Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hornaday Bomb Helps ESPN Kick-Off "The Chase"


First it was Clint Bowyer mistakenly blaming Michael Waltrip for an accident. ESPN had just explained it was actually a problem between Casey Mears and his spotter. No matter. Bowyer's insult about Waltrip and his long-time sponsor was played thousands of times on all of the ESPN TV networks, websites and even sent to cell-phone users. A friend of mine has it as a ring tone.

Last week it was Tony Stewart using his team radio to blow-off steam about just missing a win in Richmond. Despite Stewart cooling down and apologizing, ESPN made sure to play the words without the apology over-and-over again in every way possible. Everyone watching the various ESPN TV networks heard what Stewart said, but not many heard what Stewart said just minutes later.

Now, 50 year-old Ron Hornady is in the ESPN gunsights. As NASCAR heads into the first Chase weekend, it is the Craftsman Trucks that will race alongside of the Sprint Cup Series. What a coincidence that after much preparation and planning, ESPN has chosen to release the full fury of all its media power on what may be NASCAR's best-loved grandfather.

This is mid-September of 2008 and the Craftsman Truck Series on SPEED is in full swing. Hornaday is once again driving hard and continuing his legacy of being one of the "old school" racers in the sport. His relationship with Kevin Harvick has come full-circle, as anyone who watched the two embrace on the backstretch at Homestead last season can attest. That is the AP photo of the moment from Glenn Smith above.

Shaun Assael is a writer for ESPN the Magazine that has penned a book on steroids in sports. On this particular Thursday, Assael launched a multi-platform media campaign to make sure that NASCAR fans and ESPN viewers know one thing. Ron Hornaday used a steroid cream nearly three years ago.

Thursday's NASCAR Now was the perfect TV location for Assael to release all the sordid details and document Hornaday's claim of trying a steroid cream to battle the extreme weight loss that he had been experiencing in 2004 seemingly without any medical explanation.

Host Nicole Manske looked as uncomfortable as any person could possibly look on TV as she asked the scripted questions of Assael and an ESPN medical expert. Hornaday's use of this cream reportedly ended in January of 2006, but Manske never asked the medical expert if any lingering effect of this 16 months of use several years ago would remain today.

Best of all, no one spoke to what was being suggested. ESPN was trying to make a case that Hornaday somehow had a performance advantage driving a Craftsman Truck while taking a steroid cream for unexplained weight loss.

Hornaday did advise Assael that since Kevin Harvick Inc. has instituted a drug testing policy, Hornaday has taken and passed the across-the-board drug testing. No issue was every raised about any type of drugs before or after this time period.

The bottom line is, all of this smells very bad from any angle. ESPN tried to tie Harvick's recent call for drug testing to this issue. Assael never mentioned why his report came out today or why he did not have any footage from his interview with Hornaday that seemed to be the basis of this story.

In Asseal's story on ESPN.com, his performance allegations are made clear. Asseal says Hornaday was let go by Richard Childress for a younger Clint Bowyer in 2004. "At that point, Hornaday reached out to the Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center," said Asseal. "His first shipment arrived at his North Carolina home at roughly the same time he accepted an offer to drive on the truck team owned by Kevin Harvick in December of 2004."

So, Asseal's allegation is that Hornaday turned to steroids to somehow save his NASCAR career. Manske got ESPN's medical expert to say that steroid use is beneficial to drivers because of concentration and reflex issues.

Hornaday said he lost forty pounds, thought he had cancer no doctor could find and turned to the type of testosterone therapy that would bring his hormone levels back to normal. In 2006, doctors finally diagnosed Hornaday with a hyperactive thyroid and prescribed medication that he takes to this day.

So, what a way to kick-off the first Chase weekend on ABC and ESPN. This should also lead to some interesting conversation on SPEED's Craftsman Truck Series coverage. The person mentioned in the first paragraph of this column is the same person who will be providing the live commentary on the Truck race. His name is Michael Waltrip.

If ESPN wanted to stir things up in the media and get NASCAR back in the mix, they certainly accomplished that goal. The Hornaday "steroid story" is heading around the world on the Internet even as you read this.

It should be very interesting to see how seasoned veterans like Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree handle this topic. Both were absent from Thursday's NASCAR Now, as was all of ESPN's key NASCAR on-air talent.

What is your opinion of ESPN's report? Good journalism or just a driver trying to do anything to save his career and maybe even his life? Did this story change your impression of Hornaday or deepen your feelings that ESPN and NASCAR are once again having a very tough time getting along?

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. To add your TV/Media-related comment below, just click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy directions. The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page. Thanks again for taking the time to stop by.

66 comments:

Village Idiot Intern said...

Once again, ESPN steps in it. This time they've smeared it all the way up to their armpits.

Karen said...

He lost 40 lbs. and was afraid of cancer the doctors couldn't find. Plus the testosterone was not a banned substance at the time he took it and when it made the list of no-nos, he quit using it. NASCAR says they look at Rx and other substances on a case-by-case basis.

What I want to know is how ESPN dug up this dirt? Even KH didn't know about it. Newton said he didn't think the drivers would think differently of RH.

Bunch of bunk by ESPN if you ask me.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 10:59PM,

You are welcome to return and re-post your views. Before you do so, please take a moment to read the rules for posting on the right side of the main page.

