A number of players from the 2012 national championship Alabama football team reportedly used the same deer-antler spray that Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis allegedly used this season. The spray contains IGF-1, a substance banned by the NFL and NCAA.
Christopher Key, co-owner of the company that provides the spray, told ESPN's Joe Schad on Wednesday that he sold the bottles to Alabama's players and personally witnessed five of them spray it in their mouths.
The company, Sports with Alternatives to Steroids, or "S.W.A.T.T." is based in Alabama and Key said he sold approximately 40 bottles in total to members of Alabama's football team; 20 of those bottles were purchased by players at a New Orleans hotel room as the team prepared for the BCS national championship game against LSU last year, and then another 20 bottles were sold to members of the team at the apartment of an Alabama player 10 days before the nationally televised game:
"I showed them how to use it," Key said.
In the Sports Illustrated article that broke the story on Tuesday about Lewis using the spray, it was also reported that Key filmed a sales pitch to players on Alabama's team. The article specifically mentioned players Quinton Dial, Adrian Hubbard and Alex Watkins as being present during the pitch.
Key maintains that he's not trying to get anyone in trouble:
"I'm not trying to get anyone in trouble. The whole idea is to compete without cheating. We're not bad guys."
Alabama officials have sent a number of cease-and-desist letters to SWATS, but they said they continue to be ignored by Key and employees of the company. Key said that representatives from the school can't tell him what to do:
"You can't tell me I can't talk to your players. We live in a free country."