Skip to content

Marlon Byrd is pretty open about his PED suspension

Jan 27, 2014, 11:46 AM EDT

marlon byrd getty Getty Images

Marlon Byrd was suspended for PED use in 2012 and, after a surprisingly productive 2013 season, people still whisper about him.  But he’s pretty open about how he tested positive and why and doesn’t shy away from it. From CSNPhilly.com:

“Guys that don’t like talking about it are the guys that were trying to beat the system. I wasn’t,” he said. “I was just stupid, I took something, didn’t do my due diligence, simple as that. So it’s easy for me to talk about. First time I talked about it was easy.”

If you read the explanation of his positive test and believe it — and there is no obvious reason not to believe him — it definitely makes you wonder if all of the talk for 100-game bans or even lifetime suspensions for first time positive tests is anything close to a good idea. Sounds like quite a bad idea, actually. Because for every evil cheating no good A-Rod everyone is so hot to punish, there’s going to be one or two Marlon Byrds or J.C. Romeros who just made a mistake and almost certainly didn’t benefit from much in the way of enhanced performance as a result.

  1. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Jan 27, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    Marlon Byrd is the worst thing to happen to baseball and should be deported to Antarctica to play winter ball. Or castration. Maybe we should just skip the suspensions and turn all PED users into Eunuchs.

    • stex52 - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:37 PM

      There you go again. Going easy on PED’s users.

      • kcfanatic - Jan 27, 2014 at 8:47 PM

        Joe McCarthy treated Hollywood blacklisters better than BBWA and the public are treating PED users, known or otherwise

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:51 PM

      I’m trying a little experiment. What would happen if everyone treated all PED users the way they treat A-Rod. So far it’s going as expected.

      • greymares - Jan 27, 2014 at 1:33 PM

        A Rod’s being treated very well he’s still allowed to breathe.

      • jeffbbf - Jan 27, 2014 at 2:59 PM

        What would happen if everyone treated baseball the same way ARod did?

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Jan 27, 2014 at 3:18 PM

        I imagine people would see the ridiculousness of the anger and hatred, and grow tired of it. They would probably realize that a person doing steroids is NOT the end of the world, and while we should be angry that he cheated, we should also probably spend more of our time and efforts focusing on actual, real threats to the game.

        Or maybe not.

      • kcfanatic - Jan 27, 2014 at 8:51 PM

        greymares – Don’t be an F-ing idiot.

        He cheated on a game. Many did before, and many still are.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Jan 27, 2014 at 9:30 PM

        Replace Marlon Byrd with A-Fraud and I guarantee my original post would have the thumbs in the opposite direction.

    • cohnjusack - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:59 PM

      Why would they have winter ball in Antarctica? Don’t they usually have it in warm climates during the winter because it’s too cold to have baseball here? Jesus man, get your life together.

      The castration party is wholly reasonable though.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Jan 27, 2014 at 1:20 PM

        You. You just get me.

    • apkyletexas - Jan 27, 2014 at 4:25 PM

      Marlon Byrd is truly the devil incarnate. It’s unfortunate how he’s completely ruined baseball.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Jan 27, 2014 at 4:50 PM

        If he had any class at all he would have retired and just gone away.

  2. davidpom50 - Jan 27, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    I wonder if the threat of a 100 game ban for a first test would’ve given Byrd a little more incentive to “do [his] due diligence”? I’m guessing probably not, but whatever the case, seems like he’s someone the league & the union should talk to if they are considering harsher 1st infraction penalties. It’s rare to find someone as open about PED mistakes.

    • jeffbbf - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:43 PM

      Yup – stupid conclusion to the post. Before taking any substance you not completely sure is not banned per the agreement, get the sign-off. It’s not good enough to ask for forgiveness before asking for permission. Wait the extra day or 2.

      • themanytoolsofignorance - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:47 PM

        I believe JC Romero did his due diligence and still got suspended. The rules need to be as they are to recognize that testing isn’t perfect and even scrupulously doing your research before taking something might still land you with a positive test.

      • jeffbbf - Jan 27, 2014 at 2:46 PM

        JC Romero was cleared to take his “supplement” by 2 nutritionists who did not have the authority from MLB to do so. Not exactly due diligence

  3. chip56 - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    The “due diligence” excuse is just lame. How many trainers and conditioning coaches does the typical organization employ? 50? You mean to tell me that a player would rather take his chances at GNC or an “anti aging clinic” than ask for help if he’s looking for legitimate means of nutritional enhancement?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:43 PM

      Trainers or any medical professionals aren’t going to have any more insight behind a supplement than the average lay person. Since supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, they aren’t required to list every ingredient. The only way you could be absolutely sure is to chemically test every bottle.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:54 PM

        In addition, since there are no regulations on supplements or their manufacture, there is no incentive to maintain clean working conditions. It’s entirely possible one batch becomes tainted because some equipment wasn’t properly sanitized between batches.

