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degreefanlindi
11-04-2004, 01:30 PM
By Kent Oswald
10/26/2004

Graydon Oliver, the 2000 NCAA doubles champion and current world doubles No. 56, begins testing his game in a new court. The 26-year-old Oliver, who failed a doping test at the 2003 Nasdaq-100 in Miami, filed papers Oct. 1 in Palm Beach Circuit Court against Barry's Vitamin and Herbs, a Boca Raton purveyor of food and health supplements. The case will address the business's responsibility for Oliver's suspension and its aftermath.

Papers filed by Oliver's law team from the Florida law firm of Adorno and Yoss allege damages in excess of $15 million dollars. Douglas Reynolds of that firm acknowledged that a better estimate of total damages will not be possible until after the legal team has reviewed documents gathered through the discovery process.

Results from mandatory drug testing at the Miami tournament noted the presence in Oliver's urine of the prohibited substance hydrocholorothiazide. While the ATP tribunal deliberating over his punishment accepted Oliver's explanation that the package labeling of a purportedly homeopathic Chinese herbal sleeping aid was misleading - for example, it did not note the presence of the banned diuretic, described as “not surprising given that the Prohibited Substance requires a doctor's prescription to be dispensed” - Oliver was still subject to the ATP rule that holds a player wholly responsible for what he ingests.

Oliver was judged to be a “reasonably prudent person [who should] not expect a prescription medicine to be present in the relevant substance when it is not legal for it to be in the relevant substance.” However, the decision regarding his punishment also reflected the tribunal's belief that “the Player placed undue reliance on his mother to engage in inquiries that could have been backed up by further consultation …” It was Oliver's mother Marie who purchased the contaminating “Relax-Aid”- after numerous discussions with the people in charge of Barry's that included explaining what constraints her son was under with regard to the supplements he could take and after receiving assurances about the safety of the particular product for him.

Involving neither a performance enhancing supplement nor any intent to deceive, Oliver's transgression was judged to have taken place under “exceptional circumstances” and so deserving of a reduced sentence. The tribunal also took into account Oliver's status on the tour, defining him as a “doubles specialist” whose suspension will hurt him even more than that for someone who plays singles due to the reduced opportunities for such players at tournaments due to the ATP's attempts to encourage more players to play both singles and doubles. Oliver contended before the tribunal that a three month suspension would end his career. He was given a two-month suspension, stripped of points and prize money - “without deduction for tax” - won at the Nasdaq. He was not penalized regarding the 29 tournaments he played between that tournament and when he began serving his suspension and returned to the tour in Barcelona on April 19, where he lost in the first round with partner Travis Parrott and earned $90 in prize money.

For the year, Oliver is 17-17 and has claimed two doubles titles following his return. In Beijing, he and partner Justin Gimelstob downed Alex Bogomolov Jr. and Taylor Dent in the final and in Bangkok, he and Gimelstob took the crown with a win over Roger Federer and partner Yves Allegro.

In a Miami Daily Business Review article discussing the case, Steve Elllman described Oliver's legal action as an attempt to be compensated for “lost past wages and future earning capacity, as well as for the costs of his defense in the ATP proceedings and for past and future 'pain, suffering and humiliation.'”

atatu
11-04-2004, 08:37 PM
15 million....well, that's absurd, but I guess that's part of the strategy.

norcal
11-05-2004, 10:12 AM
Interesting article. At least the ATP took all factors into consideration. I would hope by now players would not be fooling around with herbal supplements. And at 26 maybe it's time to cut the apron strings? And really hope the $90 in prize money was a typo.

Fee
11-05-2004, 10:44 AM
What's wrong with sending your mother to the drugstore for you, if she happens to be visiting you at a tournament that's close to her home?

Don't think that $90 was a typo. Doubles players just don't seem to be that important to the ATP any more. I fully support Graydon's decision to file this lawsuit.

