NFL Player suing ALRI

POSTED 10:33 a.m. EDT, March 12, 2008

Former NFL player Obafemi Ayanbadejo, who has not played since he was suspended four games last year for violating the policy on steroids and related substances, has filed a lawsuit against a supplement company that he says is responsible for his positive drug test.
“I took a supplement that had a banned substance in it that was not listed on the bottle,” Ayanbadejo told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “I know a lot of guys have been using that excuse. But I said from the beginning that I was going to sue the company and make sure that whoever was responsible would face the music.”

Ayanbadejo, who says that even after serving his suspension the stigma of having failed a drug test kept other teams from signing him, is suing ALR Industries, the maker of the supplement that he says was tainted, and the Nutrimart store where he says he bought the supplement. The Union-Tribune could not reach either defendant. The supplement Ayanbadejo says he took, Max LMG, has been discontinued, and the Nutrimart is closed.

Although other NFL players, including Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman, have blamed their positive drug tests on tainted supplements, Ayanbadejo is believed to be only the second to file such a lawsuit. The first, former Patriots running back Mike Cloud, settled out of court.

Ayanbadejo’s lawyer, Jim Miller, says it is not clear whether the banned substance was intentionally added to the supplement or whether it was a result of an accidental contamination.

The NFL and the NFL Players Association encourage players to educate themselves about which supplements have been approved via the Supplement Certification Program. That program certifies certain supplements as not containing any banned substances, and containing only the ingredients listed on the label. Ayanbadejo apparently did not avail himself of the program.
The NFL does not view a tainted supplement as a valid excuse for a positive test. League policy says, “a positive test result will not be excused because a player was unaware that he was taking a prohibited substance.”

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