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Alabama players cited in SI story for using an illegal substance prior to the 2012 national championship

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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(USA Today Sports Images)

The same company that allegedly provided Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis with deer-antler spray as a supplement is now saying it also sold its product to members of the 2012 Alabama national championship team.

Christopher Key, co-owner of S.W.A.T.S, the company that makes the spray, said he personally witnessed players spraying the product in their mouths.

"I showed them how to use it," Key said.

Deer-antler spray contains IGF-1, which is banned by the NCAA.

“Nothing we offer them will make them fail a drug test," Key said. "This will make you heal faster. This will give you nutrients. There have been many clinical studies."

Sports Illustrated was the first outlet to break that several SEC players sought out S.W.A.T.S for deer-antler spray. Key said 20 Alabama players purchased the product in a New Orleans hotel room prior to the national championship win against LSU last year. He also said he sold another 20 bottles out of an Alabama player’s apartment about 10 days before the game.

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Key even taped the night in the hotel room with a pen camera and showed the video to SI. The video mentions former Crimson Tide defensive lineman Quinton Dial and current players Adrian Hubbard and Alex Watkins.

Tuesday night, Alabama issued a statement acknowledging S.W.A.T.S and deer-antler spray.

"UA has been aware of this situation for some time, and we have monitored this company for several years. They have twice ignored cease-and-desist letters sent by our compliance office. We have maintained consistent education of our student-athletes regarding the substances in question and will continue to do so."

Key, who doesn’t have a degree in science and whose business partner, Mitch Ross, who is a male stripper and an admitted steroid dealer, said their company does nothing but help athletes reach their full potential. In the SI interview, Key explained the benefits of IGF-1:

"You're familiar with HGH, correct?" asked Key, referring to human growth hormone. "It's converted in the liver to IGF-1." IGF-1, or -insulin-like growth factor, is a natural, anabolic hormone that stimulates muscle growth. "We have deer that we harvest out of New Zealand," Key said. "Their antlers are the fastest-growing substance on planet Earth . . . because of the high concentration of IGF-1. We've been able to freeze dry that out, extract it, put it in a sublingual spray that you shake for 20 seconds and then spray three [times] under your tongue. . . . This stuff has been around for almost 1,000 years, this is stuff from the Chinese."

SI reported that Alabama coaches were unaware of the transactions going on in the New Orleans hotel room while Key seems to be using the entire ordeal for publicity and not to alert the NCAA of any wrongdoing.

"I'm not trying to get anyone in trouble," Key said. "The whole idea is to compete without cheating. We're not bad guys."

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