The co-owner of the company that gave deer-antler spray to Alabama football players contends he saw them using it. Christopher Key, a part-owner of Alabama-based SWATS, told ESPN.com that he watched approximately five Crimson Tide players use the banned substance in the days leading up to the 2012 BCS national championship game. "I showed them how to use it," Key said. The company also provided the substance, which contains the banned IGF-1, to Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, who this week at the Super Bowl has denied using it. Key claimed that about 20 players bought the spray at a hotel room in New Orleans and that he sold an additional 20 bottles to other Alabama players at an apartment about 10 days before the game against LSU, according to ESPN.com. The story was first reported by Sports Illustrated. SI.com learned that that former Crimson Tide defensive lineman Quinton Dial made a YouTube testimonial for the product and current players Adrian Hubbard and Alex Watkins also were part of a sales pitch. Key also said he sold about 20 bottles to LSU players before a regular-season game in 2011 with Alabama and healing hologram chips to Auburn players during the school's national-championship season. Alabama, LSU and Auburn have tried to get Key to stop using player testimonials. "But you can't tell me I can't talk to your players," Key said. "We live in a free country." Alabama issued a statement Tuesday night, saying, "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." Key told SI.com that the spray works similar to HGH, stimulating muscle growth and speeding recovery from injuries. "I'm not trying to get anyone in trouble," Key said, according to ESPN. "The whole idea is to compete without cheating. We're not bad guys."
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Alabama football
- BCS national championship game