- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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Christopher Key, the co-owner of the company SWATS, which says it provided deer-antler spray to Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, told ESPN's Joe Schad that the company sold its goods to members of the 2012 national championship Alabama football team.
Key also told Schad that he watched about five Alabama players spray what he sold them into their mouths. Deer-antler spray contains IGF-1, which is "a natural, anabolic hormone that stimulates muscle growth." It's banned by the NCAA and most professional sports leagues. Sport Illustrated first reported Lewis' and Alabama's connection to SWATS.
Here's a little more from our news story:
Key said about 20 players purchased the spray at a hotel room in New Orleans leading into the BCS National Championship game against LSU. And he said he sold about 20 more bottles to players at the apartment of an Alabama player 10 days before the game.
Key said he has received cease-and-desist letters from Alabama, LSU and Auburn demanding not to use current players likenesses. "But you can't tell me I can't talk to your players," Key said. "We live in a free country."
When asked about the substance being banned by the NCAA, Key had this to say: "Nothing we offer them will make them fail a drug test. This will make you heal faster. This will give you nutrients. There have been many clinical studies."
Key said he has sold products to players around the SEC. He said he sold around 20 bottles of deer-antler spray to LSU players before meeting with the Alabama players. He also provided healing hologram chips to Auburn players during their 2010 national championship season and healing bands to Georgia and Ole Miss players this season.
Alabama released a statement Tuesday night regarding the SI story and SWATS.
Key said that players have reached out to him since Tuesday because they want more product. And even though staffs at Alabama and LSU haven't exactly been on board with his interactions with their players, Key insists he's not trying to cause any sort of trouble with players and their schools or the NCAA.
"I'm not trying to get anyone in trouble," he said. "The whole idea is to compete without cheating. We're not bad guys."
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