Datacipher
11-05-2004, 04:23 PM
This is stupid. Will these guys ever enforce the rules properly? There are always "exceptional cirmcumstance"....they said the same !&@^#*$!% thing when Korda got caught...and his only excuse was "Doh, I have no idea where the drugs came from".

I'm with Lendl, ban for life excluding real "exceptional circumstance". We all see now, as was obvious at the time that Rusedski's defence was a sham. Like he hadn't heard about the supposedly contaminated tablets and was still using them! Give me a break...most of the people on this board had heard of them!

NOTE to players: DON"T TAKE ANYTHING. IT"S NOT THAT HARD. DON"T TAKE ANYTHING...DON"T TAKE MYSTERIOUS CHINESE POTIONS....DON"T TAKE BODYBUILDING SUPPLEMENTS....if you have a real problem...go to your Doctor....otherwise stick to a Centrum.

Max G.
11-05-2004, 05:04 PM
This is stupid. Will these guys ever enforce the rules properly? There are always "exceptional cirmcumstance"....they said the same !&@^#*$!% thing when Korda got caught...and his only excuse was "Doh, I have no idea where the drugs came from".

I'm with Lendl, ban for life excluding real "exceptional circumstance". We all see now, as was obvious at the time that Rusedski's defence was a sham. Like he hadn't heard about the supposedly contaminated tablets and was still using them! Give me a break...most of the people on this board had heard of them!

NOTE to players: DON"T TAKE ANYTHING. IT"S NOT THAT HARD. DON"T TAKE ANYTHING...DON"T TAKE MYSTERIOUS CHINESE POTIONS....DON"T TAKE BODYBUILDING SUPPLEMENTS....if you have a real problem...go to your Doctor....otherwise stick to a Centrum.

Not take anything? They're not allowed to take medications to relieve symptoms, if they have a cold? They're not allowed to take an herbal remedy to sleep better?

In this case, Graydon is completely innocent, I think. He bought the supplement, CHECKED THAT IT DIDN'T CONTAIN BANNED SUBSTANCES, and took it. Of course, he didn't account for the fact that the company that made it ILLEGALLY did not cite the substance.

Korda could have said the truth - he had no clue where the drugs came from. And how is he supposed to, if he doesn't send off everything to a chemical lab to be tested. Maybe the ATP should make a nice list not only of banned chemicals, but of banned products that have them?

degreefanlindi
11-06-2004, 05:39 AM
I don't have a problem with players taking legal supplements or over-the-counter medications..but there are no excuses or reasons why the player should not know what the medicine or healing product contains. Players today all have trainers and doctors..don't they monitor closely what goes into their bodies? Honestly, this is absurd. I realize the nutritional companies can sometimes not reveal what their products contain, but it's not too hard to figure these things out. The ATP tour has legal implications for such substances and there really is no excuse for a player being caught or slapped with a lawsuit.

Fee
11-06-2004, 09:32 AM
Most of the players that I know don't have personal trainers, they can't afford them. These are the same guys who don't always have their coaches with them when they travel. And since they spend so much time on the road, they are miles away from their personal doctors for most of the year.

You wrote: 'there are no excuses or reasons why the player should not know what the medicine or healing product contains.' Does that mean you are missing the whole point of this issue and the lawsuit? How many times have you purchased a Centrum Multivitamin or Cold-eeze or Echinacea? Do you KNOW what's in any of those products? Of course you don't, you only know what the label tells you. All of those products fall under the category of 'food supplement' in the United States and the laws that govern them are vague at best (Sen Hatch wanted it that way because he has a financial interest in a company that makes those products). Graydon read the label, he asked the employees of the 'health & nutrition store' where he purchased the product for their recommendations. He took everyone at their word and he suffered for it. The company was negligent and he is right to sue them.

Feel free to check out www.consumerlab.com and see what's in the pill bottles in your house (that Vitamin C may not really be Vitamin C....).

