Saints fullback Heath Evans is the latest NFL player to admit using the product “The Ultimate Spray” which has been in the news lately for a few reasons.
Rams linebacker David Vobora won a $5.4 million judgment against the spray’s manufacturer because the company misled Vobora about the contents. Vobora tested positive for a banned substance and was suspended.
The NFL also sent a letter to Raiders coach Hue Jackson and a number of other players that were featured on the website for SWATS, the company that makes the product. They wanted Jackson and the players to dissociate with the company.
The product claims to contain IGF-1, which is a banned substance. Yet “The Ultimate Spray” isn’t on the NFL banned substance list and they can’t test for IGF-1.
Confused yet? So are we and it speaks to the difficulties of drug testing in this era.
“Without the blood test, there would be no conclusive evidence,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told Yahoo. “But we’d like to test for it. If we could establish a player was using IGF-1 through whatever means, that player would be subject to suspension. Same with growth hormone.”
The company says the product contains IGF-1, but that’s apparently not enough.
Evans, meanwhile, believes the deer velvet extract in the spray helps. He used it previously in the 2008 preseason and believes it helps with recovery.
“Here’s the thing about IGF-1,” he said. “It almost becomes a bad term, but it’s found in your body. It’s found in foods. There will be people saying, ‘You’re taking growth hormone.’ But no, it’s deer antler. . . . It could be [that] one day Roger Goodell says, ‘You can’t take this stuff,’ When they add [deer antler] to the banned list, I won’t take it anymore. Until the NFL adds it to the banned substance list, I’m not sure why anyone wouldn’t take it.”
Look, we’re not saying that “deer antler” is necessarily a bad thing at all. It’s used in Chinese medicine. But this entire story is an example of how confusing the drug policy can be.
The NFL should make their stance on the product and S.W.A.T.S clear. Vobora’s career was hurt by his positive test and we’d hate to see guys like Evans hurt in the same way if the league determines that taking a product that contains IGF-1 is not allowed.