The Toronto Argonauts tried to hold a media conference call to discuss changes they believe will turns the tide on their recent football fortunes, but couldn't escape questions about charges involving former team physician Dr. Anthony Galea
The Argonauts have gone just 7-29 over the last two seasons and endured a tumultuous offseason that featured another coach firing, an ownership change and speculation over where they would play in the future.
The Argos have been silent on the fact that Galea, the man they employed as team physician from 2004 to 2009, faces charges in the U.S. and Canada in connection with allegations he provided athletes with performance-enhancing drugs.
That didn't change on Wednesday when a Toronto Star reporter pressed team president and CEO Bob Nicholson about the allegations.
"I think the position we announced in December when the charges were laid, we felt the matter was before the courts and we've had no further comment on the matter," said Nicholson.
Galea, 50, was charged in the U.S. last week with conspiracy, smuggling, distributing human growth hormone and introducing an unapproved drug into interstate commerce. It is alleged he treated several athletes to an "HGH cocktail" to help them with injury recovery, which included the unapproved drug Actovegin.
Nicholson was asked if there was any reconsideration of the team's stance given that the case has been increasingly in the sports headlines.
'No change in policy'
"We have no change in policy today," Nicholson said.
The CFL as a league has also not addressed the issue of charges against a member team employee, a curious strategy given that an NFL spokesperson quickly released statements in the wake of the charges being laid last week.
On Tuesday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell commented publicly and promised action on the matter.
"We are very anxious to see all of the details and pursue it aggressively," Goodell said in response to a reporter's question outside the owners' meetings in Dallas.
Even the Washington Redskins, whose receiver Santana Moss was reported by The Buffalo News as one of the players to receive treatments from Galea, have spoken out.
Coach Mike Shanahan said on Wednesday he's confident Moss won't be suspended by the NFL.
"I sat down and talked to Santana today and went through a bunch of situations that have happened to him," Shanahan said. "And I feel really good about where he's at. I feel real good that he'll be, I don't know if 'vindicated' is the word, but when people find out all the facts, everything will be OK."
The CFL does not have a drug testing policy. The NFL does not currently perform blood tests for the presence of HGH but can and has suspended players who have been found to have used the banned substance.
Former player Rodney Harrison, for example, was suspended after his name came to light in a criminal investigation involving an internet pharmacy scam.
Not authorized to work in U.S.
Galea is not authorized to work in the United States and is accused of repeatedly entering the country from 2007 to 2009 to treat professional athletes from Major League Baseball, the National Football League and the Professional Golfers' Association.
If convicted of the U.S. smuggling charge, Galea could face up to 20 years in prison. The other charges carry maximum sentences of three and five years.
Galea was charged several weeks earlier in Canada with selling an unapproved drug under the Food and Drugs Act, conspiracy to import an unapproved drug and conspiracy to export a drug under the Criminal Code. He was also charged with smuggling goods into Canada under the Customs Act.
Galea runs a clinic in Etobicoke, Ont., the Institute of Sports Medicine Health and Wellness Centre. He resigned from his position with the CFL club when the details of his arrest were made public in December.