When I first heard this I assumed the Phillies reliever tested positive for steroids, and having been caught red handed he was issued the suspension. Apparently, the issue is not so clear. Romero says that he bought a supplemant from GNC, had a nutritionist check it, and since it had no warning labels was said to be fine. The Players Association had told players that the supplement was okay to use. He then tested positive for it twice, and disciplinary action was passed down. He appealed to an arbitration board, who issued a ruling against him. Since then, the players union issued a statement to players saying:
"We have previously told you there is no reason to believe a supplement bought at a U.S. based retail store could cause you to test positive under our Drug Program. That is no longer true. We have recently learned of three substances which can be bought over the counter at stores in the United States that will cause you to test positive. These three supplements were purchased at a GNC and Vitamin Shoppe in the U.S."
At the arbitration hearing, the MLB officials put forth a bottle of the supplement with a warning label on it saying that it may be banned by some athletic agencies. Romero provided the bottle he had, which had no such warning.
All in all, this really sucks for Romero. It seems like he really tried to do the right thing, and now has to miss nearly a third of the season. This doesn't seem like a Clemens style denial. Romero knows he took it, but the bottle had no warning, his nutritionist saw no problems with it, the players association said this kind of supplement was okay, and it was bought in a store not owned by Brian McNamee. I know baseball is oversensitive to the issue of performance enhancers now, but this is kind of ridiculous. First they spend years ignoring steroids as an issue in baseball, profiting from it even, and now they're coming down hard on players who take over the counter supplements.
UPDATE: I should punch Fox Sports' horse in the face. Their report makes Romero sound so guilty. Instead of using all the quotes from Romero, or at least the ones where he defends himself, they used all the ones where he says things like "I'm not guilty" or "I still cannot see where I did something wrong". They don't at any point talk about there not being a label on the substance, the players association telling him it was okay to use, his nutritionist saying it was okay. Way to go Fox Sports. If you didn't give us enough reason to hate you by not letting us watch our out-of-market teams on Saturday, or by forcing us to watch Saturday baseball on mute because of your commentators, you've also given us your purely one-sided opinions. Thank you for all your contributions to baseball.