The NBA announced that Orlando forward Hedo Turkoglu will be suspended for 20 games for violating the Anti-Drug policy. Turkoglu tested positive for the anabolic steroid methenolone, a banned substance he claimed to have took in the off-season while in Turkey.
Turkoglu said he took the pill for an injured shoulder to relieve pain. He also alluded that he did not know it was a banned substance and have never took any performance enhancing drugs during his career.
Haven't we heard this before?
From the USA Today,
Turkoglu also added, "As a player this is the worst situation you could be in. I just want to start (by saying) I'm sorry. I apologize the Devos family, the Magic Organization, my teammates, and, most importantly, my fans here and all around the world. This is a situation that I never wanted to be in. I'm sorry to be in this situation and I apologize to put the organization in this situation. I'm really sorry for everything that happened."
Hedo Turkoglu, the 33 year old aging veteran, is having his worst season is his career. He is averaging a career low 2.9 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in 11 of the Magic's 51 games this year.
Ironically, the last player to be suspended by the NBA for a violating the drug policy, was Rashard Lewis, who was also with the Orlando Magic at the time.
Magic's General Manager, Rod Hennigan, denied any connection and assured these incidents are purely unrelated.
Turkoglu's story is very similar to other professional athletes violated their respective leagues' anti-drug policies. Most of these athletes were towards the end of playing careers and were battling injuries, like Ray Lewis, Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and a host of many others.
Some athletes will cheat. It's that simple. They will do whatever it takes to create a competitive advantage. They will take banned drugs to significantly minimize injury recovery time.
The business of professional sports is a multibillion-dollar industry and I believe it's safe to say, performance enhancing drugs are here to stay.
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Eric N. Ellington