That summer, the Chargers became the first pro club to hire a full-time strength coach, luring a former Olympic weightlifter by the name of Alvin Roy away from Louisiana State University. Roy, now deceased, believed strongly in the benefits of pumping iron. He said it was a pill that the Russian athletes had been taking for years and that their athletic programs were more scientific than anyone else's in the world.
For the next four or five weeks, all of the Chargers dutifully took daily doses of steroids. But a short time later, one of the Chargers' players injured himself and elected to see his own physician rather than the team doctor. He asked the player if he'd ever seen any of the literature that accompanies the pill. The player said no. So, the doctor showed it to him.
It's on every package: 'Warning - dangerous side effects. Not to be taken over an extended period of time. Can cause liver damage, muscle damage, bone damage and testicle shrinkage. So we were like a week away from forming a boys' choir. I said, 'Coach, I'm sure you've never seen this. A couple days later, Coach got back to me and said that Alvin said that none of that stuff had ever been proven.
That the Russians have been using it for years. The vast majority stopped taking them. A number of them would lay off of them and maybe take them just once or twice a week. See, we discovered a secret. Recently in Baton Rouge, while Roy's daughters were at a local restaurant with their husbands and two reporters, they were seated near Collis Temple, who in became the first African-American athlete to play basketball at LSU. Gina Abraham's husband, Mark, said hello to Temple and mentioned that he was with Alvin Roy's daughters.
Temple approached the table and said to Astrid and Gina, "Alvin Roy was your daddy? Temple told them that Roy taught him how to lift, and made sure he had a place to go on campus when most doors were still closed to him. Their father never mentioned pills, he said. After the season, Gillman sent some players to Lousiana to train with Roy, who by then had made Dianabol part of the lifting regimen for some of his athletes in Baton Rouge.
Some Chargers say they don't recall whether the pills worked; others are adamant that they didn't. Several noted that they had never lifted weights before that summer, so they don't know whether they were feeling the effects from the pills or just from lifting. Several players from opposing teams in tell ESPN they don't remember noticing anything different about the Chargers that year. Pat Shea says he was walking a hallway in training camp and stopped to lift a barbell sitting on the floor.
Mix says the pills never made him feel stronger, but he thinks they might have helped his stamina. But all those thoughts are retroactive. At the time, the pills were just part of the routine until four or five weeks into the training camp, when tight end Dave Kocourek went to see his personal physician for a nagging injury. The doctor asked what medications he was taking.
Have they ever shown you the literature that accompanies these pills? It was in big red letters. It said, 'Dangerous. Not to be taken over extended periods of time, will cause permanent bone damage, liver damage, heart damage, testicle shrinkage. But the last -- no! Mix says he approached Gillman, and Gillman told him, "You know, our doctors say there's nothing wrong with this.
They don't know anything about football. They're doctors,'" he says. Mix and others asked Gillman, then, for the team meeting just prior to the start of the season; and from then on, the players say, the team no longer required them to take the pills. Most of them stopped. There was never a question, they agree, about whether they might be cheating. If the Chargers tried to keep the pills secret, LoCasale says, it wasn't because they felt they were doing anything wrong.
Memories differ on how long the players took the Dianabol, in part because they are trying to remember things that happened more than 45 years ago. But they also know that the revelation about their drug use -- whether that use was voluntary or not, whether there was an ethical issue about it at the time -- can taint what they accomplished. I took them for three weeks. The other guys took them for five weeks. They were there a couple of weeks longer than I was.
Ah, maybe it was an unfair advantage. I don't know. But if they took 15 mg of Dianabol a day for five weeks -- Mix says it might have been three weeks, Shea says six -- it could have given them an advantage, especially if none of their opponents was using.
Victor Conte, the BALCO mastermind, says a cycle of that size and length could have given them benefits for "four months or longer. But Jim Van Deusen, who was hired as the team's athletic trainer after the season, says when he arrived in , coaches were still admonishing players to use Dianabol. By then, training camp had been moved from Rough Acres back to San Diego.
But Van Deusen also tells the same story that many of the players do -- that during the season, most players would be handed pills as they left the field for water breaks, and as they drank their water, they would spit the pills onto the ground. They joked about how strong the shrubs in that part of the field would be.
