Romero's $1.3 Million Mistake
Phillies lefthander J.C. Romero spoke with reporters this morning just outside the batting cages at Bright House Field, where he addressed his 50-game suspension for violating baseball’s policy against performance enhancing substances.
“Fifty-two dollars cost me $1.3 million,” he said, referring to the supplement he said he purchased at GNC in Cherry Hill that caused him to test positive.
“This offseason was the longest and the most frustrating offseason that I’ve had in my career. But you’ve got to roll with the punches and deal with the situations that life brings. But I’m still standing. It’s tough, but I don’t wish this on nobody. I guess I have to pay the consequences for something that I know in my heart … I didn’t do nothing wrong. It’s still tough. It’s hard to swallow, but I know in the end I’m going to be all right.”
Here is some of what Romero said:
On potentially taking legal action against the company that made the supplement because it didn’t have the banned ingredient on the bottle: “That’s something we might do. We’re trying to be smart about this whole situation. I don’t know if you guys are familiar with the company, but I found out they got shut down by the feds a week after my situation because they found out they were doing something illegal.
On strength and conditioning coordinator Dong Lien recommending he shouldn’t take the supplement before he tested positive: “We talked about it. Nothing about the 1-800 number was said. It was something where he said, ‘If I were you, I’d try to find a second opinion.’ That’s what was said in the conversation. I guess to the arbitrator that wasn’t enough. You guys have to understand, I’m not being accused of taking steroids, I’m being accused of negligence. It’s for you guys to decide what negligence means. I have my nutritionist, I have my strength coach. I took my supplement to another person to make sure the label didn’t have anything that shows any kind of bad substance. Someone else was doing something illegal. It’s just very unfortunate that I’m on the one paying the price.”
On what he could have done differently: “I guess calling that 1-800 number that they talk about so much. It’s a 1-800 number that I guess the guys have to call. I talked to some of my teammates and they say that it takes forever. But I guess that’s the only thing that I would have done differently. Other than that, I would have continued doing the same thing that I’ve been doing. And I’m honestly going to continue to do the same thing this year as well. I’ve always been very careful with what goes in my body. It’s just very unfortunate that I ran into a supplement that apparently was contaminated with something that wasn’t legal, but that was beyond my control.”
On the union telling you that it was OK to buy supplements at GNC: “Yeah, pretty much. Since all this mess started, that’s what they make sure they emphasize to us. I think to the Latin players, the simple fact was they (said) they weren’t responsible for the supplements that you buy in Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, so I guess that’s why they wanted us to make sure we buy it over here in the States. Before this case, they didn’t have any reason to believe that somebody could test positive offer supplements bought at GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, etc.”
On if the union let him down: “That’s for you to decide.”
On if he still plans to get supplements on his own: “I’ve been fine the last three years with all of the supplements I’ve been taking, my amino acids and that stuff. It was just me being lazy one day and now we’re sitting here talking about it.”
On the suspension being excessive: “It’s ridiculous. I keep saying it. I don’t think I should be suspended 50 games. It doesn’t make any sense to me. They have some rules they have to follow, and it’s very unfortunate that I have to be the one paying the price. In my mind, I think it’s insane. I think it’s unfair. I’m being, they say, negligent, but then I’m being accused as somebody who takes steroids. That doesn’t fly too well. But it is what it is.”
On the union not informing him of the 1-800 number: “They probably did, but you’ve got to understand, we have meetings at 7:30 in the morning, 8:30 in the morning in spring training. You could take most of the people here, 8:30 in the morning, their boss starts talking, they’re not going to pay attention to everything they say. I would be asleep. I’m not saying they didn’t say that to me, but I would say I didn’t know anything about an 800 number. And I didn’t have any reason to believe I was doing anything wrong because I was very careful from the get-go. The system was in place. I was very careful about it. I was trying to do things the right way because I didn’t want none of this to happen.
More to come …