Thanks,

JD

Sally said...

Maybe ESPN thinks they can make Nascar more 'mainstream' if they can find some sort of drug scandal like the 'other' sports? Talk about stretching to get a headline! I thought the whole thing made ESPN look absolutely ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

If you a fan of any stick & ball sport, you would understand how steroids can undermine the competitive nature of the game. This was the 10 year anniversary of the McGuire/Sosa home run chase that will be tarnished forever due to steroids.

Please read the story again…..Hornaday was prescribed HGH from a clinic that was linked with other drug scandals. Not his doctor…a clinic. If his doctor had prescribed a steroid, he would have been protected under HIPAA.

The only embarrassment is by NASCAR…… this is further proof that comprehensive mandatory drug testing is needed today.

Matt said...

Asseal has made his career in steroids, and apparently since MLB and the NFL no longer have a major problem, he decided to go after any NASCAR driver he could find. It was clear in his interview on NASCAR Now that this wasn't an objective article. Assael had an agenda and POV before the even entered the interview. The fact that he used words like "claims" clearly proves he doesn't believe Hornaday and never would. And the fact that not one other ESPN personality other than the already disliked David Newton spoke volumes. Shame on ESPN. But this is the "new" ESPN.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:08PM,

Certainly agree that Hornaday made an error in judgement, the question is was that error in good faith to recover his health or was there something else going-on?

I think one problem that ESPN did not address is what else is it that could be going-on?

Are they trying to say he was "racing on the juice" back in 2005? That might help with home runs, but it can't fix a flat tire or a loose truck.

What do you think the issue really is? Performance advantage or a very scared guy trying to fix himself anyway he could?

JD

ri88girl said...

DJ, Andy P and AB need to let ESPN know that they won't tolerate this kind of BS story. It can be construed as news maybe, but to twist and turn it to a sensation where none exists is inexcusable, as is much of ESPN's behavior. If I were one of these three men I would seriously be reconcidering my contract.

Karen said...

JD said ...

What do you think the issue really is? Performance advantage or a very scared guy trying to fix himself anyway he could?

Since I really didn't answer that question specifically, I believe it was the latter.

Richard in N.C. said...

Sounds to me like making a mountain out of a mole hill, but I have not seen the show yet. I believe ESPN, and many in the media, want headlines to hook viewers/readers, but fail to follow up with all the pertinent details. Maybe I missed it, but I'm still looking for a really complete explanation of how the washers were installed under the accelerator pedals to alter the results of the tests of the N-wide Toyota engines - which I guess now is yesterday's news.

darbar said...

JD, this is a tough call. If you're sick, why do you go to some clinic and order a "cream" that you have absolutely no idea what it will do to your body? If there's a cancer no one could find, isn't the next logical conclusion to test for other things? My dad had a similar problem and when two doctors could not find a problem, he went to Mayo Clinic and was diagnosed with a tumor on his thyroid. He did not self-medicate with stuff from the internet.

I think ESPN had a duty to report this issue. If not them, then who? While the author of the book in question makes his living on smelling out steroid stories, ignoring this issue won't make it go away.

But here's one interesting thing to remember. Wasn't it just a few days ago that Nascar announced they were revamping their drug policy? Was this announcement in any way a part of this? And hasn't Harvick been one of the more vocal proponents of a strict drug testing program in Nascar?

One question: Would the drug testing program done by Harvick Racing include testing for steroids or would it only test for things like marijuana, heroin, crack and other such substances?

Anonymous said...

I'm just thankful I've never relied on someone as ignorant as Hornaday for advice on whether I should go to the Mayo Clinic or a performance enhancing drug clinic for a serious medical concern I have re my unexplained weight loss.Either the above statement is true or something smells fishy about Hornaday's explanation.

AMS fan said...

I do not know the truth; it really doesn't matter to me.
We can always count on ESPN to take a molehill and make a mountain out of it. I heard a lot of allegations, I think, in the reporters segment.
I have no problem when they report the news, just don't use your words to add drama to the story. The doc from ESPN said something about Ron not seeing a doctor about his ailments. I thought I heard that a nurse went to Ron's house and drew a blood sample prior to Ron receiving the medication. (who knows if it was tested and results read by a MD)
As I've said many times, if ESPN did not have NASCAR and NHRA coverage I would not need the channels.
I just don't like their "kick 'em harder once you get 'em down" oh, and "kick 'em a few more times for good measure" style of journalism.

Grover said...

I respect and like Hornaday and is one of the drivers I actually own a die cast of.
The report was not fair nor balanced, but thats not what they are there for. They are there to make it a story whether it is or not. JD good job on taking them to task for not asking the right questions!!!

That said, something is fishy about the whole situation. Gut feeling, this is the crack in the dam just before it breaks.

Just a bit of background on me. I have worked as a narcotics detective for over 7 years. So I know the signs....

I suspect very strongly that at least two drivers in sprint cup use steroids. Three if push came to shove out of the lets just say 46 cup drivers.

There are so many substances out there, its hard to test for them all. As we have all seen in the Barry Bonds mess.

AMS fan said...

Richard,
I feel silly now. I was typing when you was posting. I didn't mean to "copy" you.