Datacipher
11-06-2004, 11:23 AM
How many times have you purchased a Centrum Multivitamin or Cold-eeze or Echinacea? Do you KNOW what's in any of those products? Of course you don't, you only know what the label tells you. All of those products fall under the category of 'food supplement' in the United States and the laws that govern them are vague at best (Sen Hatch wanted it that way because he has a financial interest in a company that makes those products). Graydon read the label, he asked the employees of the 'health & nutrition store' where he purchased the product for their recommendations. He took everyone at their word and he suffered for it. The company was negligent and he is right to sue them.
.

Taking a Centrum is a rather slight risk given the size and reputation of the manufacturer, IF it is contaminated, you would know exactly how you got it, and you could and should file a lawsuit and get your just rewards and ruin their reputation. Most cold remedies are fine...except those containing ephedrine. If you have a cold, suffer. The remedies are not cures, they only mask the symptoms, I haven't used one for 20 yrs...despite a few nasty colds. They pass. It's part of your job. Give me a break!

Graydon must be a total idiot, because the players are taught about these things, and ANYONE who has ever done any research on enhancement supplements, sports supplements, homeopathic medicine etc....KNOWS that these products are NOTORIOUS for having non labeled contamination. Whether on purpose or due to sloppy production. He asked the employees! GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!
A lot of these things even have small amounts of toxic substances!

Korda and Graydon most certainly have no "exceptional circumstance" who the frick after getting caught is going to say "Oh, I know exactly how it got in there!"

I do agree that Graydon, assuming he can prove that's where the contamination came from should take them to court! BUT the atp should throw the full weight of the rules against him, his actions were completely negligent.

Why would the moron take a homeopathic sleep remedy anyways? A young athlete should not have this problem, if he does, he should seek out NATURAL remedies, try some frickin warm milk OR see his doctor for a real PRESCRIPTION, the ATP allows for circumstance in which a legit doctor prescribes a legit substance.

To sum up....GIVE ME A BREAK!

Fee
11-06-2004, 12:17 PM
The players are taught about these things? By whom?

Many of the players take sleeping pills, its one of the ways they deal with the jet lag. Prescription sleep aids are probably the safest, but they are also powerful and can lead to grogginess. When it comes to over the counter preparations, MANY American consumers think 'all-natural' is the way to go (been to a cosmetics counter lately?) until they learn better, usually from personal experience. I would be willing to bet that at least a third of the people who are reading this thread have such a remedy in their house (glucosamine and chondroitin, echinacea, St John's wort, zinc tablets, etc, etc, etc.) Graydon is not an idiot, he's an average American consumer. Almost nobody does the kind of research you are suggesting, if they did, it wouldn't be a billion dollar industry in this country.

Is Michael Chang an idiot too? He endorsed 'Tiger Balm' products and those probably aren't worth the jar they are packaged in either.

Datacipher
11-06-2004, 01:58 PM
[quote="Fee"]The players are taught about these things? By whom?

Many of the players take sleeping pills, its one of the ways they deal with the jet lag. Prescription sleep aids are probably the safest, but they are also powerful and can lead to grogginess. When it comes to over the counter preparations, MANY American consumers think 'all-natural' is the way to go (been to a cosmetics counter lately?) until they learn better, usually from personal experience. I would be willing to bet that at least a third of the people who are reading this thread have such a remedy in their house (glucosamine and chondroitin, echinacea, St John's wort, zinc tablets, etc, etc, etc.) Graydon is not an idiot, he's an average American consumer. Almost nobody does the kind of research you are suggesting, if they did, it wouldn't be a billion dollar industry in this country.
[quote]

He's an idiot because he's a pro athlete subject to drug testing, not an average American consumer. If my job and livlihood depended on remaining drug free and you do start sticking homeopathic drugs into you....yes, you're an idiot. The average American consumer is not an idiot...just ignorant. No, I wouldn't have said that say 10 yrs. ago....but this is well known stuff as you know Fee. You're right, taking these things is folly...some certainly have an effect...because of course, natural or not...there are chemical substances in them. As you know, "natural" is just a selling point. Yes...drugs occur naturally...duh....lol. The ATP has a comprehensive program and literature to teach players these things. THEY ARE lectured and taught thoroughly about the drug policies and what not to do. If you even look at the drug policy wallet reference, you'll find the biggest writing to be a single page devoted to a message along the lines of "supplements are not monitored and are known to sometimes be contaminated"!

