Because Tiger Woods doesn't have enough problems right now, being embroiled in a drug investigation should liven things up a bit. At least he should be used to the innuendo, speculation, and snickering taunts by now.
The New York Times reported last night that the FBI and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are investigating (without their horses) Dr. Anthony Galea for possible smuggling and selling of unapproved drugs, including human growth hormone and other performance enhancing drugs. Dr. Galea is a Toronto sports physician known as the "Miracle Man" for his innovate rehab treatments and whose client list includes Olympic superwoman Dara Torres, former fastest man alive Donovan Bailey, NFL players Javon Walker and Chris Simms, the Argonauts, billionaire vigilante Bruce Wayne, Mighty Mouse and, of course ... one Eldrick Woods.
Now before you call your local sports talk show, let's step back for a second. Even though the second sentence of the article says that Dr. Galea is "suspected" of giving athletes PEDs—and the rest of article discusses many of his high profile patients—none of the athletes mentioned in the article are accused of receiving PEDs. The investigation started when Galea's assistant was stopped at the border with HGH and Actovegin, which is basically purified calf's blood. HGH is legal in Canada and the doctor insists he has never given either drug to athletes. (He does admit to injecting himself with HGH for the last ten years, which is just bizarre, but we'll move on. The guy on the left is supposedly 50 years old, btw.) The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has heard "intelligence" that athletes are using Actovegin, even though there's no evidence it does anything and the World Anti-Doping Agency hasn't banned it.
What Dr. Galea is known for is being a pioneer in "platelet-rich plasma therapy" (which is what he did for Tiger) as well as "other pioneering procedures, on knees, elbows and Achilles' tendons." He's a legend in pro athlete circles for his ability to help injured players heal quickly from serious injuries. He treated Bailey's ruptured Achilles, Torres' bad knee, and helped Javon Walker get surgery in Israel, because the procedure was not approved in the U.S.
He also makes house calls. He flew to Orlando "four or five times" to do platelet replacement therapy on Tiger's surgically repaired knee.
Two days after the first treatment, Woods texted him, Dr. Galea said: "He said he couldn't believe how good he feels. He'd joke and say, ‘I can jump up on the kitchen table,' and I said, ‘Please don't.' "
Hey, that's sounds ... suspicious? The story makes it sound like Galea is either a crazy genius or a provider of a little something "extra"—although in the world of cutting edge medicine, there's no reason he can't be both. A colleague is quoted as saying, "Ten years from now, they are going to say, wow, this guy was a pioneer."
There could be more to this, but based only on what the Times is saying here, there isn't much meat on this story. Galea may have violated some obscure Canadian customs laws, but there's no direct accusation of illegal or suspicious treatments. He does things that a lot of other doctors won't, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's wrong to do so. His clients love him (of course), other doctors talk about him glowingly, and Tiger Woods can jump on tables. What's the big deal?
Oh, right. Tiger.
Everyday for the past two-and-a-half weeks has brought a new revelation about his shady cougar-hunting ways. Might as well throw this on the horndog pile too. But it does seem a little out of character for the Paper of Record to print this pathetic plea from his agent.
When asked for comment about Mr. Woods's involvement with Dr. Galea, Mark Steinberg, of I.M.G., responded in an e-mail message: "I would really ask that you guys don't write this? If Tiger is NOT implicated, and won't be, let's please give the kid a break."
Yeah, good luck with that.
Doctor Who Treated Top Athletes Is Subject of Doping Inquiry [New York Times]