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Commentary: If Hedo Turkoglu is on the juice, how many other NBA players are?

By Mike Bianchi, Orlando Sentinel Published: February 14, 2013

Sorry, but I'm not buying Turkoglu's explanation and neither should you. As sports fans, we've been deceived too many times to give any drug cheat the benefit of the doubt. Seemingly every athlete ever suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs lies, cries and denies before ultimately being forced to come clean (see Armstrong, Mark McGwire, et al).

A more likely and believable story is that Turkoglu, 34, is an aging athlete who saw his ability drastically decreasing and was desperately looking for a shortcut to prolong his career. I also think Turkoglu is just one of many NBA players who are on PEDs.

When Vaughn was asked if the NBA has a PED problem Wednesday, he definitively answered, “No. I can speak as a former player who's been in a lot of locker rooms, and I say no.”

I'm speaking as a sports writer whose written a lot columns about drug cheats in every sport, and I say yes. Superstars in nearly every athletic endeavor have been nabbed for PEDs, why would the NBA be immune?

The reason is simple: Because for years the NBA has had the weakest-drug-testing of all the major sports. The World Anti-Doping Agency has said the NBA's drug-testing policy is insufficient compared to the NFL and Major League Baseball.

NBA Commissioner David Stern even laughably said once that he didn't think NBA players would benefit much from PEDs. That's right, he actually said with a straight face that performances in his sport — a sport where a premium is placed on running fast and jumping high — wouldn't be enhanced by PEDs.

It's inexcusable for the commissioner of a league where athletes make more money and compete for fewer roster spots than other leagues to think his athletes wouldn't take PEDs in order to earn a guaranteed $110 million contract.

If a struggling, below-average player like Turkoglu is taking PEDs to recover from injuries and improve his performance, are we really naive enough to think the top players in the NBA aren't using?

MCT Information Services

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