There may be a bit of a public outcry over the group of ten Menomenie (Wis.) high school football players who were suspended for the first three games of the upcoming season due to the fact that they drank an over-the-counter energy drink, but I think these student-athletes should have known better than to put the controversial substance into their bodies.
Far Cry From Red Bull
Make no mistake, the drink they were suspended for was a far cry from Red Bull or Coca-Cola purchased from a local convenience shop.
The boys made the decision to trot into a nutrition shop and purchase a Creatine Nitrate product called C4 Extreme, which is manufactured by the pro workout supplement company Cellucor.
The student-athletes may not have known that the product contained Synephrine, a substance that is considered "performance enhancing" and is banned by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association, but the "Explosive Workouts!" note in bold letters on the product packaging should have tipped them off that this is a potent drink.
According to a Yahoo! report, unnamed banned players claim that they had no idea that the drink included any banned substances at all, and assumed it would be safe because it was legally purchased at a local store.
Not so fast there, guys. A little online research, or perhaps consulting with one of the nutrition consultants at the store, likely would have revealed that C4 Extreme would land them in some hot water with the league.
Any athlete who grew up in the 1990s and early-2000s knows the word "creatine" is synonymous with former St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGuire, who used a combo of creatine and andro to bulk up into a home run slugger. That may be the first tip-off that C4 Extreme was a performance-enhancer.
They could have read the ingredient label or consulted with a store employee.
These athletes may claim they had no idea Synephrine was performance-enhancing, but perhaps their "inner voice" should have tipped them off that taking C4 Extreme wouldn't be in their best interest.
"I think if the boys would have read the label they would have known," Menomenie Superintendent Chris Stratton told the Leader-Telegram. "This product is being promoted commercially."
Stratton hit the proverbial nail on the head, as all the boys had to do was read the label and they would have known C4 Extreme contained ingredients banned by their league.
Olympians and pro athletes have to know exactly what they are putting in their bodies, and ignorance is not a legitimate defense if they are caught using a banned substance. Even if an athlete doesn't know something is a performance-enhancer, it's still their responsibility to take the blame. This should also be the case at the high school level.
Did these players deserve a pass for their behavior since they didn't know C4 Extreme contained a banned substance? Let me know in the comments.
Eric Holden has been covering high school sports since 2009. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.