Ray Lewis, linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, is accused of using deer-antler spray, a mist that contains a substance that is listed on the NFL’s banned list. Deer-antler spray is a product from Sports with Alternatives to Steroids, S.W.A.T.S. A S.W.A.T.S. co-owner, Mitch Ross claims that he talked with Lewis in the middle of October after the linebacker tore his triceps. Ross said that Lewis was interested in a speedy recovery that would have him back on the field by the super bowl, in which Ross proscribed deer-antler spray, a spray that also comes in pill form as well, along with many other products.
The spray is said to contain IGF-1, which is a hormone that stimulates muscle growth and is the substance that is banned by the NFL. Christopher Key, the other co-owner of S.W.A.T.S., explains it like this, “You’re familiar with HGH, correct? It’s converted in the liver to IGF-1. We have deer that we harvest out of New Zealand. Their antlers are the fastest-growing substance on planet Earth . . . because of the high concentration of IGF-1. We’ve been able to freeze dry that out, extract it, put it in a sublingual spray that you shake for 20 seconds and then spray three (times) under your tongue. . . . This stuff has been around for almost 1,000 years, this is stuff from the Chinese.”
A professor at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Roberto Salvatori believes it is not scientifically possible to take IGF-1 orally. Salvatori is quoted in a newspaper article, “If there were, a lot of people would be happy that they don’t need to get shots anymore. It’s just simply not possible for it to come from a spray.”
The Ravens vice president of communications, Kevin Byrne told ESPN, “(Lewis) denied using the substance discussed in the article, and we believe him.” Byrne also added, “Ray has been randomly tested for banned substances and has never failed a test. We have never been notified of a failed test. He has never been notified of a failed test.” Ravens head coach, John Harbaugh also supported this when he said, “Ray has worked incredibly hard to get back. I would hate to see anything diminish that. My understanding is that he’s passed every random substance test that he’s taken throughout his career.”
But it is interesting to know that Mark Schlereth explains in a blog on ESPN.com, “The NFL Players Association said the league does test for IGF-1, the banned substance found in deer-antler extract, but the NFL said it is not detectable with the league’s current testing methods.”
There are so many questions to this story. Is Ross making up this story to get publicity for S.W.A.T.S. products because Ray Lewis had a speedy recovery from an injury? Is Ross telling the truth and Lewis is just denying it because he is scared of what might happen – deny, deny, deny? Ray Lewis had an injury and worked hard to come back from this. It would be sad to hear that he took a performance enhancing substance to do it. If Lewis did make this comeback authentically and legally this is an awful rumor to start but I guess one to be expected because he is one of the best linebackers in the league, some would even place him as number one. I feel this story breaking in the time that it did, just days before the super bowl, is going to distract Lewis and play a part in his game time performance. I mean how could it now? There are now going to be a lot more eyes on him and a tremendous amount of pressure. Lewis is going to have to work even harder to stay focused during this important game on Sunday.