Gymmie said...

Yes Nicole definitely looked uncomfortable...it was uncomfortable watching her.

I read elsewhere that the "reporter" used false pretenses to get this "interview" with the Hornaday's to begin with.

It's truly a shame :(. As always ESPN making mountains out of molehills.

I feel that Grandpa is a stand up guy and only did what he thought was right. Sure it may not have been the "right" way to do it but he had health concerns that weren't being diagnosed by a professional so he did what he thought would help him at the time. We've all done things that in hindsight we wish we hadn't. Sure maybe not on this level, but I bet we all have.

The only reporters from ESPN that I feel I can trust are Mr. Hinton and MartDawg :(

Dot said...

ESPN and their sensational reporting are at it again.

Before I go any further, is there a difference between rubbing steroids on you versus injecting them? I realize they would be absorbed through the skin. Does this give you the same advantage as injections? Do all steroids do the same thing? And why wouldn't a doctor figure out the thyroid problem? That gland does affect weight among other health issues. Ron must've gone to a doctor in Las Vegas.

Sophia said...

Well I missed NN but did read the story on Jayski earlier today.

I am glad some of you have been helped or loved ones by Mayo. Ain't always that easy. As one with an illness that's very rare, I have a fellow patient that went to mayo for a week. They kept her 6 weeks!! and still could not give her a final answer..she stayed in a compassionate care house but was admitted to one of the hospitals for 3 days (Mayo is a CLINIC not a hospital FYI, you stay in hotel or special house or get put in one of 3 hospitals)

There are literally THOUSANDS of blood work that can be done and some very complicated. If you do not have a savvy doc, they do not even know WHAT TEST to dun.

Hornaday I read turned out to have a hyPERthyroid condition. Any thyroid problem is often overlooked due to ignorant doctors but is a common problem (HyPo underactive, or hyPER over active)

Also blood tests many not "catch" the spurting or spiking of any said hormone in one test..thus overlooked, or bad doctoring (of which there are many these days)

One tell tale sign of somebody with over active thyroid are large or bulging eyes. Hornaday has had that look to me since I have been watching Truck races a few years ago when we got SPEED.

When you think you are dying and the doctors can't help, you will try anything a snake oil person is selling.

Also there is an OTC cream women can get that allegedly contains progesterone. A jar may contain it but not evenly distributed in jar.

So this Over the Counter or shady Testosterone cream could've been the same way.

ALSO testosterone can often lower in aging men or even younger men and supplementation can often give benefit for fatigue and other issues.

Same with women who have lesser amount of testosterone, but yes, we also have androgens, several kinds (male hormones)

I do not know the real story of this but it does seem there is alot to this story.

But unless we know the specificity of the type of male hormone this was as opposed to being called "testosterone" by ESPN...I don't know what to think.

But this is not like smoking crack or shooting drugs imo. If it turns out I am wrong, so be it.

But I have always enjoyed Ron's racing and relationship with Harvick. I wish Hornaday well.

Oh, and allegedly the HGH went to his wife but that's a popular thing with celebs to take to stay youthful looking and or energetic but it's not been proven. Nor has it's safety record.

But it saddens me ESPN is the FIRST on a story with many details lacking...sounds like they enjoy making another leap to a story..even if it has merit.

But Cleveland Clinic, Mayo and others OFTEN do not have the answers, and doctors are not Gods. But also, it's risky playing with meds even if over the counter. But if he truly lost 40 lbs, I can see where he would be scared.

I remember decades ago Ben Crenshaw the golfer lost a lot of weight and his docs were also slow to check the thyroid.

My thryoid has been low, normal and even enlarged that my endocrinologist noticed from across the room. But another doc not savvy to hormones (like an endo doc) might have paid little attention to Hornaday if he had a check up.

DOES NASCAR require an annual physical for drivers? Still, many things can be missed but I am just curious.

Sophia said...

JD

I wanted to add I LOVE THIS Photo of Harvick and Hornaday.

Also did Hornaday have Graves disease or the other hyperthyroid? Was Graves disease mentioned? Pres G Bush 1 and wife Barbara both had that (Pres did not have bulging eyes, but Babs did and still does) It's not contagious but makes one curious about environment...or since it's autoimmune, if it could be contagious if they have fever.

Glandular disorders are more complicated then y'all think! :)

