The baseball players blame the manufacturer. The league blames the players. Who is accountable when a professional athlete takes a banned substance supposedly without knowing it?
Major League players J.C. Romero and Sergio Mitre say they unwittingly consumed androstenedione when taking substances that they bought at GNC. The most famous baseball player to use the steriod is Mark McGwire and this week the slugger was not voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Romero and Mitre say the ingredient was not listed on the labels of Halodrol from Gaspari Nutrition and 6-OXO Extreme from ErgoPharm. And that raises the question of liability. Mitre and Romero will not be paid while suspended for 50 days. Mitre may sue for lost wages and reputation. GNC says that the players are responsible for following league rules.
For the moment, the problem lies with the players. That could change, of course. Other athletes have gone to court over what they considered mislabeling. The message to athletes is clear: consume at your own risk. The lesson for manufacturers is still to come.