Ball Don't Lie - NBA


It's only fitting this shocking NBA news comes flying out of left field, seeing how frequently Major League Baseball and pesky steroid allegations have co-dominated our sports media coverage ...

The Orlando Sentinel's Mike Bianchi reports sources saying Orlando Magic All-Star forward Rashard Lewis(notes) will be suspended 10 games next season for testing positive for a testosterone-producing steroid.

In an apologetic statement just released, Lewis says he takes full responsibility for the situation, accepts the penalty and offers an explanation of how the substance ended up in his system.

"Toward the end of the season I took an over-the-counter supplement which at the time I did not realize included a substance banned by the NBA.

I apologize to Magic fans, my teammates and this organization for not doing the research that should come with good judgment.

I hope this unintentional mistake will not reflect poorly on our team and its great character.

I hope every athlete can learn from my mistake that supplements, no matter how innocent they seem, should only be taken after consulting an expert in the field."

I'll let you don your own "Judge Judy" robe, but Lewis' quick response makes me think this was an isolated, honest mistake. There are many banned substances on the league's list that can be found in common cold medications to vitamins to supplements.

In fact, as far as I can ascertain there have only been five players officially suspended for PED use in the NBA: Matt Geiger, Don McLean, Soumalia Samake (who I've actually never even heard of), Darius Miles(notes) and Lindsey Hunter(notes). (Thanks, Blazers Edge.)

The latest on that list, Hunter, a then-Detroit Pistons guard, was similarly suspended 10 games without pay in 2007 after testing positive for phentermine, a banned substance primarily used for weight loss. Hunter called it a "bonehead mistake," explaining he accidentally popped one of his wife's diet pill.

I'm sure Lewis feels the same — probably worse, knowing how much more money he makes than Hunter.

Update (via RealGM): According to Tony Dutt, Lewis' agent, the wiry gunner may try to appeal the 10-game suspension: "It was an over-the-counter vitamin supplement and an honest mistake. Ten games is a very harsh punishment for that one mistake. I'm going to talk to the Union and we'll go from there." 

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