New York Daily News

Conte tells News he’s not supplier for banned Byrd


MAJOR League Baseball slapped Marlon Byrd with a 50-game suspension on Monday after the outfielder tested positive for Tamoxifen, a drug that counteract­s one of the more embarrassi­ng side-effects of steroid use — gynecomast­ia, also known as “man boobs.”

Byrd, a 2010 All-Star, worked closely with BALCO founder Victor Conte from 2008 until 2011. He was traded in April from the Cubs to the Red Sox, who released the 34-year-old on June 12.

“I made an inexcusabl­e mistake,” Byrd said in a statement released by the Major League Baseball Players Associatio­n. “Several years ago, I had surgery for a condition that was private and unrelated to baseball. Last winter, I suffered a recurrence of that condition and I was provided with a medication that resulted in my positive test. Although that medication is on the banned list, I absolutely did not use it for performanc­e enhancemen­t reasons.”

Conte, who has consulted pro and amateur athletes on nutrition since serving out his BALCO sentence, has become a vocal advocate for drug-free competitio­n and even helped promote the fledgling Voluntary Anti-Doping Associatio­n, or VADA.

“I did not give Marlon Byrd Tamoxifen or provide consultati­on with him regarding his use of this drug,” Conte told the Daily News. “Any nutritiona­l supplement­s I provided him were legal products that contained no banned substances.”

Byrd sent a text message to USA Today confirming that Conte had not provided him with the banned drug. “I do want to say that Victor had nothing to do with this,” Byrd told the newspaper. “He didn’t know about me taking Tamoxifen or the positive test until two days ago.”

Major League Baseball made no secret of its disapprova­l when Byrd’s relationsh­ip with Conte became public. “It’s not a situation that makes me very happy,” commission­er Bud Selig said in 2010.

According to Conte, Byrd received the Tamoxifen from a Florida holistic lifestyle coach.

Byrd’s suspension will be in effect through Aug. 20, and will result in his loss of 50 days of pay.

“I am mortified by my carelessne­ss and I apologize to everyone who loves this game as I do. I will serve my suspension, continue to work hard and hope that I am given an opportunit­y to help a club win later this season.” Gary Wadler, a professor at Hofstra-North Shore LIJ School of Medicine and a past chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list board, said steroid users use Tamoxifen to reduce side-effects such as shrunken testicles and “man boobs.”

“This is another example of abuse of therapeuti­c drugs, because this is a very effective drug to treat breast cancer,” Wadler said.

Conte told the Daily News he got a call from Byrd two days ago explaining the situation, saying he had a medical condition that prompted the use.

“I feel bad for Marlon,” Conte


‘I made an inexcusabl­e mistake.’


 ??  ?? Marlon Byrd, despite being released by Red Sox, is banned for 50 games.
Marlon Byrd, despite being released by Red Sox, is banned for 50 games.
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