Chris Colabello speaks about PED suspension: ‘I don’t have answers’
There’s one very familiar public-relations strategy that athletes who get busted or questioned about performance-enhancing drugs often use: Deny, deny, deny.
That isn’t the case, however, for Chris Colabello, the Toronto Blue Jays first baseman/outfielder who was suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball last week after testing positive for dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, an anabolic steroid more commonly known as DHCMT or turinabol.
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Speaking publicly Monday for the first time since his suspension, Colabello told his side of the story to Sportsnet, which, like the Blue Jays, is owned by Rogers Media. Colabello didn’t deny failing a test. He owned the fact that DHCMT was found in his system. Instead, he said over and over that he doesn’t know how it got there.
The story by Sportsnet’s Arden Zwelling is a well-balanced, must-read about PEDs in baseball and the process by which players are tested, fail and appeal. In the story, Colabello talks about everything from telling his teammates what was going on to the steps he says he routinely takes to make sure he’s not breaking MLB rules about supplements.
It didn’t work this time and Colabello can’t understand why, which was a recurring theme in the interview. There are a number of other fascinating quotes, so we’ll share a few:
On his failed test:
“I’ve never called into question the science. That’s not my intent,” Colabello says. “There’s no denying that my urine sample had this DHCMT-M4 metabolite in it. I don’t deny that.
“They found a trace amount of metabolite in my urine stream. And that’s the only thing I know for a fact. I don’t know where it came from. I’m still trying to figure out how it got there. It’s all I can do.”
On the day he was tested:
“I went in for pitchers’ and catchers’ physicals, knowing that there was a drug test and knowing that I had nothing to hide,” Colabello says. “I made the choice to go in five days early because, why wouldn’t I? There’s nothing for me to worry about. I don’t hide things. I don’t have to.”
When he found out he failed the test:
“I don’t think I’ve ever been more shocked, panicked and confused in my life. Literally the most gut-wrenching phone call you can imagine,” Colabello says. “Short of anything bad happening to my family, like death and illness in the family, this is literally the worst thing that anybody could do to me.”
On his personal journey to figure out what he thinks tainted his urine test:
He tells a story about his new dog, Clutch, a jet black French bulldog puppy he got in the offseason. Clutch got sick this winter and went on a variety of medications. Colabello had all of them analyzed to see if that was where the metabolite originated. He had Clutch’s blood and urine tested as well.
“I’ve sent every piece of medication and anything that was different in my life in. I’ve tried to examine or identify whether it was a hand cream, a toothpaste, a shampoo,” Colabello says. “I’ve looked into my mom’s medications for her health issues that she’s had over the last year. The extent to which I’ve gone to try to identify this is beyond bewildering.”
On the mystery of it all:
“Ultimately, I don’t have answers. I don’t have an answer to the timeframe of when it got in my body. I don’t have an answer to how long it was in my body for. Everything that I’ve asked or that I’ve tried to figure out, I don’t have an answer for,” Colabello says. “What I know is what I’m saying. That’s the only thing I can tell you for sure. It’s scary stuff. It’s scary to try to figure out where something came from when you don’t really know.”
On what’s next:
“I won’t rest until the day I figure out how this happened,” Colabello says. “The damage has already been done to me emotionally and mentally. I’m never going to get that back. I just need to figure out why. Figure out where it came from. And then go from there.”
Colabello’s failed test came in March and he wasn’t suspended until last week following an appeal in which he was allowed to present evidence on his behalf. He couldn’t present another reason the steroid was found in his system, so MLB suspended him.
[Previously: Chris Colabello to work with Frank Mir to fight PED suspension?]
Sportsnet’s story also includes a doctor who said the chances inadvertently ingested DHCMT are “highly unlikely.” Partially, because the drug is only available on the black market. So there’s almost no way it could have been accidentally mixed in something in a factory or accidentally put in a soap or shampoo.
There’s much in the fascinating Sportsnet piece, so head over there and give it a read.
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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz