Chris Mortensen of ESPN reports that some of the players who are facing four-game suspensions for testing positive for a banned diuretic are contemplating legal action against the company that makes the supplement known as “StarCaps.”
Per Mort, the contention will be that the StarCaps label doesn’t disclose that it contains Bumetanide, which in the recent past has been added to the list of banned substances.
Indeed, the product page for StarCaps claims that the product is all-natural.  Bumetanide apparently isn’t a naturally-occuring substance, but a man-made medication.
In the past, we’ve been skeptical regarding claims by suspended players that they plan to sue supplement manufacturers.  But that’s because, in the highest-profile case we can recall, the player (Shawne Merriman) claimed that he no longer had the container of the supplement that allegedly was spiked with the steroid Nandrolene, and he refused to identify the name of the supplement.
More than two years later, Merriman still hasn’t sued.  Which likely means that he never will.
In this case, if an analysis of StarCaps reveals that it contains Bumentanide, there could be trouble for the manufacturer.  If it doesn’t, the folks who are pointing a finger at StarCaps (and we’re just the messenger here) could be asking for a defamation lawsuit.
Meanwhile, the players could have avoided this problem by using only those supplements on the league’s approved list.


  1. “Meanwhile, the players could have avoided this problem by using only those supplements on the league’s approved list.”
    That’s true, but if what they’re taking doesn’t include any of the substances banned on the “Do Not Take” list then why is that a problem? That’s like saying that if the NFL approves the use of Motrin that players should take Motrin instead of taking generic Ibprofen.

  2. “That’s true, but if what they’re taking doesn’t include any of the substances banned on the “Do Not Take” list then why is that a problem?”
    It’s a problem precisely because of what allegedly happened– players took a supplement that wasn’t explicitly banned, and now it appears that possibly through lesser fault of their own, they’re in hot water. The point isn’t that they screwed up massively or anything, but that they could have played it safer, and now it seems like it might have cost them.

  3. I think it was Micheal Cloud that reached a settlement in a lawsuit with a manufacturer whose supplement caused him to be suspended.

  4. And wow, that Starcaps page sure does look professional. It’s understandable that NFL players who put a great deal of time and effort into their fitness regiment would be duped….the only product I’ve ever seen marketed in slicker way is the ShamWow!

  5. I don’t understand why any player would risk taking something that’s not on the pre-approved list. If there’s some new supplement out there you have to have, why not spring for a bottle and then pay a lab to see if there’s anything in it that is on the banned list? It’s cheaper than forfeiting 4 game checks because you got suspended.

  6. I have to agree with both the Players and the league. Although the player thought they were ok, because the company basically lied about their product, they still ran that risk. That being said they didn’t knownly take the steroid. I’m guessing a 1 or 2 game suspension should be fine. Kind of a slap on the wrist saying this is the risk you take for taking a product that isn’t on the approve list.

  7. Bullshit. Companies that intentionally lie to sell their product should be sued and/or fined out of existence and the officers jailed, ESPECIALLY if that product is going into peoples bodies.
    Excessive corporate greed in this country no longer has any boundaries and needs radical reform. Ethics and honesty have been reduced to words in the dictionary.

  8. Certainly, if the company did in fact defraud users by including ingredients that aren’t known to the user, they deserve to be punished. But at the moment you have a bunch of people who got caught pointing the finger because it’s the easy thing to do. What happens if it’s determined that the product doesn’t include the ingredient?
    Either way, plausible deniability is not an excuse. Regardless of whether the players knew the banned ingredient was in their supplement or not, they still need to be held accountable at some level for knowingly taking a substance that was not on the approved list.
    And here’s another thought- I wonder if the company that makes the supplement has a special blend just for pro athletes that wouldn’t otherwise be available to the general public? It’s not beyond the realm of possibility, and if that is the case then wouldn’t the players be even more at fault?

  9. It’s possible for companies to claim a product is “all natural” as long as every thing in it is made from natural sources. The method is what matters, not the end product. Food items almost always use this trick when claiming to be “all natural”. They use natural things like herbs, roots, bark, vinegar, alcohol, fruits, vegetables, etc. It’s especially prevalent with food scents. Almost every thing we eat has a scent associated with it that is not natural.

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