      • davidpom50 - Jan 27, 2014 at 1:09 PM

        I believe the NFL has a program that WILL chemically test any supplement for the players at no cost. Doesn’t fix problems with tainted individual batches, but at least it’s something.

    • themanytoolsofignorance - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:48 PM

      See the interesting case of JC Romero and then get back to us with this line of reasoning.

    • Francisco (FC) - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:52 PM

      If you read J.C Romero’s story you would find that even the trainers and MLBPA hired people aren’t perfect. Romero went on to sue the manufacturer for not putting the complete list of ingredients on the label. I believe the manufacturer settled and Romero got his court payday.

  4. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    Because for every evil cheating no good A-Rod everyone is so hot to punish, there’s going to be one or two Marlon Byrds or J.C. Romeros who just made a mistake and almost certainly didn’t benefit from much in the way of enhanced performance as a result.

    Byrd, who signed a two-year, $16 million deal to become the Phillies’ rightfielder, was suspended for 50 games in 2012 for testing positive for Tamoxifen, a chemical found in the medication Nolvadex, which Byrd was using to reduce the excess tissue in his breasts. Tamoxifen was banned by MLB and Byrd paid the price.

    Does Byrd have a hormonal imbalance, or any other explanation of why he’d be taking a medication that controls excessive estrogen levels? Because excessive estrogen is one of the side effects of steroid use.

    • chadjones27 - Jan 27, 2014 at 2:06 PM

      Gynocomastia isn’t always caused by an increase in estrogen due to testosterone maskers. It’s a legitimate diagnosed problem and Tamoxifen is a common drug prescribed to treat it. So your assumption of steroid use is off base without any proof besides “Because excessive estrogen is one of the side effects of steroid use”.

    • raysfan1 - Jan 27, 2014 at 2:11 PM

      Gynecomastia can also occur as a side effect of a lot of theory medications, including some pretty common antihypertensive agents. It can also be hereditary. It can also occur as a result of liver or kidney disease.

      Without more indication of steroid use, I’d let it go.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 27, 2014 at 2:21 PM

        [responding to both of you]

        I fully understand it’s a side effect of other things. But Craig’s note that Byrd’s explanation clears it up is the exact opposite. hCG is a drug prescribed to men who have low testosterone. Yet when Manny failed a drug test due to hCG being in his blood, everyone laughed and said it was a symptom of steroid use. This is just as possible as Manny’s, yet people want to give Byrd the benefit of the doubt.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 27, 2014 at 3:05 PM

        Just making sure we’re on the same page–the 2009 suspension was for hCG, I don’t know if it was ever said what the 2011 suspension was for. If they did, I don’t recall it.

        As you know, COPO, I like to have as much evidence as possible before I start condemning someone. Could Byrd have been cycling steroids and/or using Tamoxifen as a treatment for a side effect of steroid use? Yes. My only statement is that there are also other reasonable explanations, and I decline to think the worst of him without more evidence.

        With Ramirez, hCG also has other uses besides stimulating natural testosterone production after a steroid cycle. One is as part if certain weight loss regimens (which haven’t been shown to work well, but that’s beside the point). However, I do not recall Ramirez stating he was doing something like that. I for one did not consider him a pariah at that point regardless. Still, any benefit of the doubt is generally lost with a second test. We will see what sort if pass Byrd will get if he ever tests positive again–I suspect none.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 27, 2014 at 3:43 PM

        Not talking about you specifically, but the public at large. Even I made the joke that, hey he’s getting up there in age so maybe he thought this was a last ditch effort to get himself pregnant.

        However, I do not recall Ramirez stating he was doing something like that. I for one did not consider him a pariah at that point regardless

        IIRC his only comment was that he was taking it under prescription from a doctor and he didn’t get a TUE for it. To me, we should have given Manny just as much the benefit as people are willing to offer Byrd.

      • tysonpunchinguterus - Jan 27, 2014 at 3:50 PM

        If he took that for a legitimate medical reason, he would have applied for a Therapeutic Use Exemption. If he’s saying that he didn’t check the banned substances list to see if his prescription required a TUE then it’s plausible that he didn’t mean to cheat. I’m not really sure I buy his, “I’m talking about it so you KNOW I’m telling the truth,” claims.