p.s. oops, Ron's eyes always had the funny thyroid deal to me:
~~~~

# Examine your eyes -- red, bulging, dry, swollen, puffy, and watery eyes can be a sign of a thyroid problem. "Lid lag" -- when the upper eyelid doesn't smoothly follow downward movements of the eyes when you look down -- can also be a sign of thyroid issues.

cvt said...

JD

Sophia has nailed it!

Irony here is that NASCAR excluded Tim Richmond for having similar symptoms.

Daly Planet Editor said...

dot,

Just like many meds, steroids come in all types and can be taken in several ways.

But the issue on the table is not whether Ron took them or not. It is whether you guys feel ESPN was trying to smear him by reporting it?

This happened in years ago, why not get NASCAR on-camera responding to it or even wait and make it a part of the story when NASCAR releases the new drug testing guidlines?

Remember, this is ESPN and we have dealt with this several times this season. The big question is...why now? Why this Thursday before the Trucks race at Loudon on the first Chase weekend with Cup?

JD

bevo said...

I can't really judge the story as it stands right now. If you're going to report this you need to have more information. I don't think it's any kind of smear campaign. Sounds like this was rushed by an editor.

Anonymous said...

"ESPN was trying to make a case that Hornaday somehow had a performance advantage driving a Craftsman Truck while taking a steroid cream"

There is case history where taking steroids as a NASCAR driver has been linked to a performance advantage. The reports show that a driver is able to hold there foot to the floor for several hours. It also showed that they can pull out of the pits slightly faster than a driver not on steroids.

Come on ESPN, GIVE IT UP!
Like I said before, I no longer watch NASCAR on ESPN.

PammH said...

What a hatchet job by the PU network!! I am livid! I have it on good authority (Jade Gurss-Jr's former PR guy) that the slimy guy that got the Hornaday's interview, obtained it under false pretenses. And David Newton sullies himself yet again-what a maroon...I felt terrible for Nicole-you could tell she was uncomfortable. And NO "other side of the story" ie, Harvicks or Hornadays, to be found-very irresponsible reporting. The 4letter network just won't be happy until they drag Nascar down to the dregs w/the stick & ball sports. And, on top of it, this was an episode that happened YEARS ago! Why in the hell bring it up now??? Ron made some poor choices it seems, but we all do that at times, esp if you're scared. A TOTAL non-story blown out of proportion by tabloid journalism, imo. If King Brian doesn't kick some azz over this, I will be shocked. What horrible pub to start the "Chase".

Anon 11:08PM said...

JD: I really have enjoyed reading your thoughts on this subject. Since I have a 6 ½ & 5 year old children, I really do not have the time to “watch” the auxiliary shows on the ESPN (or Speedvision) networks. Thus I can only comment on the written article – which was a well written piece by a respected sports journalist.

If you have followed anything about the steroid issues in the last 10 years, they allow you to recover from workouts quicker. The question then becomes, did RH worried about age, younger drivers, etc. decide to make a decision to help continue his career (and a decision knowing NASCAR would not test you). Only Ron knows that answer.

If this was someone “hated” in the racing world (Kyle Busch comes to mind) would people be treating this different than someone who drove for the most beloved figure in the last 15 years of NASCAR?

For all the people thinking ESPN has thrown RH under the bus, are you OK with someone on Heroin, Cocaine, or Steriods on the track......remembering that all 3 have taken place in the last couple years.

The other “agenda” of the sport leader….it makes me glad that I spend time with my children playing & enjoying them than watching TV.

GinaV24 said...

I wouldn't mind if ESPN was doing real reporting with accurate information, but it seems to me that they are always taking things out of context and it is more tabloid reporting than anything else. Did Hornady use bad judgment? Sounds like maybe he did, but it also sounds like he tried conventional methods and wasn't able to find a solution and if testosterone wasn't a banned substance, then it wasn't illegal to use it. Heroin, amphetamines, whatever are illegal substances. This is the reason that I record ESPN and watch it at my leisure -- all of the histrionics and hype are too hard to handle.

tom1194 said...

I think nascar and the press have manipulated all the series for a very long time. Nascar wants to push young guys from big teams that run in or will run in the cup series. Ron is one of us old guys who runs in his series backed by a fellow who has tweeked the nose of nascar on their drug policy. Throw a cloud over the championship contender and maybe fine him and the owner and let a young guy win is more in line with the nascar age stance. How can it be all the main annoucers for espn were unavailable except for the one person whose career could be dashed in a second if she didn't agree to go on air with it. The "new" ESPN does whatever the master says otherwise they will be shown the door again. Nascar can now say we knew nothing about it but when we found out we dealt with it quickly, you can thank us by sending more money.
If any of you need further proof, Google "Tim Richmond" and find out just how nascar and the press can ruin a persons career for not towing the nascar line.
Also, I personally don't go to medical clinics,I have been very lucky, but I am pretty sure they have doctors there to write prescriptions, they are not written by the receptionist.

Anonymous said...

Hornaday obtained durings from a place without seeing a doctor or getting a prescription. This is illegal. I don't care if your last name lis Hornaday, Petty, or Earnhardt, people who do stuff like Hornaday did have no business in NASCAR.

Now that NASCAR has gone mainstream, they finally get to deal with the real media. They don't coddle the drivers, only ask softball question, and turn a blind eye to anything that may upset or embarass NASCAR. The media is not supposed to be their drinking buddies.

Its their job to rip drivers to shreds.

