- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 28, 2009

A husband and wife arrested in one of the largest steroid raids in Florida history say they sold the illegal performance-enhancing substances to players on the Washington Nationals and Washington Capitals.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday arrested Richard and Sandra Thomas on 10 counts of steroid possession with intent to distribute, 10 counts of importing the drugs and one count of maintaining a dwelling for drug sales.

Mr. Thomas told detectives that he sold steroids to professional athletes in several sports and named the Capitals and Nationals as teams whose players were his clients, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.

” ‘Name the sport - if they played it, I sold it,’ ” Sheriff Judd said Mr. Thomas told detectives. “Then [he] went further and specifically mentioned two professional sports teams from the Washington, D.C., area whose players he had sold steroids to - the D.C. Nationals baseball team and the Washington Capitals hockey team.”

Mr. Thomas did not, however, provide the names of specific players or say when any sales occurred. Authorities said they had no evidence to support the claim and that they are investigating the matter.

Capitals President Dick Patrick said the team still is collecting information but at this point sees no credibility in the claim.

“We have no reason to believe there is any merit to the story, but the National Hockey League and the Washington Capitals take all such allegations seriously,” Mr. Patrick said.

Bill Daly, the NHL’s deputy commissioner, said the league will conduct an investigation and that both the league and the club are cooperating with law enforcement officials.

The investigative unit of Major League Baseball will conduct an inquiry on behalf of the Nationals, league spokesman Rick Levin said.

Nationals President Stan Kasten said he had faith in the league’s anti-drug policy, which includes frequent testing of players and penalties for those who fail.

“Players run afoul of our rules. They are caught, and they are disciplined,” Mr. Kasten said. “And all that is administered by MLB. And until I hear something from MLB to be concerned about, I don’t have anything to be concerned about. And I haven’t been told anything to be concerned about by MLB, at all. So for now, the story is what it is. I don’t really know any more than that.”

Current and former Capitals players reacted with surprise to the allegations, saying they were not aware of any steroid use by teammates.

“No, never, not once - [steroids were] never talked about once,” said former Capitals defenseman Steve Eminger, now with the Florida Panthers. “We got tested two, three times a year. Never once - I don’t know, you see guys. Guys aren’t extremely ripped or anything.”

Capitals right wing Eric Fehr had a similar reaction.

“I can honestly say I’ve never heard or seen anything about steroids in our dressing room,” Fehr said. “That’s the first I’ve ever heard of it. Honestly, we have steroid testing - that would be the stupidest thing in the world to take something. That’s not even something I’ve even thought of thinking with any guys on our team.”

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