Report: Konopka's 20-game suspension resulted from over-the-counter supplement

by May 16, 7:13 PM
Timothy T. Ludwig / USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Sabres forward Zenon Konopka was suspended 20 games by the NHL on Thursday for testing positive for a banned substance, and it appears he didn't verify whether his doctor's advice meshed with the NHL/NHLPA's Performance Enhancing Substances Program.

Konopka did, however, take full responsibility for his actions, as evidenced in his statement, which you can read in the post below this one. 

Feature photo courtesy of Timothy T. Ludwig / USA TODAY Sports

May 15, 2:12 PM

NHL suspends Konopka 20 games for testing positive for performance-enhancing substance

by May 15, 2:12 PM

The National Hockey League has suspended Buffalo Sabres forward and pending unrestricted free-agent Zenon Konopka 20 games for violating the terms of the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program. 

The 20-game ban without pay and referral to the NHL/NHLPA program for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health (SABH) is mandated by Article 47 of the league's collective bargaining agreement (CBA) as punishment for a player's first positive test for a performance enhancing substance.

Konopka's current contract expires at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season, so the suspension will be served upon the beginning of any new contract. 

The Sabres enforcer has released a statement through the NHLPA website:

I deeply regret that I have tested positive for a prohibited substance in violation of the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program. I accept full responsibility for this error. As a professional athlete I am responsible for what I put in my body, and I am to blame for this mistake.

I want to make it clear that this violation occurred because I ingested a product that can be purchased over-the-counter and which, unknown to me, contained a substance that violated the program. Unfortunately, I did not take the necessary care to ensure that the product did not contain a prohibited substance. I want to stress, however, that I did not take this substance for the purpose of enhancing my athletic performance.

I apologize to my teammates and to the Buffalo Sabres organization, as well as to my friends and family. I have learned a great deal from this experience, something I hope to be able to share with younger players. I will accept this suspension and continue to work hard to prepare for the 2014-15 season.