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. 

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.