NFL Diuretic Wars: The Great Pissing Contest

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NFL Diuretic Wars: The Great Pissing Contest

Earlier this year, eight NFL players tested positive for bumetanide, a potent loop diuretic banned by the NFL. Bumetanide, while not directly a performance enhancing drug, is a powerful masking agent.

As with all diuretics, Bumetanide dilutes urine, increases urine output, and in turn obstructs proper urine analysis.

All of the players suspended have, at this point, appealed their suspension or sued for time lost due to suspension. It appears as though the culprit in these suspensions is Star Caps, an "all natural" weight loss pill endorsed by Nikki Haskell.

One hundred capsules will set you back $80 plus shipping, which seems ludicrous considering the only listed ingredients are papaya and garlic.

The University of Utah tested Star Caps in 2007 and found it to contain near therapeutic doses of Bumetanide, yet it wasn't listed as an ingredient.

All of this poses quite a few questions without a single definite answer.

 

The Players Did Not Know That Star Caps Contained Bumetanide?

If this was indeed the case, there may be a larger problem in the NFL. If you take Deuce McAllister at his word when he says that he had been taking the StarCaps pills for at least four years, and that he had sent them in for testing when he began taking them, then there's a huge problem.

The question arises: Why are the players taking dietary supplements, regardless of the brand, to drop weight? Most teams have a minimum and maximum weight for positions and aside from McAllister, who's battled weight problems for the last few years, all of the other players suspended are offensive or defensive linemen.

Diuretics are included in many of the weight loss supplements because it's a quick and dirty way to immediately drop weight. However, it also dehydrates an NFL player, which is more disastrous than being overweight.

The NFL has banned diuretics not just for their steroid masking ability, but also due to the risk associated with dehydration.

For an NFL team to recommend a player lose weight without actively following up on how he is doing it is quite worrisome, especially with millions of dollars on the line. Teams obviously want their players in optimal condition, but the association of weight with condition seems rather out of touch with modern science.

The Supplement business has been essentially unregulated since Mr. Clinton decided that the FDA would have to prove a supplement to be unsafe, rather than the company proving it was safe. Many of the players suspended are suing the makers of Star Caps because it failed to properly list its active ingredients. 

Which, at least in theory, confirms that the suspended NFL players did not intentionally take Bumetanide.

The question that comes out of all of this is: Why the hell are so many players taking a weight loss supplement designed for middle-aged women?

 

The NFL Did Know That Star Caps Contained Bumetanide But Failed To Warn The Players?

There's rumors circulating that Dr. John Lombardo, an NFL scientist, had Star Caps tested in 2006 and found that they did contain Bumetanide. Furthermore, it is rumored that Lombardo contends, notifying the NFL and its players would lead to all positive diuretic tests being blamed on Star Caps even if a player wasn't taking them.

With the NFL potentially knowing the dangers of Star Caps in 2006 and the University of  Utah publishing similar information in 2007—Why were the players not informed?

The NFL does not have a  responsibility to list banned products, only banned substances. Under that category, a player should know what he is putting into his body. Whether or not a player should be held responsible for a mislabeled product is the question however: A question that will be answered shortly via the NFL hearings on this matter.

Once again we're left with one question: Why the hell are so many players taking a weight loss supplement designed for middle-aged women?

 

The Players Knew Star Caps Contained A Diuretic, Yet Chose To Use It?

Why Star Caps?

It appears as though this is one of those too good to be true products.

An NFL player must be at least competently intelligent, or at the very least, hire someone to be intelligent for him. If a player is looking to lose weight quickly, I'd imagine he'd stumble across hundreds of supplements in an attempt to find a weight loss program that is within NFL guidelines.

Someone stumbled upon Star Caps and was amazed by its results and word of mouth obviously spread. However, assume that you're an NFL player for just one minute, and you're looking for a supplement. The breakdown of supplements probably goes as follows:

  1. Supplements that you cannot take because they contain a substance banned by the NFL in their ingredient list.
  2. Supplements that are all natural, but do not work.
  3. Supplements that are all natural, the ingredient list shows no banned substances, and they work as well as group one supplements.

Any reasonable man would do what Deuce McAllister claims to have done; send away the product for testing. However, a quick look at the ingredients shows only Papaya and Garlic, which was undoubtedly reported to Deuce.

An NFL Player is smart enough to send a product away for testing, but he is not smart enough to just eat more garlic and papaya, instead of spending upwards of $120 per bottle of Star Caps? All of the dietary supplement reviews on-line list Star Caps as one of the largest rip-offs on the market that relies on Nikki Haskell's star power for sales.

If you assume all NFL players are rational human beings: None of this makes sense.  There is no reason for a 350lb man to take a bottle of weight-loss pills marketed to women. These players aren't rookies trying to make it, they're all veterans or Pro-Bowlers that are quite comfortable in their job.

While the suspended players may not have known that Star Caps contained a diuretic, or any other banned substance; they did know that Star Caps worked miraculously well for an all natural weight-loss supplement. Whether or not this purposeful naivety will be considered guilt, is up to Roger Goodell.

Of course, the players could have done what Dr. Lombardo feared. Once they knew that a weight-loss supplement contained bumetanide and expedited the excretion of steroid metabolites, yet was improperly labeled, they essentially had a free pass.

 

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