Man behind controversial towel talks

Updated: October 24, 2012, 10:25 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Back from their bye week after a monumental collapse, the San Diego Chargers find themselves fielding questions about one thing: a towel.

The NFL is investigating San Diego's use of a sticky substance by the team's wide receivers but coach Norv Turner says it's not Stickum at the heart of the matter.

"Nobody in this organization has used Stickum in any game," Turner said Monday. "The question involved a towel that has been used by this organization for over 10 years. It's used by a lot of teams in this league. The towel is used to dry the balls, dry the gloves that the players wear and their arms. The league is looking into the towel. That's about where it's at."

The towel is from Lewiston, Idaho-based company Gorilla Gold, whose towels emit a wax-based substance that has tacky-like materials similar to a glove. It is a repellant to sweat and rain and is designed to improve grip.

"The Chargers have not done anything wrong and they are far from the only NFL team to use our product," said Patrick Dugan, president of Gorilla Gold, who calls his product "one of the best-kept secrets in the NFL over the past decade" but said his towels aren't illegal. "I'd say over the course of the past 10 years, teams and players from every NFL team has used our product, we have directly overnighted our product to NFL teams and players. I know of several elite, super-elite, quarterbacks that use our product."

Dugan said his product is neither sanctioned nor banned by the NFL, but is sanctioned by NCAA softball and the PGA. The majority of their business is in the golf industry, Dugan said.

"All the time, we will watch TV and see an NFL player use our product," Dugan said. "It is not uncommon at all."

"It's been asked about in the past," Turner said Monday. "In fact, one of the officials in the past said he thought it would be a good thing for him to use -- this was a couple years ago, according to our equipment guys -- it would be a good thing for him to use to dry his clubs when he's playing golf."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said he couldn't comment other than to say the matter is under review.

If the Chargers are found to have been using an illegal substance, they could be fined or lose a draft pick.

The Chargers (3-3), tied with Denver for the AFC West lead, are coming off their bye weekend and play at Cleveland on Sunday.

ESPN.com's Bill Williamson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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