      • bh192012 - Jan 27, 2014 at 4:16 PM

        It’s really not that hard to bring the list in to your doctor and say “I’m a baseball player and I can’t have any of this.” That’s for the rookie level player. If you’re already making millions, then someone else can bring in the list for you. They can double check it even.

        It’s such a massive risk when you’re making millions, you deserve to loose your baseball carrer if you’re not being careful. Even if his use was legit, I don’t feel sympathy at all for him. Watching what goes into your body is now part of your JOB as a baseball player.

      • gunpowderjones - Jan 28, 2014 at 11:35 AM

        If it’s a side effect of a medication, Byrd could just say “it’s a side effect of (names medication he was on)”. Combined with his career year at age 35, I’m sorry – I don’t buy that he wasn’t taking PEDs.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 28, 2014 at 1:28 PM

        I don’t think he really owed any of us any explanation at all. He admitted he took something he shouldn’t have and acknowledged doing so wasn’t very smart. He also completed his punishment; for me that pretty much ends it so long as it doesn’t happen again.

        Sure, he could tell us all that he has high blood pressure, and his medication made him grow breast tissue. Or he could have said it runs in his family. Does it really matter? Some folk wouldn’t buy the explanation even then.

        Again, I acknowledge that it could all be BS, and he could be stuffed full of every steroid he can lay his hands on.

  5. ningenito78 - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:52 PM

    One of the few times I agree with you Craigy. You can’t have 100 games or a lifetime ban for one positive test. There’s too high of a possibility for accidental or naive injestion.

  6. chip56 - Jan 27, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    Trainers may not know all the ingredients but they will have a list of all league approved supplements.

    • clydeserra - Jan 27, 2014 at 3:03 PM

      Do they? Is there such a thing? Its not inclusive, that is for sure.

      • vanmorrissey - Jan 27, 2014 at 3:57 PM

        What, so their response is sure, go ahead and take it if in doubt, right? Stupid. Go to MLB itself with the medication, ask them directly. IF there’s no reason to hide. Believe the BS if you want.

  7. raysfan1 - Jan 27, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    When I was in the AF, the pilots were required to bring us any supplement they wanted use in order for it to be approved. Even that isn’t 100% though. I had one case where someone tested positive for a steroid–the person insisted they had only used their supplement from a certain national chain of stores that sells said supplements. We sent some of the tablets to the lab, and they tested positive for the same steroid.

    The safest thing for an athlete is to not use any supplements; however, if they do, it’s on them to ensure it won’t run them afoul of the PED rules.

    • tysonpunchinguterus - Jan 27, 2014 at 4:07 PM

      I don’t get how any professional athlete could NOT understand your point by now. Some powder or nasty shake from GNC isn’t worth the risk and the rewards can probably be attained naturally through dietary changes. If you want to build muscle, eat more protein. Have a ton of chicken, make your own shakes at home, etc. and you won’t have to worry about a supplement being tainted.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 27, 2014 at 7:09 PM

        These are the same guys who think rally caps, phighten necklaces/bracelets, slumpbusters, etc “work” so I wouldn’t be shocked that they are giant consumers of supplements.

  8. tfbuckfutter - Jan 27, 2014 at 2:53 PM

    Yeah, I buy his explanation.

    Old, awful baseball player. Suddenly resurrects his career.

    Definitely just a one time tainted supplement deal there.

  9. vanmorrissey - Jan 27, 2014 at 3:54 PM

    Wait, this is the guy who got suspended after being affiliated with Victor Conte so of course, he’s a baseball player, he’ll be suspended one for being stupid, another for not bothering going to MLB for a ‘legitimate’ reason to use so he could at least have gotten a waiver. Get real.

  10. byjiminy - Jan 27, 2014 at 9:18 PM

    Isn’t his defense exactly what most players say?

    I’m not saying he’s a liar.

    I’m saying his public statements provide no actual information about what he did or why.

    Seems sort of odd to just randomly believe one guy.

    If you said, “he’s lying! Just…because!” it would sound silly.

    Well, this sounds to me like, “he’s honest! Just…because!”

    I remember when Bonds went down, the general consensus was, thank god for A-Rod, at least he’s clean. And I kept thinking, how do you know?

    Oh well. At least we know Jeter is clean!

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Jackie Robinson Day is bittersweet
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. T. Wood (6660)
  2. J. Kubel (5928)
  3. I. Nova (5031)
  4. S. Kazmir (4730)
  5. K. Uehara (4066)
  1. M. Moore (3917)
  2. Z. Britton (3571)
  3. J. Johnson (3563)
  4. T. Walker (3544)
  5. J. Chavez (3232)