Law enforcement officials in Lakeland, Fla., arrested two people Tuesday on charges of steroid possession, and the individuals claimed to have sold them to players on the Washington Capitals and Washington Nationals.
At a Tuesday news conference, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said officers arrested Richard and Sandra Thomas on 10 counts of steroid possession with intent to distribute, 10 counts of importing the drugs and one count of maintaining a residence for drug sales.
Judd added that Richard Thomas boasted about being one of the largest sellers of steroids in Florida, and while Thomas did mention the Capitals and Nationals by name, he did not name players.
"Richard Thomas told Sheriff's narcotics detectives when he was asked if he had sold steroids to professional athletes, 'Name the sport - if they played it, I sold it,'" Judd said in a statement. "Then Richard Thomas went further and specifically mentioned two professional sports teams from the Washington D.C. area whose players he had sold steroids to - the DC Nationals baseball team, and the Washington Capitals hockey team. While he stated to detectives that he sold steroids to professional athletes on those teams, he did not mention any specific players' names."
The Nationals had no immediate comment when contacted by TSN on Wednesday, but the Capitals, National Hockey League and NHL Players' Association released statements to address the matter.
"We have no reason to believe there is any merit to this story, but the National Hockey League and the Washington Capitals take all such allegations seriously," said Capitals president Dick Patrick in a team release. "Capitals players have fully participated in the NHL's random drug testing program, and at no point has a Capitals player tested positive. In addition our players have been tested at international events, such as World Championships and Olympics. We welcome and will fully cooperate with the NHL's investigation."
"The Washington Capitals have no knowledge of any aspect of this allegation," added NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly in an email. "Capitals players were subjected to no-notice testing three times in each of the past two seasons pursuant to the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and there was no indication of any improper conduct or wrongdoing. Even though there are no specifics provided in the story and we have no reason, at this point, to believe the allegations are true, the National Hockey League takes all matters of this nature very seriously and will conduct a prompt investigation."
''The NHLPA and the NHL have a program in place that subjects all NHL players to up to three no-notice tests for performance-enhancing substances. In addition, our members are tested during international hockey competitions,'' said NHLPA Executive Director Paul Kelly in a statement. ''These are unspecific and unproven allegations, so it would be premature to comment further at this time.''
Judd added that detectives have yet to uncover any corroborating evidence to support Thomas' claims, but that an investigation is ongoing.