Although neither Texans linebacker Brian Cushing nor anyone associated with the NFL has said what, exactly, Cushing took to trigger a positive performance-enhancing drug test, a new report says he tested positive for human Chorionic Gonadotropin, or hCG.
That’s the same substance that got Manny Ramirez of the Los Angeles Dodgers suspended for 50 games during the 2009 Major League Baseball season, although Ramirez was reportedly suspended for receiving an hCG prescription, not testing positive for it.
Adam Schefter of ESPN was the first to report, via Twitter, that Cushing tested positive for elevated levels of hCG. According to Wikipedia, hCG is commonly used during and after steroid cycles to maintain and restore testicular size as well as normal testosterone production.
Schefter also Tweeted that hCG is in seminal fluid, and slightly elevated levels can be discovered in the event that a test occurs soon after ejaculation.
So perhaps that will be Cushing’s spin: He had recently ejaculated at the time he was asked for a urine sample, and that’s why he came up positive. But the bottom line is simple: The league has decided that elevated levels of hCG are enough to constitute evidence of cheating, and the union has agreed. So Cushing’s elevated levels of hCG were a violation of league rules, and he’ll have to serve a four-game suspension because he violated those rules.