Steroids is a problem that has plagued other professional American sports, most notably baseball.
But it was just a matter of time, really, until steroids made their way into MLS. On Thursday, they did as New York players Jon Conway and Jeff Parke were slapped with fines and suspensions after positive tests.
The two players tested positive for androstatriendione (ATD) and boldenone metabolites, according to a release, which are considered performance-enhancing substances.
Per MLS rules, each player has been banned for 10 games, including playoffs, effective immediately. They've also been docked 10 percent of their annual salary.
The release also says that both players purchased an over-the-counter nutritional supplement that contains ATD at "a vitamin store that is part of a national chain." Not sure what the intent of that information was but possibly they'd just like to be as detailed as possible. When you say steroids, after all, most people probably would think some sort of needle injection.
So what does this mean for New York? Well, Conway has started 28 of 28 games this season. Caleb Patterson-Sewell and Terry Boss split the goalkeeping duties in New York's last reserve match. Conway isn't the best 'keeper in MLS but it's a notch or three down from Conway to Patterson-Sewell and Boss.
As for Parke, only Seth Stammler and Kevin Goldthwaite have more starts among field players than Parke. Still, the club can probably absorb Parke's loss better than it can Conway's.
Perhaps the info about the national chain is to dissuade any fears about players possibly shooting up in the locker room. Maybe the two players made an honest mistake and took stuff without reading the labels too closely.
Still, steroids are steroids and professional athletes of all people should be careful about what they ingest, whether it's a plate of food at breakfast or nutritional supplements. Thus, the league was left with little choice but to follow procedure and ban the players.