NBA suspends Rashard Lewis 10 games for banned substance

Rashard Lewis of the Orlando Magic has been suspended without pay for ten games for violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program by testing positive for an elevated testosterone level, it was announced today by the NBA.

Lewis’ suspension will begin with the first game of the 2009-10 NBA regular season for which he is eligible and physically able to play.

Rashard Lewis Statement

“First and foremost I take full responsibility for the situation and accept the corresponding penalty.

Toward the end of the season I took an over-the-counter supplement which at the time I did not realize included a substance banned by the NBA.

I apologize to Magic fans, my teammates and this organization for not doing the research that should come with good judgment.

I hope this unintentional mistake will not reflect poorly on our team and its great character.

I hope every athlete can learn from my mistake that supplements, no matter how innocent they seem, should only be taken after consulting an expert in the field.”

The Orlando Sentinel reports:

Lewis, who will turn 30 on Saturday, said he took an over-the-counter supplement near the end of last season which he did not know contained the banned substance. He told the Sentinel the substance was in powder form and he mixed it into smoothies. He got it at a nutritional store, but did not specify the name of the store.

According to an NBA source, Lewis failed one drug test during the playoffs last season and was so surprised by the outcome he asked to be tested again during the Finals. Lewis also failed that test.

“The biggest thing I told him is we’re a team, we’re a family, we all do crazy stupid things and sometimes we have to make adjustments,” Magic General Manager Otis Smith said. “That’s what kids do, sometimes they make mistakes. I don’t know if it was a knowing mistake, I don’t think it was.”