Wondering what the image above is? It is the chemical make-up of androstatriendione, the substance that led to the suspensions of Red Bulls goalkeeper Jon Conway and Jeff Parke. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s because it is an obscure chemical compound that isn’t even tested for by most professional leagues in the United States.
So how did this unknown substance lead to a pair of record suspensions? Major League Soccer has adopted a drug testing policy it has long championed as one of the strictest in professional sports and it proved it this week, with its 10-game ban for Conway and Parke.
So what is androstatriendione (ATD)?
It is a substance that, once ingested, can produce the steroid boldenone. Androstatriendione is a substance that can be found in over-the-counter nutritional supplements and one that Red Bulls head trainer Rick Guter stated came from a supplement taken by Conway and Parke, a supplement that did not include ATD in its list of ingredients.
Androstatriendione itself is not a steroid, but can produce a steroid in some people who ingest it.
Neither the club or MLS is going to identify the supplement because of legal issues, but it is clear that there are concerns about store-bought supplements being contaminated with substances that can produce steroid-like effects.
Here is my question. Do you think a 10-game ban is fair or too harsh for a substance that isn’t even tested for by the nation’s three major sports?
Share your thoughts below.