On Wednesday, reports emerged that Dr. Anthony Galea was on his way to Washington to treat a member of the Redskins when Galea was arrested by U.S. authorities. One of Galea’s assistants reportedly had a type of hGH in his possession.
Now, the Buffalo News reports that Redskins receiver Santana Moss was a patient of Dr. Galea. The report doesn’t state whether Moss is the Redskins player whom Galea would be treating on the trip that was interrupted by the placement of handcuffs onto Galea’s wrists.
Meanwhile, the U.S. attorney responsible for the prosecution of Dr. Galea said Wednesday that none of his patients will face charges. “At this juncture, any of the persons who are alleged to have used these
substances are considered witnesses, and not targets, of this
investigation,” William J. Hochul told the Buffalo News. Hochul declined to comment on whether information regarding patients would be shared with the NFL and other professional sports leagues.
Whether Hochul shares information may not matter. Absent a plea arrangement, there will be a trial, which will entail witnesses being required to testify. At that point, it will be fairly difficult to keep their identities secret.
And while Dr. Galea’s lawyer denies that his client did anything wrong (go figure), attorney Mark Mahoney seems to concede that Dr. Galea used hGH on injured athletes.
“Officials of the NFL and other sports organizations can sleep soundly
tonight, because there is nothing he did with these athletes to help
them with performance enhancement,” Mahoney told the Buffalo News. “[Galea]
strictly provided treatment for injuries. If any athlete got [human
growth hormone], it was injected directly into injured tissue, in very
small amounts, for purposes of healing.”
But, as we’ve said in the past, using certain chemical compounds to speed healing necessarily constitutes performance enhancement. If the player can’t perform and a shot of hGH helps him perform, his performance has been (wait for it) enhanced.
Meawhile, the Redskins and agent Drew Rosenhaus are keeping mum about the alleged connection between Santana Moss and Dr. Galea. New Redskins V.P. of communications Tony Wyllie, who left Houston just before hCG hit the fan, declined to comment on the basis that this is an “off-the-field incident.”
Sorry, Tony, but that doesn’t cut it. Though we’ve yet to see any player inject hGH or any other banned substance while “on the field,” the fact that the substances relate directly to the ability to play — and also jeopardize the player’s availability if he’s caught and suspended — makes this a matter that falls squarely within the topics a team should be expected to address. Though the Redskins may simply decide to say nothing in deference to the NFL’s jurisdiction over these matters, that would be a far more plausible answer than brushing it all off as an “off-the-field incident.”
Either way, the Galea case could — and should — expose plenty of hGH users in pro sports. Given that it’s a banned substance and that the NFL doesn’t test for it, this could be the only way to catch anyone who is cheating the system.
Ultimately, it could be the wake-up call that prompts the NFL and the NFLPA to come together and devise an appropriate protocol for hGH testing.