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Lashawn Merritt

Alongside other sports news such as Junior Seau recently being involved in an accident, Lashawn Merritt has broken into headlines.  Lashawn Merritt is an American track and field athlete and a specialist at the 400 meter distance. He is also the reigning champion at that distance in both the Olympics and the world championships. He recently came into the news in a negative light after testing positive for steroids. After accepting full responsibility for the positive test, he explained that the result had occurred due to something he had ingested. Later it came to light that it was the male enhancement pill ExtenZe which Lashawn Merritt had taken. After store employees remembered selling the product to him, authorities chose to shorten his ban from the original two year length to three months. But others in track and field are calling for him to receive the full ban as originally handed down, a ban which he had accepted.

The two year ban was announced originally in April of 2010. It was revealed that Lashawn Merritt had actually failed three different drug tests in the winter months of 2009 and 2010. Apparently his use of the male enhancement drug was not a limited event but something that was going on with some regularity. This is just another example among many in recent years of professional athletes who have come under fire for failing tests after taking supplements and other things that they allegedly did not know contained banned substances. Most of these incidents involved physical training supplements and not male enhancement pills, of course. But Lashawn Merritt is not unique in the sense of ingesting substances without knowing what was in them.

Two Year Ban

At this high level of competition, it is interesting that athletes could possibly do things like this, taking banned substances into their bodies without even being aware of it. With stakes as high as they are these days, star athletes like Lashawn Merritt need to have more awareness of what they are doing whenever they take any kind of pill. This case illustrates the point perfectly. This runner is at the very leak of his professional career. If the two year ban actually ends up holding following the process of trying to sort out the facts and get to the bottom of things, it would mean that by the time he was eligible to come back and run competitively again, he would be two years older and two years removed from having been in a race.

A Star Track Athlete

Lashawn Merritt has been a star track and field athlete ever since his record setting junior days. Shortly after enrolling in college he signed an endorsement deal with Nike which ended his NCAA eligibility. He was that marketable at that young of an age. This is another issue worth looking at. An athlete like this has more to lose than just the right to participate in races. Lashawn Merritt also jeopardized the nature and the level of his endorsements possibly for the long term. Runners like Lashawn Merritt typically make most of their money from these contracts with shoe and athletic apparel companies. If they are banned from competition, their public visibility goes out the window, which makes them a liability for the shoe company.

Lashawn Merritt put not just his career but his financial future in jeopardy. It is not as if someone like this will have to worry where his next discount auto insurance payment will come from. But there are some potentially huge ramifications involved in this case. Lashawn Merritt can only hope to get back out on the track and win some races and get back the good will he may have lost.


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