Alabama responds to deer antler spray company controversy

Streeter Lecka

The Alabama Crimson Tide responded with an official statement and releasing cease-and-desist letters to the supposed distributor of deer antler spray.

The Alabama Crimson Tide released letters on Tuesday night to various media agencies in response to the story that a few Alabama players had been using the banned substance deer antler spray. The letters released contained cease-and-desist orders on multiple occasions to the supplement company S.W.A.T.S, which sells the spray.

Andrew Gribble has this snippet from the cease-and-desist letters, with Alabama compliance director Matt Self aiming to redirect S.W.A.T.S co-founder Christopher Key away from the Alabama student-athletes and to the athletic staff.

"Any future contact should be directed to the coaching staff, the athletics training staff, or the compliance office. Additionally, we ask that you not give or sell any product to our student-athletes. If they wish to use your product, they should obtain them through the athletic training staff and under the supervision of the athletic training staff."

The university also released its first official comments on the matter. Alabama's Assistant to the President and Associate Vice President for University Relations Deborah Lane released this brief statement that referenced the cease and desist letters.

"UA has been aware of this situation for some time, and we have monitored this company for several years," Lane wrote. "They have twice ignored cease and desist letters sent by our compliance office. We have maintained consistent education of our student-athletes regarding the substances in question and will continue to do so."

The current rumor seems to indicate that former Tide players, including defensive end Quinton Dial, linebacker Alex Watkins and Adrian Hubbard, met with S.W.A.T.S. co-founder Christopher Key in New Orleans a few days before the BCS Championship Game. Key would try and sell these players on the merits of deer antler spray and pills, all of which are banned by the NCAA because they're anabolic hormones that stimulate muscle growth.

Roll Bama Roll (our SB Nation Alabama site) takes aim the salient aspects of this discussion, which is the possibility of Alabama players receiving impermissible benefits.

PED's aren't the concern in this instance. NCAA football players are tested regularly, even if reports claim that sprays don't contain enough IGF-1 to result in a positive test. Alabama recently sent its third Cease & Desist letter. SWATS lost a $5.4 million lawsuit in 2011, and has mostly stayed out the spotlight, presumably to recoup losses and rebuild the clientele. The company currently operates out of a gym, owned by admitted ex-steroid user and pseudoscience guru Mitch Ross, along with his faithful a sidekick Chris Keys (charismatic, but hands on your wallet). Ivan Drago's scientists these are not. However, they do boast a bold client list, albeit somewhat unsubstantiated by recent press. While the chips and water are not banned substances, receiving impermissible benefits under NCAA bylaw 12.3.1.2 happens to be frowned upon.

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