On March 25th, 2017 NBA player Joakim Noah was suspended by the NBA for testing positive for PED use. This occurred after Noah was found to have been using SARM’s.
SARM’s work similarly to traditional steroids on the androgen receptor (AR). Examples of SARMs are Ostarine and Andarine. They are also known to induce similar side effects that are common with anabolic steroids. SARM’s have just about everything in common with anabolic steroids minus the stigma attached to traditional steroids. But of course, just because the name has changed, doesn’t make the use of this substance legal among athletes. Joakim Noah learned this lesson recently. The United States Anti-doping Agency (USADA) cracks down on SARM use just the same as they would with anabolic steroids.
After his suspension, the NBPA launched an investigation. Their claim is that Noah has unknowingly used the substance. The NBPA is asserting that Noah cannot be held accountable for using a substance, that is often sold publicly in the form of dietary pills. Pills of this sort can be found at sports nutrition stores and health food stores alike.
The NBPA released the following statement:
“After a thorough investigation, The NBPA believes that Joakim Noah did not intentionally or knowingly violate any policy of the Collective Bargaining Agreement…“
The NBPA restated that it would be nearly impossible for Noah to have realized at the time, what he was putting in his body. They maintained that under new CBA regulation, he could have avoided suspension. The CBA appears to be quite understanding in cases when pills have become unadulterated or contamination is undisclosed.
As the son of Yannick Noah, a former professional tennis player, Joakim comes from a sports family. He has argued that ineffective dope testing is often the case. This faultiness in the system, he argues makes the situation worse than dope use ever has to begin with. His father has even stated that legalization of steroid use is the only way to ultimately solve this problem.
Yannick has previously started quite the controversy after throwing a large portion of Spain under the bus, by accusing it’s athletes of steroid use. He has made it clear that Spain’s state-supported doping attitude and pro-doping bent puts them at an unfair advantage. Especially above other European countries such as France. France is quite the opposite in terms of their attitude toward doping. Perhaps falsely accused Spanish athletes are now reveling in that Noah’s accusation toward them turned out to be true in the case of his own son.
Due to a knee operation, Noah was going to probably sit out the rest the season anyway. So the NBA’s anti-drug program has ruled it best that he serve his suspension for the first 20 games of next season. Their wishes are for Noah to undergo his suspension when he is physically capable of playing.
Jeff Hornacek, Knicks head coach, hopes to have Noah cleared to participate in practice after the season’s end. The team could not quite clinch a playoff spot, and perhaps coach Hornacek wants Noah to be fresh to prepare for next season. Willy Hernangomez, the team’s rookie center, could also use Noah as an experienced NBA player to practice alongside with.
The CBA is slated to be more lenient in the future toward cases like Noah’s where a player ingests something prohibited unknowingly.
Still, the NBPA stands by its claim that Noah never intentionally violated any code. Noah has repeatedly stated that he made a mistake. The case itself is a perfect test as to whether or not the new CBA regulation will turn out to be as understanding as it claims to.