He was a professional athlete. He was minding his own business. And he took responsibility for his problem, even if he did not think he caused it. Was he a famous American baseball, football or basketball star? No, he was a Swedish soccer player — and retired.
Goalkeeper Magnus Hedman was convicted of doping early this month in a Stockholm district court. According to one press report, police came upon his car and him at a gas station in May and found 55 tablets of stanozolol. That’s the same substance used by Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson; after he tested positive, Johnson was stripped of his Olympic gold medal and record in the 100 meter dash.
The cops did not charge Hedman with drug possession. No, the alleged crime was use of anabolic steroids after a blood test found traces of the substance in his blood.
The arrest and conviction would never have happened in the United States; because Hedman no longer plays professionally, no league would have tested him. In Sweden, though, use of anabolic steroids is illegal. And so the 36-year-old former member of two World Cup teams was tried, found guilty and fined the equivalent of $757, according to the Associated Press.
Hedman’s explanation of events sounds familiar to anyone who has followed reports of steroid use by Major League Baseball players. Hedman told the Swedish newspaper Expressen that the drug might have been in a nutritional supplement that he thought was a vitamin.
“I find it very difficult to assess when I made my mistake,” he told the newspaper. “I was unaware of it myself.”