Plus, since you brought them up, I have no sympathy for Tony and Clint. In this day and age, you have to understand anything you say can be recorded and put up on YouTube, even if it might be embarassing. The drivers don't deserve to be treated any differently. If they say stupid or embarassing stuff, the media has every right to run with it, and replay it as many times as they see fit.

Again, its not the media's job to cover up stuff. Its the exact opposite. If the drivers don't like it, then tough luck. Be a man and just deal with it. Plus, remember, next time don't do or say anything stupid.

chase said...

ESPN continues to amaze me - the way the covered this story was egregious - Ron had a problem, couldn't get a diagnosis, and anyone with thyroid problems knows its not something that pops out at most doctors unless you see a specialist. Suffering from it myself as well as other serious issues related to a disease I have, I have used steroidal cream and prednisone in pill form - both prescribed by doctors - frankly, the cream does virtually little good but in pill form its a hit! This occurred in the past, Ron finally got a diagnosis, and I am seriously concerned with ESPN making such a story out of this - it really requires no story at all.NASCAR has HUGE PROBLEMS which are more immediate and although I am not saying drivers should not be tested for drugs, ESPN might want to cover the problems NASCAR has rather than something that has little value (even to Ron at the time). I am not surprised at ESPN inasmuch as they continue to grasp at any straw and allow the subject to twist in the wind - whether justified or not. Typical of ESPN. Considering ESPN is the source - the source is damaged, as usual, with the way they 'play' their news. Thanks John!

majorshouse said...

I watched the show and think it was the normal piece of trash tabloid journalism that the four letter network has become famour or infamous for these days. I can definitely understand why Nicole was nervous and can they not put a credible reporter like Ed Hinton on instead of David Newton because we know how biased against racers he really is and Ed refuses to tow the party line and that is what is so refreshing about him too.
I think that Ron was definitely thrown under the bus and hope that he and Kevin Harvick have something to say about this crap that is being propigated against him.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:36AM,

So, in your estimation the media is a place where everything that gets said or shown during a sporting event should just be repeated and the goal is to rip athletes to shreds?

What is your point, that Hornaday wanted to bulk up to fight other drivers or simply to lift his own truck during pit stops?

There is no "pay off" for this story. It makes no sense. Hornaday illegally obtained a steriod used for male hormone replacement because he thought he was in big health trouble.

There has never been an allegation before or since about any other kind of drug or illegal activity.

Do you think Mr. Asseal really put this in context in his NASCAR Now appearance?

JD

Anonymous said...

once again,overreaction by daly planet. how can it be sordid details if hornaday admitted to it?as far as what was "suggested" by espn, how can you suggest that? do you know something we don't? can't play both sides of fence. as far as effects i'm surprised no one has mentioned "roid rage". would you like to race with someone who could fly off at any second? no long term studies have been done on the long term effects of steriods. just think barry bonds

Ari in DC said...

JD,

For weeks we have been joining in a chorus of complaints on the poor performance of Dr. Jerry Punch as the lead play by play announcer for ESPN’s race broadcasts. Those complaints have been tempered with the acknowledgement that Punch has enjoyed success in every other role he’s had with ESPN: pit reporter, sideline reporter for college football, program hosting etc. As both a medical doctor and one of the networks NASCAR experts, wouldn’t his perspective have been interesting to hear as part of NASCAR NOW’s coverage of the Hornaday story? This could have been an opportunity for Punch to shine. With your behind the scenes insight, could you share with us why Punch is never used as a resource by the network during the week? I may be wrong but I believe he is the sole member of ESPN’s race coverage team that never EVER makes an appearance on NASCAR NOW during the week. Why is that?

Anon 11:08PM said...

JD: I may be off line: but my take on the written story. There is no logical explanation for Lindy Hornaday to have been prescribed HGH. The back-story of Roger and Debbie Clemens issues & explanations they used are my reference to why this story does not pass the smell test.

I am thinking along your lines – I just do not understand Ron’s thinking or mindset – would getting in better shape help his hand / eye coordination?

What is the time line of when the clinic was busted? How much research did the writer do before coming out with the story?

This story in simple terms: Clinic - Bogus Prescriptions written by Clinic – Clinic Busted – Famous Athletes Names on Clinic Records. Sorry people – some of clients of this clinic are a tad bit more famous than Ron Hornaday.

It is a shame that ESPN credibility is so poor……and NASCAR dealing with life issues is another story!

As far as Tim Richmond – I was at Michigan that fateful day……the only person who ruined his career was himself.

Anonymous said...

daly planet editor said...
There is no "pay off" for this story. It makes no sense. Hornaday illegally obtained a steriod used for male hormone replacement because he thought he was in big health trouble.

Substitute the words "Kyle Busch" or, especially, "Carl Edwards" for "Hornaday".

Do you really think people would buy "big health trouble" as the reason - or excuse - if Busch or Edwards had used testosterone every day for 13 months, as Hornaday admitted to doing in the article? Do you still think it would be a non-story?

Of course it's a story when a NASCAR driver purchases steroids/HGH from a clinic where other now disgraced athletes purchased it. It may have just been incredibly bad judgement, but doesn't excuse Hornaday at all. He claims in the article that he didn't know testosterone was a steroid? Did he never read a sports page or watch a sports news story during that 13 months and did he never see testosterone or HGH referenced?

He says he never saw a doctor to get the prescription. His wife, who used the HGH (what's that about?), said she only talked to a doctor on the phone to obtain the prescription for the shipments of HGH they received.

No matter how much fans want to downplay it, he used the testosterone cream daily for 13 months and it could have had an positive impact on his physical health, his reflexes, recovery time, etc.

From the article:
"Steroids are a controlled substance," Haskins said. "A doctor has to prescribe them after an examination." The agent said Hornaday, like thousands of other patients from the rejuvenation center, could have been charged with illegal possession of a controlled substance. The reason no charges were lodged, he said, was that the investigation focused on the center's owners and doctors, not its customers.

The steroidal cream Hornaday received is a favorite of athletes because it is fast-acting and clears the body quickly. He also called the dosage that Hornaday received "an extremely high level."


And again, if this was somebody like Carl Edwards and not Grandpa, the reaction would be completely different. You can't tell me it wouldn't be, so you can't tell me it's not a story.

I do feel strongly that the way the reporter got the story, per Jade Gurss (telling Hornaday that ESPN the Magazine wanted to feature him because he is a mutiple-time Truck champion - and then surprising him by asking about the steroids and making that the focus, in Hornaday's home), is absolutely reprehensible.

But it's still a story. And no, the timing doesn't matter either. When would the proper time have been for a reporter to disclose Aaron Fike's addiction, if the reporter had conclusive proof of it (before he got arrested)? If they had done that the weekend of the Chase start, would it have been called into question?

Anonymous said...

ESPN once again trying to come out of the ditch to "Claim" this is news worthy........How Sad for ESPN!

Jo said...

Testosterone was NOT BANNED at the time he used it, even the reporter had to quietly admit that. And more he said he used a small amount daily - as prescribed. BTW my insurance states I MUST use a NURSE Practitioner if available.
So the "well he didn't see a doctor" theory is wrong, and I have had a NursePract. come & do blood draws at home - get over it NN.

ITS A NON story, yet again espn savages a sport its making big bucks off of....

So now its the truck series, cup & N'wide where they have gotten Stories? of questionable merit.
No driver should speak to them for ANY reason.

This kind of "reporting" is why I watch very little espn, none of their "reporting " shows, and no talking head shows. They use the lowest common base, and then stoop below that.

I watched NN last night ( I doubt I'll watch from now on) & Nicole worked very hard to get the "doctor" to say what the script said he should say. I have zero respect for that kind of "news".

The only way steroids would really help a driver is if he PUSHED his car or truck !!

Please -all the hysteria of 'roids is way over the top.

IT WAS NOT A BANNED SUBSTANCE AT THE TIME- JUST LIKE IN THE MLB!!!

Deborah said...

As a long-time baseball fan who has followed the issue of performance enhancers closely in that sport, there are a lot of questions that are raised by Hornaday's explanation, most of all why he was going to an anti-aging clinic for a medical condition, why his wife was (likely illegally) prescribed HGH, why he was using a drug supposedly without knowing what was in it (a common excuse for many MLB players caught using performance enhancers), why he used a drug without actually seeing a doctor, and on and on. Whether it was a banned substance at the time he was using it doesn't matter - it appears it wasn't legally prescribed to him. When the reigning Truck Series's champion's name is connected to a fraudulent clinic tied to performance enhancers in other sports it's a story and ESPN is doing their audience a disservice if they don't report it, even if it's news no one wants to hear.

Steroids and other performance enhancers like HGH don't just add muscle mass and strength, they help with endurance, stamina, help with healing and ward off the effects of aging. Seems to me those things would benefit a driver, particularly an older driver, not in terms of their ability to race fast but in their ability to keep racing at a high level in a sport that's getting increasingly young.

Anonymous said...

No doubt this story will disappear from the headlines as quickly as the Grant lawsuit and the other drug usage story prior to this one.

Remember how those were going to bring down NASCAR?

Anonymous said...

I think this was a valid story to report. Even though Hornaday's use was a couple of years ago, earlier this year there was a very detailed rumor of current(and more troubling) drug usage by a small number of people associated with another NASCAR series, a rumor which I find completely plausible. Hornaday's steroid experience (which I find strange for a professional athlete, and the explanation doesn't quite cut it for me) just adds to the urgency that the NASCAR drug random testing policy needs to go into effect soon and it needs to be wide ranging.

What troubles me is there are other stories that ESPN apparently has no interest in pursuing. The Winston-Salem Journal's Mike Mulhern had an excellent story about the Truck Series the other day, with Jack Roush saying he could see "a reasonable chance" that the Trucks series could be gone by 2010 or 2011.

Others are positing that the Truck Series will be replaced with NASCAR's new purchase, the Grand Am series.

Those actions, if they come to pass, will affect a great number of people's livlihoods. It's truly terrible that ESPN appears to have no interest in looking into the sport's economic state in any detail.

Having Jack Roush make a statement like that should have gotten equal headlines with Hornaday. But since their writers didn't get the story, I guess they choose to ignore it.

Anonymous said...

I watched ESPN's report on Ron Hornaday and was shocked. Mayo Clinic is a hospital-even Billy Graham goes there. I think when all is said and done we need to wait until this weekend and see what NASCAR, Kevin Harvick and Ron Hornaday has to say on this subject. Ron didn't use this drug for very long, quit along time ago, and it was NASCAR legal at the time