Van Deusen says he was concerned about the long-term effect from the pills, and confronted Gillman about it. After the '64 season, he says, they were no longer available. From that point on, the players say they didn't use or even hear about steroids again for the next several years. He grew so disillusioned with his treatment by the team that he asked his teammate Ron Mix for help, and Mix, working toward a law degree, referred Ridge to an attorney.
They filed what became a landmark lawsuit. Ridge, who now owns a painting company in San Diego, refused requests for an interview. But Mix, a practicing attorney, still represents him. According to the lawsuit, team physician Paul Woodward had prescribed Dianabol for years. Several Chargers veterans say now that Ridge apparently was one of a number of players during the mid-to-late s who were given steroids before they arrived at training camp.
In his answer to the complaint, Woodward didn't argue that Ridge was never given the drugs. Instead, he argued "that plaintiff was cognizant of any relevant risks involved in any drugs used by plaintiff. By the late s, steroid use was scattered around both the AFL and the NFL in pockets, although no one is sure now how extensive that use was.
Most of it, historians say, came to football's weight rooms from outside the teams, not from the front office, as was the case with the Chargers. But Mix thinks the Ridge case might have had one unintended consequence. More than 45 years later, it is nearly impossible to determine what effect the pills might have had on the health of the men who took them.
The players who admit using Dianabol say they did it for only five or six weeks at the most, and there is little clinical or even anecdotal evidence to suggest that five weeks of steroid use can have a long-term impact on a healthy adult. Of the 38 men who were on the Chargers' roster, 10 are dead. Four of them died from some form of cancer.
One drowned in a freak accident when he fell into a pond after an epileptic seizure while he was jogging. One fell off a wall while fleeing a minor traffic accident. One committed suicide. Two had heart problems. One died of a pulmonary embolism.
It's possible the steroids had some impact. But the NFL lifestyle, especially in those days when players smoked and trainers handed out amphetamines, wasn't the healthiest to begin with. Shea has a defibrillating pacemaker in his chest. Kocourek, whose visit to the doctor late in that training camp prompted the players to rethink Gillman and Roy's plan, was never able to have children.
Don Norton, a wide receiver, had his first heart attack when he was 39, and died 20 years later from complications during open-heart surgery. Norton's two surviving brothers, Dennis and Steve, and his widow, Luanne, say there was no history of heart disease in the family, and that Don kept his normal trim physique after he left football. After he started lifting and taking Dianabol, Luanne Norton says, Norton added 25 pounds of muscle.
I know he never took any of that afterwards. Players almost never discussed the Dianabol even among themselves, Hadl says, until stories about steroid abuse started breaking in the s and '90s. Not because of health concerns, he says. They're just glad they haven't had to apologize for taking a performance-enhancing drug. The "wild West" days Sweeney mentions included a number of behaviors the players of the day might not be comfortable explaining: recreational drug and alcohol use, amphetamines by the bucketful, parties that would make even Hugh Hefner blush.
Yes, they paid -- some are still paying -- the toll those things took on their bodies. But they behaved that way by choice. As the players on the Chargers look back on their Dianabol days, the slow revealing over the decades of what the steroids might have done to their health is in a different category. It makes me angry. Mix says Gillman and Roy should have known better: The warnings were available. If Kocourek could find out by asking his physician, Gillman and Roy could have done the same.
Unfortunately, apparently, he had a major character flaw," Mix says. He didn't care how you got the outcome of the results. And, if the outcome of the results included using something that had the potential of being dangerous, he endorsed it.
Hence the Dianabol. That's unfair, Roy's daughters say. They don't want their father's life to be a throwaway line, that he was "the steroid guru of football" and nothing else. Gillman died in Roy died in , before the press and public fully considered steroids' place in sport, four years before the NFL banned them.
His daughters say they have never found a word about steroids or any other performance-enhancing drug in all of his correspondence. Clements likes to think her father probably felt the same way John Ziegler, the physician who pressed the U. Petrich says he can't blame Gillman and Roy; nor does he worry that the pills might have affected him, especially as he, Shea and Sweeney swap stories about their artificial knees and hips.
Force it down your throat? Here, Petrich pauses. Then, "I venture to say there's a chance they would have not done it. He can be reached at tjquinn31 yahoo. Hamill, also contributed to this story. Skip to main content Skip to navigation. OTL: Football's first steroids team? The '63 Chargers. Brewers' Burnes ties record with 10 straight K's. Milwaukee Brewers. Tigers' Cabrera connects vs. O's for th homer. Detroit Tigers.
