David Epstein and George Dohrmann file a devastating Sports Illustrated look (thanks reader Daniel) into the S.W.A.T.S. "alternatives to steroids" approach and it's not pretty.
One golfer's name comes up.
Modern science may scoff at holographic stickers and negatively charged water, but that matters little if the right athlete becomes a believer or, better yet, a proselytizer. The boundaries of medical science expand at too glacial a pace for many athletes desperate to enhance their performance. That desperation, in turn, represents a business opportunity for self ordained sports science entrepreneurs operating in the shadowy, multibillion-dollar athletic-supplement industry. Key had given some of S.W.A.T.S.'s chips to LSU players before their 9-6 victory over Alabama in November 2011; that helped him get an audience with the Tide players, who received some of the same S.W.A.T.S. products that outfielder Johnny Damon, golfer Vijay Singh and linebacker Shawne Merriman have used. S.W.A.T.S.'s most famous client, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, enters Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday after speaking with Ross in October to request items that would speed his recovery from a torn right triceps.
Well at least, wait what? Oh boy, here's the Vijay-possibly-admitting-to-using-a-banned-substance part:
Overnight, the tiny company that marketed itself as a legal alternative to steroids and that depended on player testimonials became as untouchable for pro athletes as an electric fence.
(Vijay Singh, however, remains a vocal supporter. In November, Singh paid Ross $9,000 for the spray, chips, beam ray and powder additive -- making him one of the few athletes who is compensating S.W.A.T.S. He says he uses the spray banned by the PGA "every couple of hours . . . every day," sleeps with the beam ray on and has put chips on his ankles, waist and shoulders. "I'm looking forward to some change in my body," Singh says. "It's really hard to feel the difference if you're only doing it for a couple of months.")
Many of the Champions Tour's finest endorse the company and its golf "chip." Mark Calcaveccia has previously had a run in with tour rules about the deer antler spray.
The painful testimonial video: