Deer antler spray. You remember it most for the Ray Lewis controversy during Super Bowl week when reports surfaced he had used it to recover from injury to return in time for the Baltimore Ravens playoff run.
Obviously the most important part of that story is the deer antler spray contains an illegal substance known as IGF-1 that is on the NFL's banned substance list. It's also banned on the PGA Tour and while the headlines over Super Bowl week focused on Ray Lewis, golfer Vijay Singh found himself caught in the cross hairs of the deer antler spray fiasco.
In January, Singh told Sports Illustrated he had used the spray, but like most athletes, claimed he had no idea there were any prohibited substances in it. He expressed remorse and anger about putting himself in that situation, but has been quiet on the subject since.
It should come as no surprise the PGA Tour has also been quiet on the matter. When asked last week if there were any further developments in the decision to impose a suspension or penalty on Singh, the simple answer given was, "No."
Typical. We live in a society where doping in sports is rampant and the accused (and convicted) are persecuted for their decisions. The PGA Tour has not dealt with these kinds of issues before other than a brief stint with speculation surrounding Tiger Woods during his fall from grace.
The Tour's response to this issue could have been proactive and their investigation could have been done transparently, but they chose to take a wait and see approach like every other major sports organization and therefore their credibility in dealing with doping issues is now tainted for me.
One has to look no further than a quote from an interview Jim Nantz did with Sports Illustrated to see how the PGA Tour and it's cronies views golfs role in the world of doping:
SI: Are there steroids in golf?
JN: I would be shocked if there's anybody in professional golf doing that. Shocked. You hear, "They're hitting it so far." But golfers are not cheats. The guys up on the pedestal in our sport play by the rules. That's unusual in our society. It's beautiful.
SI: Not one guy using steroids?
JN: One guy can cause a scandal. The fans would be devastated. But there's not a scandal and there's not going to be one. We should not even breathe a hint of suspicion; it's a nonissue.
Nantz is arguably the most recognized voice in all of golf. In the eyes of fans, he is one of the foremost authorities of the golf media. What he says carries weight. Yet, he is blind to the grip performance enhancing drugs can have on athletes, even in golf.
Nantz fancies himself a journalist and if this is his "objective" view on doping in golf, it's no surprise the PGA Tour simply says "no" when asked about whether or not any developments have been made in it's doping case with Singh.
The PGA Tour says it's golfers are honorable and point to them policing their own scorecards during rounds as evidence of that, yet the Tour fails to police its own doping policy at the first sight of a problem.
Same old doping story, just a different sport.