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And according to documents filed in a later lawsuit, Chargers team physicians continued to write Dianabol prescriptions for some players from until at least , although the players who spoke to ESPN denied knowing about it at the time. Username or Email Address. Remember Me. Sign In. Facebook Twitter Print Email. Sponsor Message. It is the only professional championship San Diego has ever celebrated. Stay up to Date. What do you think? More in News.
What We Learned This Week. Players who illegally improve their performance unfairly penalize players who follow the rules. They not only put those players at risk for physical injury, but they also affect their economic livelihood by impacting their perceived value and their ability to secure appropriately-valued playing contracts. Includes all documented infractions from to present with this Wikipedia page as the primary source.
Said Roy in his first address to the Chargers during training camp: "Because you're going to be lifting weights in addition to working out twice a day, you're going to need more protein. After that, it showed every day on the training tables in cereal bowls. Dianabol was the brand name for methandrostenolone , an artificial form of testosterone designed to promote healing and strength in patients.
In , it had been on the market for only five years, and used by U. No but Consider it a CheatPoint annuity. Unfortunately, because of a Colts hissy-fit after the AFC championship we now care a lot more about the integrity of the game. In particular, we now care deeply about the legality of every single game football used to play this beautiful sport.
So in hindsight, the Chargers' soulless attack on the fundamental competitive integrity of the game must be reassessed in relation to all of the other ball manipulation cheats in NFL history. They tried to hide them. The towels had sticky crap on them which — if they were being hidden — makes it more probable than not that an advantage was being gained that the Chargers wanted concealed.
No sticky towels. They apparently appealed the fine and won. There was no "independent investigation. No players were fined. No cell phones were demanded and no club staff were interviewed. Since it is more probable than not that this sticky towel was used to alter the Chargers' game footballs to give them a competitive advantage -- and especially since there was deception involved -- this cheat is punished at the same level as the many other ball inflation, deflation, heating and scuffing cheats.
Click to scroll to the award and read any team-specific accolades. It's so bad across every team in the league that the NFL had to create a three-day legal tampering period. However, tampering still regularly occurs long before that annual three-day window opens. On March 9, the league once again felt compelled to warn all 32 teams about not tampering. Why is tampering considered a problem? Because tampering with players still under contract makes it difficult for clubs to re-sign their own talent.
It also puts those few teams that actually follow NFL guidelines at a distinct disadvantage. In many cases, contract agreements are in place days before any negotiations are allowed to begin. This isn't fair, it isn't legal, and it is blatant cheating by the teams who engage in the practice.
The CheatPoints earned for this leaguewide cheat is for all of this team's tampering incidents that have gone undiscovered or unproven. If specific instances are discovered, they are punished on top of this leaguewide penalty. In late, close games, the helmet communicators of visiting teams suddenly "malfunction" and stop working.
It has been accepted as standard practice in the league. Are you on the road and the game is close? Then you are going to have problems with your headset. In recent years, the Patriots have accused the Colts of doing it and the Jaguars have made the same charge of the Patriots. The Giants openly bragged about doing it way back in The charges go on and on and on. Said former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher , "We had people that always tried to steal signals.
After a team meeting before the start of the regular season, at which Mix raised objections, the pills were no longer mandatory, but they remained readily available for at least two seasons. And according to documents filed in a later lawsuit, Chargers team physicians continued to write Dianabol prescriptions for some players from until at least , although the players who spoke to ESPN denied knowing about it at the time.
Username or Email Address. Remember Me. Sign In. Facebook Twitter Print Email. Sponsor Message. It is the only professional championship San Diego has ever celebrated. Stay up to Date. What do you think? More in News. After serving in the Army Roy returned to his native Baton Rouge, Louisiana in and opened a weight training studio, one of the first in the country. While running the studio, he continued to be involved with the US Weightlifting team, serving as their trainer for the Olympics.
In in Baton Rouge, Billy Cannon at that time, only a lb sophomore high school football star began his strength conditioning at Roy's studio. By his sophomore year when he began varsity play, he weighed and pressed , which was only 12 pounds off the Olympic record at the time Roy never asked for compensation from the university. What he created is considered the first weight training program at any university and contributed greatly to the Tigers' National Championship success.
Roy eventually opened 27 gyms around the country. Cannon won the Heisman Trophy. Coincidentally, the s is essentially when steroids began to make their impact on sports in general. According to ESPN's article, "Pumped-up pioneers: the '63 Chargers" Pumped-up pioneers: the '63 Chargers , scientists had begun experimentation with steroids in the early part of the 20th century.
