Raiders fullback Marcel Reece has spoken out regarding his four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing drugs, and this isn’t your standard plea of ignorance regarding illegal substances ingested by a profession athletes.
Pro Football Talk obtained a statement on Tuesday afternoon, one reportedly written by the All-Pro fullback and longtime Raiders team captain, which details what caused his positive test. A plant root called Umcka was converted inside the body to a substance on the NFL’s list of illegal, performance-enhancing drugs.
He says that “I have never, and would never ingest any banned substance,” and says the NFL agrees Reece did not intentionally violated the policy on performance enhancing drugs.
Those facts offer clarity into what head coach Jack Del Rio meant in Monday comments hoping the league would address parts of the PED suspension process.
Here is Reece’s full statement, as posted on the ProFootballTalk.com:
“During my eight-year career in the National Football League I have taken extreme pride in representing myself, my family, my team and our fan base to the highest of standards. I have never, nor would I ever, compromise my integrity as a man or player in the NFL — and I would never jeopardize my leadership in the game that I love so much.
“I have NEVER, and would NEVER, ingest any banned substance that would result in a failed drug test. What I did consume was a natural plant root extract by the name of ‘Umcka,’ which is a completely safe substance that is clearly legal by NFL policy, in terms of being acceptable to consume. What I didn’t know is that this plant root, once ingested in the human body, converts to the substance ‘metylhexanamine,’ which is a banned substance by NFL standards.
“Every single teammate, coach and friend of mine can tell you that I take extreme pride in taking care of my body, and I have worked incredibly hard every year maintain myself to performing at the highest level. I don’t believe in short-cuts; I have worked extremely hard my entire life and I would never consider any substance to gain a competitive advantage.
“As the NFL stated in their final judgment of our appeal: ‘The NFL does not contend that Mr. Reece intentionally violated the policy, and it is clear the Mr. Reece did not intend to do so...’
“Let me be clear here — the Arbitrator, the NFL and I all agree, and have concluded, that I have never ingested ANY banned substance whatsoever, for any reason, especially not to enhance my performance. Unfortunately, due to the NFL’s strict liability policy and a completely flawed system there is nothing I can do to change this unfair outcome.
“I have fought this decision as hard and aggressively as the system allows to chemically prove how this happened, and to defend my innocence. I assure you all that this natural, chemical reaction was far beyond my knowledge prior to appeal research. To those who know and love me, thank you for your support. Thank you to all Raider fans, my fans, Oakland Raiders ownership and management, my coaches, my teammates, and my wife and family for their unflinching love and support.”