Fee
11-06-2004, 06:46 PM
Tell you what, instead of you and I arguing back and forth about what the players are told (or not), how about if I just ask a few of them? I'll let you know if I get an answer.

I only know what I know about homeopathic remedies because my husband listens to Dr Dean Edell on the radio everyday. This was not information that I was encountering on a regular basis a few years. I know this is not common knowledge because I have discussed it with many people (coworkers, recreational tennis players, people on other boards) and most of them seem quite surprised that any of these remedies could be contaminated (the most frequent comment is 'aren't there laws against that?'). Again, its a multi-billion dollar industry...

Speaking of 'common knowledge', we all know there is no such thing as a 'safe, healthy tan' right? (Except maybe those spray on thingies).

Datacipher
11-07-2004, 12:38 AM
Tell you what, instead of you and I arguing back and forth about what the players are told (or not), how about if I just ask a few of them? I'll let you know if I get an answer.

I only know what I know about homeopathic remedies because my husband listens to Dr Dean Edell on the radio everyday. This was not information that I was encountering on a regular basis a few years. I know this is not common knowledge because I have discussed it with many people (coworkers, recreational tennis players, people on other boards) and most of them seem quite surprised that any of these remedies could be contaminated (the most frequent comment is 'aren't there laws against that?'). Again, its a multi-billion dollar industry...

Speaking of 'common knowledge', we all know there is no such thing as a 'safe, healthy tan' right? (Except maybe those spray on thingies).

Are you even reading what I'm writing Fee?!!!!

NOW, I never said this was common knowledge to you or your friends, I SAID that PRO ATHLETE who's livlihood depends on such things who has done the MINIMUM research would know it. GEEZ, I already quoted the damn POCKET REFERENCE GUIDE....yes they actually put that part in GIANT LETTERS...so even if you don't read any of the guide you will know that.

Yes, rather than consult the actual ATP material or look into the ATP seminars given to all ATP pros....better for you to see if you can ask some and then let me know if you get an answer....gee, that will answer it for sure!

OK, THAT'S IT. YOU WIN. WE"RE NOT EVEN HAVING THE SAME CONVERSATION.

OH AND BY THE WAY FEE, YOU SHOULD LOOK INTO TANNING BEFORE DISMISSING IT. THERE IS SOME EVIDENCE THAT SUGGEST THAT THE FEAR TACTICS BEING USED IN REGARDS TO SUN EXPOSURE IS LEADING TO VITAMIN D DEFICIENCIES WHICH ARE KILLING PEOPLE. FURTHER, NOT EVERYONE IS EVEN IN AGREEMENT ABOUT THE EXACT NATURE OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN UV AND SKIN CANCER.

degreefanlindi
11-09-2004, 08:17 AM
I am not saying the company wasn't negligent in this case. I am just fed up with people these days constantly suing anybody. I think people are ultimately responsible for what goes into their bodies, especially in the case of elite athletes. No one forced the intake of anything..it was his choice. The product it out there and perhaps was targeted to a certain player or market, but the decision to buy and use the product is the consumer's. In other words, let the buyer beware. If we all sued for the products we used, what kind of world would that be?

norcal
11-09-2004, 01:15 PM
15 million in lost earnings. Hmm, at $90 bucks a tourney he's gonna have to play like 150,000 tournaments. Just think of all the frequent flyer miles!