I think that it can be said that the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative case isn’t the exclusive domain of Barry Bonds and MLB anymore; Paul Elias of the Associated Press reports that former NFL lineman Dana Stubblefield plead guilty to lying to investigators in the BALCO steroid case. This would make Stubblefield the first NFL player charged in the long-running federal investigation.
Specifically, Stubblefield, who testified before the BALCO grand jury in November 2003, was charged with making false statements to federal agents about using performance-enhancing drugs. The charges allege that Stubblefield lied to an IRS agent when he said that he had not used steroids linked to BALCO and further denied receiving steroids from BALCO founder Victor Conte. The plea deal calls for Stubblefield to serve anywhere between zero and 6 months in federal prison, although U.S. District Judge Susan Illston is not bound by those guidelines and can, in fact, sentence him up to 5 years in prison.
What probably did Stubblefield in more than anything else was he was one of 3 players fined by the NFL for testing positive for the drug THG; however, at that time, he was not suspended because THG wasn’t added to the NFL’s list of banned substances until the tests were administered. According to prosecutors, Stubblefield received notice from the League that he had tested positive for THG – also known as “the clear”.
Not a big deal for the most part, except that Stubblefield dug himself a bigger hole by telling IRS agent Jeff Novitsky that he never used that substance. Stubblefield also admitted in court that he lied when he said that he never ingested the drug EPO and that he had never dealt with Conte. I have this hunch/feeling that this is only the tip of the iceberg and as much as I hate to say it, I think more NFL players’ names will come up in this investigation. One name that I wouldn’t be surprised to see come up later on – former Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders linebacker Bill Romanowski.