I remember a certain blogger who has been ragging on the NFL...something about...you're next. (pat self on back) Where there is money or glory...there will be doping until we put the harshest of standards into practice. Here is another example of the rampant doping in popular American sports. The most interesting thing about this case is that Mr. Subblefield admitted to using EPO which is a first for the "power" sport of football.
If you think this is over...heck, we're just warming up.
Did you know that baseball had 12 TUEs for Ritalin until it baned the use of uppers? The following year....167 TUEs for Ritalin (a stimulant). Coincidence?
Courtesy of ESPN.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Dana Stubblefield, a four-time All-Pro lineman who played 11 seasons in the NFL, is expected to plead guilty Friday to one count of lying to federal agents when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs as part of the ongoing BALCO steroids saga.
Stubblefield, 37, was one of at least eight National Football League players who testified in the fall of 2003 before a grand jury investigating the distribution of performance-enhancing drugs to elite athletes in the NFL, Major League Baseball and track and field. However, prior to his testimony, Stubblefield met with Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative lead investigator Jeff Novitzky of the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigations Unit and lied three times during the conversations, according to court records.
The records state Stubblefield lied when he said:
• He had neither seen nor ingested the designer steroid known in the case as "the clear."
• He had neither seen nor injected the oxygen-boosting drug EPO.
• He said he had never received either item through BALCO.
Stubblefield was suspended by the NFL in 2003 while playing for the Oakland Raiders, after testing positive for THG, also known as "the clear." Also, according to the documents, he tested positive in 2002 for EPO, as part of BALCO's screening process to research whether performance-enhancing substances would be detected. The NFL, which has come through the past several years largely unscathed by a stream of steroid scandals in other sports, did not test for EPO at the time.
This year, the league announced it was adding EPO to its list of banned substances.
The NFL sent a letter dated Nov. 7, 2003, notifying Stubblefield of his positive test for THG; a week later, he sat down with federal agents and made his denials, according to the court records.
Stubblefield was at the Phillip Burton Federal Courthouse in San Francisco on Friday to register his plea. The maximum sentence is five years in prison,; but, based on sentencing guidelines and other cases, he's likely to receive anywhere from no jail time to six months.
The plea agreement with Stubblefield marks a continuation of the ongoing third phase of the BALCO probe: The government going after athletes and coaches it believes lied during the investigation. Last week, Marion Jones was sentenced to six months in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of lying to federal agents. One of those charges was connected to her claims to BALCO investigators she had never used performance-enhancing drugs.
Still pending are three additional cases. The most notable of those is home run king Barry Bonds, who faces four counts of lying to the BALCO grand jury and one count of obstructing justice. As well, track coach Trevor Graham and cyclist Tammy Thomas have been charged with perjury in connection to the probe. All three have pleaded not guilty.
Stubblefield played his first five seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, beginning in 1993. He was a key part of their Super Bowl champion team in 1994 and was named the league's defensive player of the year in 1997, when he had 15 sacks. Stubblefield played the next three seasons for the Redskins, returned for two more years in San Francisco and then retired after a season in Oakland. That last season was when the BALCO case became public.
In 2005, Stubblefield began working as an assistant football coach at Valley Christian High School, a powerhouse in San Jose. When asked at the time about the lingering question of his connections to BALCO, Stubblefield told the San Jose Mercury News, "That's over with, man. I'm not here to talk about that." Both the team's head coach and its athletic director said at the time that they were satisfied Stubblefield had addressed all of their questions regarding BALCO.
"What kids are going to see when they get to know Dana is a Christian role model, a man who is on a path like us," athletic director/defensive coordinator Eric Scharrenberg told the newspaper.
A person answering the phone at the Valley Christian athletic department Friday said the school would have no comment.
Mark Fainaru-Wada, co-author of "Game of Shadows," is a reporter for ESPN. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. ESPN's Pedro Gomez contributed to this report.