Vince said...

More tabloid journalism by ESPN. Their creditability sinks lower by the day. Somebody tell me how rubbing a cream on you is going to make you drive better? Please.........what a joke.

Vicky D said...

Living in Houston, we have been inundated with Roger Clemens claiming one thing and the media claiming the opposite about steroid use, I don't want to hear anymore about it.

Vince said...

Unless I'm mistaken, most drivers are Independent Contractors. Not employees of the owners. I do not believe that they have medical coverage or plans unless they buy them themselves. I have been an Independent Contractor for years and let me tell you the medical coverage is very expensive if you're paying for it yourself, let alone if you are older like Ron and in a high risk profession like driving a race car. I'm just speculating, but maybe he was going for a quick, cheap fix for a problem he was having? Only Ron knows for sure.

JHD said...

Am I the only one that watched NN to the end, or did I miss something about NASCAR releasing a statement with 30 seconds to go in the program?

It was very quick and then they ended the program, but the inference I got from NASCAR's statement was that while they'll talk to Ron about this issue, they're more concerned with Ron's health issue that led to the use, rather than they feel he was doing for a performance edge.

I'm doing this from memory 18 hours later, so I may not have it all correct. But it shows once again that ESPN is all about the hype, and not so much with the substance (unless the substance is alcohol or drugs).

The only reason I put up with ESPN is because of the racing - I don't watch it for any other reason. If NASCAR ended their relationship with ESPN today and went to another network, that would be the last time any of the ESPN channels would be on my TV for more than the second it takes to scroll past them to get to something else.

I like DJ, AB, Andy Petree, Mike Massaro and Marty Smith - and my fervent wish for all of them is to get new jobs with another network, because eventually the muck ESPN glories in raking is going to stick to them, tarnishing them unfairly as well.

Sophia said...

Vince

I have a friend that sells individual health insurance policies. I am also familiar with the outrageous expense.

Yes, Billy Graham was in the FL.Mayo clinic but the "clinic" has access to "hospitals in their systems." The Clinic itself is not an in patient place. Check out Mayo hotels in Rochester, Minn,or the compassionate care houses nearby. I have a friend that was there for WEEKS in the 'care house'as previously mentioned. She would've gotten home sooner but she lived in the south and planes/trains were cancled due to last weeks hurricane. Rochester employs most of the city for it's many clinics and it's hospital(S)

Now that I have that out of the way, no matter what I said about Hornaday or the ESPN story, this does INDEED point to the fact NASCAR needs a drug policy in place. But if you google Graves disease, or hyperthyroidism or hyPOthyroidism, they can be overlooked..and be slow to show OBVIOUS signs.

If NASCAR TPTB idiots think they can tell by 'looking' who is using, they are living in the dinosaur age.

Also, whoever wrote about the end of the Truck series in another year or two. VERY DEPRESSING. INDEED, I have not see that story anywhere???? My NASCAR obsession is dwindling this season anyway. Thanks in part to ESPN HORRID COVERAGE, and their HARD COPY, Entertainment Tonight form of "journalism."

but the trucks are the only real racing left. :(

Anonymous said...

It is long past time for NASCAR to yank the contract from ESPN for "actions detrimental to the sport of stock car racing."

Between incidents like this one and the way the network "covers" actual races, ESPN has got to go.

Sophia said...

Interesting NASCAR.com has a video of this with Hunter addressing Hornaday and clearing him.

He did not get "answers from doctors" for a long time. Just like normal folks. Was told he had gastroenteritis after scoping. SHEESH.

But what SHOCKS ME is Hunter said the doctors gave Hornaday "Synthroid"...

He DID have Graves disease..was given nuclear medicine where you can't be around people for 48 hours..they killed his thyroid..so now he is on Synthroid...so it all makes sense.

Did ESPN even mention "GRAVES disease"? I asked about this last night as I missed NN. His dx was missed TWICE (dx=diagnosis)

Think ESPN will mention this?

Richard in N.C. said...

In fairness to ESPN, this seems to be another example of an evil that pervades all of the media - get the story out first, before the competition, and get it complete and accurate 2nd.

Anonymous said...

Slimey, smarmy ESPN at it again. There always has to be a "storyline", no sporting event can be covered without one. I agree with the earlier posting calling for ESPN to be suspended for "actions detremental to stock car racing". Believe me, this group makes me long for the old NBC days....

Anonymous said...

http://sports.espn.go.com/rpm/nascar/truck/columns/story?columnist=assael_shaun&id=3583105

Go to ESPN.com & read Assael update...read it again....

Sorry - this does shine NASCAR & Ron in a good light.

As far as this bringing NASCAR down, I think Pogo put it best "we have met the enemy and he is us."

alex said...

The latest is that Nascar will not penalize RH, because his performance was not inhanced nor was his judgement impaired. Nascar recognized the medical basis of the issue, and they say it's "over and done with".

That should be the end of it, but I'm sure ESPN will sensationalize this for weeks to come. It's sad that ESPN can't seem to find the line between sports reporting and tabloid journalism.

Ari in DC said...

For those who are interested, click over to NASCAR.com adn you'll find a 22 minute video clip of today's press conference with Ron Hornaday and Kevin Harvick. They put it ALL out on the table for examination. NASCAR came to the appropriate conclusion that this was a Ron Hornaday personal health issue and not any kind of nefarious performance enhancing substance abuse issue.

darbar said...

