Ridding sports of performance-enhancing drugs, such as steroids, human growth hormone and testosterone, has been a major topic for a decade now.
The latest bump on the road came courtesy of San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera.
Cabrera, 28, is a former New York Yankees star who has exploded as a member of the Giants. Not only was he an All-Star, he was the Most Valuable Player of the All-Star Game!
But his success may have come from a deal with the devil that backfired.
The free-agent-to-be looked to parlay his amazing season into a long-term mega contract this offseason.
Those plans were erased this week when he tested positive for elevated testosterone levels, illegal in Major League Baseball, and was suspended for 50 games (regular season + playoffs).
Here’s where it starts to get weird.
According to the New York Daily News, Cabrera turned himself into a content marketer, by creating a fake website for a fake product that he could claim was tainted with the testosterone which caused him to fail the test.
From the Daily News:
The scheme began unfolding in July as Cabrera and his representatives scrambled to explain a spike in the former Yankee’s testosterone levels. Cabrera associate Juan Nunez, described by the player’s agents, Seth and Sam Levinson, as a “paid consultant” of their firm but not an “employee,” is alleged to have paid $10,000 to acquire the phony website. The idea, apparently, was to lay a trail of digital breadcrumbs suggesting Cabrera had ordered a supplement that ended up causing the positive test, and to rely on a clause in the collectively bargained drug program that allows a player who has tested positive to attempt to prove he ingested a banned substance through no fault of his own.
So Cabrera created content to get a message across. Content Marketing 101.
And while this backfired, it’s an intriguing use of content marketing, using it as a way to create a legal loophole to clear the name of a suspended player.
Naturally, the scheme was foiled by authorities, including Jeff Novitzky, the former IRS special agent who took down the BALCO lab in…you guessed it…San Francisco. Now with the Food and Drug Administration, he has another notch on his belt.
It’s too early to tell what the ramifications of Cabrera’s foray into content marketing will be.
What’s your take? Brilliant idea? Doomed to failure? And will the justice system have to adjust to this tactic in legal cases down the road?