Ron Tillery broke the storyblog at 4:17 pm this afternoon.
The NBA announced that Mayo was suspended for violating the NBA’s anti-drug campaign. That was the official news but, unlike so many basketball related drug suspensions, this is not believed to be for illegal drug use. The violation is for an over the counter herbal drug called dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). This is available in health food stores and pharmacies.
Mayo’s suspension will begin Friday night in Philadelphia and continues until the last game before the All-Star break, coincidentally against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Mayo proclaims innocence in the matter. “I’m extremely disappointed that I’m going to miss the next 10 games as our team is making a push for the playoffs. I had no idea that the over-the-counter supplement that I took was a substance banned by the NBA. It was an honest mistake, but I take full responsibility for my actions.” Mayo told the Commercial Appeal. “I apologize to my fans, teammates and the Grizzlies organization for regrettably not doing the necessary research about what supplements I can put in my body.”
The suspension comes one day after Mayo was held scoreless in the Grizzlies loss to New Jersey.
DHEA is a natural steroid hormone produced in the adrenal gland, gonads and brain. DHEA is one of the most abundant circulating steroids in the human body. DHEA is most known for it’s ability to counteract depression but also has been linked to muscle building and performance enhancement in athletes. There has not been any conclusive evidence that DHEA is harmful to the heart or causes cancer in men but has been possibly linked to breast cancer in women. DHEA is marketed as an over the counter appetite suppressant.
Regular exercise has also been known to increase the level of DHEA in the body.
A bill was introduced in March, 2009 to label DHEA under the catagory of anaboic steroids but has not come out of committee as yet.
The Grizzlies are standing behind Mayo and publicly supporting him. Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley was quoted saying “He [Mayo] has unselfishly done everything we have asked of him, and we expect him to grow as a player and a person from the experience. He will continue to contribute to the organization during his suspension.”