Sophia, having lived a few blocks from the Mayo Clinic-Scottsdale, I can assure you they now have their own hospital. They used to contract with Scottsdale Healthcare Systems, but they built their own hospital a few years ago, in North Phoenix.

I still say, there are too many questions about his whole situation, and I think ESPN is right to cover this. It just follows so closely the situation of Roger Clemens and his wife. There are also comparisons between Hornaday and Mark McGwire. McGwire, and Barry Bonds for that matter, all talked about using the
"cream and the clear" and that was all they would cop to. So I ask, if there are no benefits to using steroidal creams, then why would superstar athletes use them????? Can't be because they want smooth, soft skin. And, why are these wives the ones using HGH???? Nah, there's more going on here.

I would like to see follow up stories on this issue. Just because some would like to stick their head in the sand and ignore the story, won't make it go away. But I'll tell you this---if Hornaday, or any driver/athlete thought that taking something would make them look younger, make them perform younger, especially with the youth movement in Nascar, don't you think that could be a strong pull to try something??

Sophia said...

EDIT: Thanks for the mayo scottsdale splaining. Rochester has half the city employed and many locations..thus you have tubular underground subways from what I hear to travel in between areas without going outside. Mayo of Rochester is the one most of my friends have gone, too. Easy to Google my earlier explanations. :-)


I realize many see this as smoking crack/doing heroin/ etc since Harvick was outspoken about drug testing. Some may find him hypocritical. I am glad I see things in gray and not just black and white.

IRONICALLY, even though Ron was DESPERATE to go to some unsavory clinic, guess what? He was self medicating with what his body probably needed. Testosterone/thyroid affect each other and problems with either can throw things out of balance. This can cause a cascade of many hormonal issues and mimic many things..and yes, can affect digestion and cause, well, disturbances and food to gallop through the system as some hormones speed up the peristalsis.

If women get into NASCAR at older ages, taking estrogen supplements can make some feel better. Give more energy, help concentration and focus. BODY NATURALLY produces this hormone, too. What the heck will NASCAR do if that happens??

But as we age, body makes less estrogen. Same with testos in women and in men. Some OTC herbs or soy laden foods can mimic 'estrogenic properties' and help calm nerves,lower HR, help hot flashes, and help energy....so you start talking hormones, and things get very fuzzy between medical versus performance enhancing versus 'recreational'. versus keeping you alive and quality of life.

I see Ron as a desperate man at the time of his seeking the cream.

Seriously, folks, if you were him and were

a. First told you had G.I. problems (gastro) meds did not help.??

b. then after ANOTHER 20lb weight loss, had an appendix removed (????)
Still felt like ****, what would YOU do in that position?

This is way too complicated to explain on a blog and none of the medical links work...but just google Graves disease and how often it's overlooked.

I am not excusing what Ron did but come on...doctors do not know EVERYTHING.

I had a doctor surgeon marry into our family when I was seven and other family worked at hospitals. They don't always find problems. Sad but true. Basic thyroid tests are often overlooked.

Enough from me on this topic.

I can almost hear the applause! :-)

Soph

I am just glad i watched the video. THANKS to NASCAR.com for providing this....I had not heard a peep about this until I went to that seldom visited site (by me anyway)

Anonymous said...

Funny, go to Jayski and out of over 30+ story links only one "daly planet" mentions the "Bomb". Is it really a story and who is pushing it ESPN or Daly Planet?

Anonymous said...

very good answer anon 10:46. plain and simple.driver used drugs, illegal or not, and espn is bad for reporting?

alex said...

Anon 3:40,
On espn's front page they had in their "top story" links for a day or two, and it's still one of the lead nascar stories. They make it sound more important than some NFL things, so I would say they are the ones pushing this story.

alex said...

I wonder what Miguel Tejada thought when he read the story...

Gymmie said...

@sophia--yes they do...Schrader & Mikey have mentioned it many times on IWC :)

@pamm--yup...that's who I was referring to in my post earlier and Jade's been around being with Jr. so I trust him and his judgment.

Richard in N.C. said...

I am not sure of the significance, from a fan standpoint, of Hornaday's using what he did - but, since he is a professional athlete, it could be fair game. In my view, the legitimate complaint is whether ESPN had made an adequate effort to get all, all the facts before it put the story out - or did it rush out with partial facts to get the story out first. I feel that rushing to judgement is a problem with most of the media - it is not peculiar to ESPN, they are just more visible.

glenc1 said...

I'm kind of inclined to agree with Richard NC... I don't think ESPN is wrong to report it. Perhaps a mountain/molehill. But these substances can supposedly improve focus/concentration as well as strength, it's not just about bulk (ie, lifting his truck), so I think the question can be asked. A pistol shooter in the Olys was banned because of this, he didn't need to 'bulk up' either. I'm sure they (ESPN) probably have jazzed it up, and I don't think with it being old news that it's something he should be punished for, but I definitely agree with those saying they need testing to be done more diligently--whether it's heroin or doping or whatever, by either NASCAR requiring the owners to do it or by doing it themselves. The NFL doesn't pay players, but they still have a drug policy.

Anonymous said...

I have now lost all respect for ESPN. I will not visit their web site nor watch another of their shows. The first three letters of Asseal's name sum up this guy as far as I am concerned.

Terry in NC said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Adam T. Martin said...

I feel bad for Nicole for having to read those questions that ESPN scripted for her.