Pro-Bowler and American Football Conference Player of the Year Robert Mathis has been suspended for four games this fall for taking a performance-enhancing drug, or PED, according to The Indianapolis Star
The NFL handed down the suspension on Friday after Mathis, who leads the league in quarterback sacks, admitted he used the banned drug Clomid as part of fertility treatments. The drug, which can be prescribed for men and women, is on the NFL’s list of banned substances.
The NFL said in a statement released Friday that Mathis didn’t follow protocols to inform the NFL, the players’ union or the Colts’ medical staff that he was taking the drug that can be prescribed to men for low testosterone levels.
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“The drug for which Mr. Mathis tested positive is not approved by the FDA for fertility in males and is a performance-enhancing drug that has been prohibited for years, “according to the statement.
Mathis’ personal physician, however, had reportedly told him the drug wouldn’t be a problem as it related to the NFL’s drug policy. Mathis and his wife were able to conceive another child who is due later this year.
“The incredible blessing of this very upsetting situation is that, after I took the medication very briefly at the end of last season, we learned that my wife is expecting a baby,” Mathis said in a statement. “We are thrilled that we will be welcoming a new member in several months, but I apologize to my teammates, coaches and Colts fans that I will not be able to contribute to my team for the first four weeks of the 2014 season.”
Barry Petchesky, writing for Deadspin
, said Clomid’s most popular contraband use is to jumpstart a man’s testosterone levels if they’ve been interrupted by steroids.
“It is one of the most popular drugs in the history of illegal performance-enhancing in sports, and has been for decades,” Petchesky wrote, adding that “it shows up again and again in baseball's PED users – most notably in the BALCO scandal. The bottom line: Any player should know to seek a medical exemption before using it. Mathis did not.”
Colts’ coach Chuck Pagano, who fought a battle against leukemia, said his team supports Mathis and will weather this latest setback.
"We love and respect Robert Mathis,'' he told The Indianapolis Star. "He's a horseshoe guy. He's a pillar guy. We've got his back. Everybody in this organization has his back and we'll get through this."
Mathis, 33, will be allowed to participate in all off-season work and preseason practices and games but won’t be able to play in four games that include a road game against former Colts’ quarterback Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
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