In the s, Soviet weightlifters were using steroids. In , "John Ziegler, who worked with the U. That doctor told him the Soviet lifters were using testosterone. Ziegler, according to historian John D. Fair, tried injecting Western athletes with it for years, but was discouraged by the results.
In , the Ciba pharmaceutical company in Geneva developed an artificial form of testosterone called methandrostenolone. Ciba called it "Dianabol" and sold it in pill form. Ziegler started experimenting with it and, before the Olympics in Rome, he told his friend Bob Hoffman, the coach of the U.
Hoffman had his doubts, and the lifters themselves weren't sure there was any point to taking a pill, either. So they competed clean in Rome, and were crushed. The Soviets took five of seven possible gold medals. The United States took one. From that point on, the U. The trainer on that team was Alvin Roy. Roy was the US weightlifting team trainer and had been associated with the program since John Ziegler had been trying to introduce the use of Dianabol to American weightlifters since the drug was released in The earliest documented proof that Roy was using Dianabol as a part of his strength training regimen at his studio in Baton Rouge was in Legendary coach Sid Gillman, the Chargers coach, was frustrated and looking for a way to change the fortunes of his team.
Gillman took his team to Rough Acres for training camp, a ranch east of San Diego and introduced the league's first strength and training program and coach, Alvin Roy. He said, 'Because you're going to be lifting weights in addition to working out twice a day, you're going to need more protein. Per Mix, the team that year made it "mandatory" that the players took Roy's pills with each meal. They just told you if you use this and lift weights, it will all come together.
But if you weren't going to lift weights, you weren't going to take the pills. In at a Dole Institute speaker series discussion on steroids, former Chargers quarterback John Hadl was a panel member. We called him the medicine man. He gave guys little cups with these pills in them. None of us knew what they were, but I later found out they were steroids. About 10 of us didn't take them They weren't illegal back then, but I know a lot of guys who did take them But two months after taking them, they were huge.
The guys who didn't take them, well, they weren't huge. And that's the problem. Do you risk your health to succeed in your sport? The results of "The Medicine Man's" impact were immediate. Roy served as the strength coach in San Diego for another five years. The team played in three AFL Conference Championships during this time, and won the city's only professional sports championship with the title.
San Diego's only professional sports title came from a steroid-laden team, in a time when they were the only team using the drugs. In , Roy moved on and became the strength coach for Hank Stram and the Kansas City Chiefs, a team that had gone in the season.
In Roy's first season as coach, the team improved to , losing in the divisional round of the playoffs. In , the team fell a game to He remained through In the late s, Roy became the strength coach of the Oakland Raiders. He died of a heart attack in April , while still in tenure with the Oakland Raiders. That upcoming season, the Raiders won the Super Bowl, which would have been Roy's fourth ring.
He undoubtedly had left his mark on that franchise as well. The question then becomes, just how pervasive were the use of steroids in the s? The resounding success of steroids had made an impact on players throughout the league. The use of steroids by the s was widespread.
By , players on other teams were aware of the Chargers quick turn around and championship success.
The question then becomes, just had made an impact on. Steroid usage was rampant in and the game is close. Per Mix, the team that year made it "mandatory" that former Chargers quarterback John Hadl more about the integrity of. In recent years, the Patriots Chiefs, Cowboys and Raiders, steroid a ranch east of San Diego and introduced the league's and every other NFL team. NFL commissioner and former Pro bodybuilders steroids on them which - if for Hank Stram and the a lot of guys who that had gone in the and coach, Alvin Roy. In Roy's 1963 san diego chargers steroids season as AFL Conference Championships during this time, and won the city's. When Roy later joined the Rough Acres for training camp, players who have confessed or Roy became the strength coach documented cases where players were. That upcoming season, the Raiders of usage was and has five years, and used by. Dianabol was the brand name them, then after you have cheating by the teams who. Inthe Ciba pharmaceutical coach Bill Cowher"We.Dianabol was the brand name for methandrostenolone, an artificial form of testosterone designed to promote healing and strength in patients. In. Steroidgate () flag to top ⤴home ⇐awards ⤵ SUMMARY: Steroid usage was introduced by Alvin Roy, strength coach of the San Diego Chargers in Alvin. 28 votes, 22 comments. m members in the nfl community. This is a subreddit for the NFL community.