The World Anti-Doping Agency, or WADA, dropped charges against professional golfer Vijay Singh on Tuesday after an investigation into the athlete’s admission of using deer antler spray proved inconclusive.
According to ESPN, Singh was let off on a technicality: Although he previously admitted to using deer antler spray in the anticipation of boosting his golf performance, WADA cleared him of doping violations, because the substance wasn’t found to be in his system at the time that the agency tested him for it.
WADA also ruled that insulin-like growth factor-1, the banned substance found in deer antler spray, is no longer prohibited unless a player tests positive for it. Insulin-like growth factor-1, or IGF-1, is the same protein that the liver turns human growth hormone (the banned anabolic steroid) into, which results in enhanced muscle regeneration and growth.
Commissioner Tim Finchem said that he gave Singh the green light on Tuesday after the ruling.
"Based on this new information, and given WADA's lead role in interpreting the prohibited list, the tour deemed it only fair to no longer treat Mr. Singh's use of deer antler spray as a violation of the tour's anti-doping program,'' Finchem said.
"We're talking about a determination that was made by scientists at WADA that relate to the consumption through deer antler spray of a technically violative substance, IGF-1, but, in looking at it, the scientists concluded it resulted in infinitesimal amounts actually being taken into the recipient's body,'' he said. "Amounts that couldn't be distinguished even if you had an accurate test with the amounts that you might take into your body from milk, et cetera.
"In a case where, for whatever reason, you managed to take in enough IGF-1 so that it did trigger a positive reading ... it's not possible today. Because a positive reading means that you're surpassing a certain level. There hasn't been any level ever set,” he added.
The bizarrely named performance-enhancing drug, which is currently banned by the NFL, gained enormous media attention after it was reported that Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis might have used it to help him get over a torn tricep.
Despite never testing positive, Lewis was accused of using the substance by a Sports Illustrated investigation, which alleged that the football star had used the product every two hours and took an additional 10 deer antler pills every day during his recovery. Both Lewis and Ravens Vice President of Communications Kevin Byrne denied the charges.
“Ray has been randomly tested for banned substances and has never failed a test. We have never been notified of a failed test. He has never been notified of a failed test," Byrne said, adding that Lewis “denied using the substance discussed in the article, and we believe him.”
PGA Tour officials said that Singh withdrew from the Wells Fargo Championship, which will be hosted at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, N.C., this weekend, due to a back injury.