NFL players aided by Viagra?

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NFL players aided by Viagra?

From Comcast SportsNetCHICAGO (AP) -- The idea that NFL players might use Viagra to gain an edge on the field left Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs practically in tears -- from laughing.He wasn't the only one.Players cracked jokes about it Thursday, a day after Bears star receiver Brandon Marshall said he had heard that some players were using Viagra and hoping it would give them an advantage during games. Punch lines aside, experts say it's unlikely the erectile-dysfunction drug would help."What would that do? That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard," Minnesota Vikings long snapper Cullen Loeffler said.Bears defensive back D.J. Moore wondered if Marshall was kidding and said: "I've never heard of that."NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Viagra is not a banned substance and declined further comment.Marshall started it all Wednesday when asked about a growing number of suspensions tied to amphetamines, including the ADHD drug Adderall. He said he didn't know much about Adderall, but suggested Viagra could be viewed by players as a way to boost their energy."I know guys, it's such a competitive league, and guys try anything just to get that edge," he said. "I've heard of guys using Viagra, seriously, because the blood, it's supposed to thin. . I don't know. Some crazy stuff. It's kind of scary with some of these chemicals that are in some of these things, so you have to be careful."But using Viagra for more touchdowns and tackles?"I didn't even know people could do that," New York Giants tight end Martellus Bennett said. And his teammate Justin Tuck added: "I can't imagine why people would take steroids, so I have no comment on Viagra. Besides, my wife would be very upset with me."Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday, a 15-year NFL veteran, said some of his teammates were talking about Marshall's Viagra remarks but he had never heard of such a thing himself."I don't understand what good it would do," he said.Dr. Olivier Rabin, science director at the World Anti-Doping Agency in Montreal, said it is unlikely Viagra does anything to improve football performance in NFL players. He also said there is no evidence the drug might somehow mask the use of steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs.Rabin noted that research in high altitudes found the drug helped improve oxygen flow in climbers with impaired lung function. That's because Viagra can dilate blood vessels, and vessels in the lung constrict in high altitudes.Research involving cyclists at high altitudes found similar benefits, but Rabin said studies have shown the drug has no effect on athletic performance at sea level.University of Miami researcher Kevin Jacobs has studied Viagra in simulated high-altitude environments and "didn't find much benefit in young, healthy, active individuals.""No one has really tested it in football players doing exercise. Whatever benefit they think they're getting is probably more psychological than anything," said Jacobs, an associate professor in the kinesiology and sport sciences department.Marshall said he doesn't take medication "of any sort" and noted that the NFL's drug policy is strict."Any time you take anything over the counter, if you don't approve it with your training room, you can get popped," he said. "Some of it's fair, but some of it kind of puts you in a tough spot as a professional athlete. Because the only thing you'll see is getting busted for PEDs, but it could be something over the counter for a little sickness. You just have to be on top of your Ps and Qs."

Warriors continue to thrive in their second calling

Warriors continue to thrive in their second calling

Credit must be given to the Golden State Warriors for keeping the brand alive on multiple platforms – to the point where they are now indirectly and barely tangentially linked to the Great Oscars Envelope Piefight.

Stay with us here. We’ll get to it.

The mundane matter of winning has, as expected, taken care of itself. They’ve clinched a playoff berth earlier than any other team, at least in the 16-team playoff era, they’ve hit their full stride with the Kevin Durant trade, they’re nervously navigating the Draymond Green Cavalcade of Technical Fouls, and they have led their supporters into the same old trap of thinking that regular season success is the same as postseason invulnerability.

In that way, they are much as they were a year ago, and the year before that.

But it is their underrated ability to find ancillary links to the world outside the NBA that makes them more than merely, say, the 1983 Fo’-Fo’-Fo’ 76ers.

Steve Kerr has been a political and social critic, and more than once – meaning that he hasn’t stumbled into discussions about the political state of the nation as much as he has leaped into them eyes wide open and feet fireproofed. He has not been tricked into a comment, ever. He says what he wants, and is in that way the management equivalent of . . .

. . . Green, who is more often than not the de facto team spokesman, Pushback Division, in that he will speak to anyone on any subject at any time. He is in many ways the Swiss Army Knife of sound bites, and when he decides to err on the side of volubility does not mind taking on opponents, strangers, his coach and, occasionally even teammates. He is a walking debate about temper management that is either 1 or 1-A to DeMarcus Cousins.

Durant and Russell Westbrook have, less voluntarily, been the subjects of a semi-philosophical debate about loyalty vs. business vs. opportunity vs. abandonment. Much of it has been driven not by them but by us, but we let go of cheap and easy narratives with the same willingness that Rottweilers demonstrate with a burglar’s femur.

JaVale McGee, the backup center, has just now engaged with some force with megabus/provocateur Shaquille O’Neal over O’Neal’s intermittent needling of McGee that finally hit the red, resulting in a unilateral cease-fire imposed by O’Neal’s mother Lucille that has not yet been agreed to by McGee’s mother Pamela. In other words, this is a family thing, with all the landmined dynamics that implies – a sure-fire talker both for those who like their debates either trivialized or broadened to take on larger social themes.

And the Oscars? Well, Best Supporting Actor Mahershala Ali is a self-admitted huge fan of The Bridge, having grown up in the area, played at Mount Eden High and Saint Mary’s on a ball scholarship, and now he is part of the best Oscars story that doesn’t involve movie junkies since Sacheen Littlefeather rejected Marlon Brando’s Oscar on his behalf. That the Warriors weren’t wearing black armbands Monday night in Philadelphia to protest the envelope screwup is a missed opportunity that only having Ali courtside amid Joe Lacob, Pete Guber, Phil Hellmuth and Beyonce for Game 2 against Denver in April can remedy.

In other words, cue the marketing department.

Next to all this, the arcane notion of the Warriors clinching a playoff spot and being on pace to having the largest margin between conference winner and ninth-place team since Boston (67-15) whipped Cleveland (29-53) in 1986 by a smooth 38 games means – well, next to nothing. Especially since we now know, or should know, that nothing happens until June says it happens.

And if the Warriors are the brand name they occasionally claim to be by being more than just a superb basketball team, they will remain abreast of all social and cultural trends, fitting them as best they can between the 21 remaining off-days as best they can.

It is apparently their second calling – to be small but available thermometers for any subject you’ve got, from the changing nature of basketball to the coming civil war to the death of the sun. It’s a good thing they’ve taken care of the playoff thing; otherwise, there’d be no getting them to maintain focus.
 

NBA Gameday: Steph Curry close to passing Kobe Bryant

NBA Gameday: Steph Curry close to passing Kobe Bryant

Programming note: Warriors-76ers coverage starts today at 3pm with Warriors Pregame Live on CSN Bay Area, and streaming live right here.

Kevin Durant is expected back in the lineup when the Warriors begin one of the most demanding road trips in franchise history Monday in Philadelphia, where they play the struggling 76ers at Wells Fargo Center.

With Durant out of the lineup for the first time on Saturday, the Warriors (49-9) were choppy on offense but held off the atrocious Nets at Oracle Arena. Having him back means will take a major stumble to feel any threat from the 76ers.

It’s the first of a seven-game “road trip” that includes a one-game interruption in Oakland. Six of the games are on consecutive nights.

After a brief resurgence behind young center Joel Embiid, the 76ers (22-36) are back to the scrapping and hoping to compete. They’ve been surprisingly tough to beat, winning four of their last six.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 13.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Zaza Pachulia vs. Jahlil Okafor: With Embiid out indefinitely and Nerlens Noel traded away, Okafor becomes Philly’s most imposing player. The center is coming off a 28-point effort against the Knicks. If he’s able to get in a rhythm, things could get dicey. That said, the Warriors have enough capable big men to keep Okafor under control. It begins with Pachulia.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L hand contusion) is listed as probable. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

76ers: G Jerryd Bayless (L wrist surgery), C Andrew Bogut (personal), C Joel Embiid (L knee contusion), F Ben Simmons (R foot fracture) and C/F Tiago Splitter (R calf strain) are listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 8-2. 76ers: 4-6.

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors have won six in a row and seven of the last eight. They have won the last three in Philadelphia.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

EARLY LETHARGY: While the Warriors went through a light practice upon arrival in Philly on Sunday, they opted to sleep in rather than have the typical game-day shootaround Monday morning. This could affect the opening moments but is not likely to linger.

STEPH CHASES KOBE: Stephen Curry needs four 3-pointers to surpass Kobe Bryant and move into 11th place on the all-time list for triples. Curry currently has 1,824, while Bryant finished his career with 1,827.

WRAP IT UP: With this being the “easy” night of a back-to-back set (the Warriors travel to Washington Tuesday night to face the more formidable Wizards), the goal will be to take complete control of the game by the middle of the third quarter, thereby minimizing the minutes played by the regulars.