In an exclusive interview with the Blue Jays’ official broadcaster, an emotional Chris Colabello maintained his innocence and insisted he never knowingly took the anabolic steroid for which he tested positive.
“I would never, have never, will never compromise the integrity of baseball — ever — in my life,” the 32-year-old first baseman says in the one-on-one interview with Sportsnet’s Jamie Campbell.
“And whether that means taking a performance-enhancing supplement, I just wouldn’t do it.
“I don’t do it. I haven’t done it. I won’t do it.”
Colabello was suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball on Friday following his positive test for dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, which was infamously used by East Germany in their state-sponsored Olympic doping program in the 1970s and 1980s.
Formerly sold under the brand name Oral Turinabol, the drug is no longer legitimately produced and available only on the black market, according to a paper produced in 2006 for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. It is not used to build muscle, but is known to increase speed, strength and improve one’s natural ability to recover and avoid fatigue.
Colabello, who is ineligible to participate in the post-season even after he serves his suspension, tested positive during spring training but was allowed to play in the interim while he exhausted the appeal process. The positive test was not revealed to the team or any other players, except those in which Colabello personally confided.
The interview aired on Sportsnet before the Jays played the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night. The network, like the team, is owned by Rogers Communications.
At times tearful, Colabello said he’s still trying to figure out how the drug could have entered his system or why he would have tested positive for a metabolite associated with it. He said he doesn’t question the science, but is at a loss for an explanation. The only supplements he took in the off-season came from the Jays’ training staff, he said, adding he has “combed through” his life over the last six months in search of an answer and even sent his dog’s blood and urine to get tested.
“I’ve walked through every second of every day. I’ve checked bank records, I’ve checked text messages, I’ve checked phone calls, I’ve checked anything and everything that I could get my hands on. The extent to which I’ve gone to try to identify this is beyond bewildering.”
Colabello said he wished he could simply apologize, but he can’t without knowing what happened.
“I have no incentive to lie, I have no incentive to pursue other things that would have caused this, which I’m in the process of doing now, because until I figure out how this happened, I won’t rest.”
Colabello’s suspension comes one season after the baseball journeyman had finally established himself in the big leagues following nearly a decade in minor-league obscurity, including seven years in the unaffiliated independent league. He described the past few days as “gut-wrenching” and said playing professional baseball is all he has ever wanted to do.
“My career means everything to me,” he said.
“It’s been everything. Anybody who knows me, anybody who knows my track record as a person, as a human — more than as a baseball player — understands what this game means to me. To think that this could all be called into question at some point because of this, it’s something that I would never have imagined.”