at GNC? Now that's a drug.
if the league detected this so easily, and came down so hard so quickly, how was Quaranta able to get away for years with all the drugs he was taking?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 17, 2008 8:30 AM Quaranta was taking prescription drugs and drinking from his account. Not really the "drugs" any test is looking for. Coke gets out of your system pretty quickly believe it or not, certainly quicker than pot.

Posted by: dadryan | October 17, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Remember when you could get GHB at GNC? Now that's a drug.
if the league detected this so easily, and came down so hard so quickly, how was Quaranta able to get away for years with all the drugs he was taking?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 17, 2008 8:30 AM Quaranta was taking prescription drugs and drinking from his account. Not really the "drugs" any test is looking for. Coke gets out of your system pretty quickly believe it or not, certainly quicker than pot.

Posted by: dadryan | October 17, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

dadryan: How about erythropoietin? :-) Should MLS test the Rapids and RSL for those, or should they test the visiting teams? Those mountain stages are a bear. :-)

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 17, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Good point I-270. There is a fine line between recovery efforts and straight up cheating especially in cycling, track and field, etc. I'm tripping out a bit on the irony of me earlier in the season calling Kenny"roid rage"Cooper just that, only to see an actual doping scandal get flopped onto the doorstep right here, and now.
Everyone's looking for an edge. EPO in the visiting teams interest would never surprise me.
Maybe someone should see if United can get their hands on some for their trip down to play Cruz Azul.
FoR the Record this would be a perfect opportunity to use the 3rd jersey! Red jersey w/black sash vs CA's blue.( their wiki page says they have a third!)
Vamos United!
Doping(unless casual recreational) Sucks!

Posted by: dadryan | October 17, 2008 11:57 PM | Report abuse

glass clean english no cube keyboard jhon deliver

Posted by: letteruglyug | October 18, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

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