MLS suspends Jon Conway, Jeff Parke for failed drug tests
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The New York Red Bulls’ playoff prospects took a turn for the worse on Thursday when MLS Comissioner Don Garber suspended starting goalkeeper Jon Conway and starting defender Jeff Parke after the league said both had tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
Conway, 31, an eight-year MLS veteran, and Parke, 26, a five-year veteran, were each suspended for 10 games and fined 10% of their annual salary.
In Conway’s case, that amounts to $11,500. For Parke, it is $5,873.
According to MLS, the players tested positive for ‘androstatriendione (ATD) and boldenone metabolites -- performance-enhancing substances.’
The league said the players ‘purchased and injested an over-the-counter nutritional supplement containing ATD, a substance that metabolizes into boldenone.’
The substance was purchased at a vitamin store that is part of a national chain, MLS said.
‘MLS has one of the strictest drug policies in professional sports,’ Garber said, ‘and holds its athletes both responsible and accountable for what they put into their bodies.’
Neither player was available for comment, but the Red Bulls released a statement calling it ‘a sad day for our club and our fans.’
Eric Stover, the team’s managing director, said he was ‘extremely disappointed’ in the two players.
‘We have met with both players and they informed us that they ingested an over-the-counter supplement that unknowingly contained a banned substance,’ Stover said.
The Red Bulls hold the eighth and final playoff spot, as a wild card, with two regular-season games remaining. The players’ suspensions will carry over into next season.
Conway has started all 28 games this season, playing every one of the 2,520 minutes. Parke has played in 24 games, starting 23, and has accumulated 2,025 minutes.
-- Grahame L. Jones
Top Photo: Danny Dichio (9) of the Toronto FC and Jeff Parke (60) of the New York Red Bulls battle for the ball at Giants Stadium on Oct. 4, 2008 in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: Mike Stobe / Getty Images / for New York Red Bulls
Insert photo: New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Jon Conway reacts after allowing a goal during an MLS soccer game against the New England Revolution in Foxborough, Mass. on Aug. 25, 2007. Credit: Michael Dwyer / Associated Press Photo