Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt was suspended 20 games after being tested for a banned substance. The problem? Experts are saying it was accidental.
This is going to be a real bad look for the NHL. In fact, as the morning winds onward, it’s already a bad look and the problem is only set to grow out of hand. You see, this is no ordinary case.
The Vegas Golden Knights announced the league suspension of Nate Schmidt on Sunday, issuing a statement strongly disagreeing with the NHL’s decision that he took a banned substance. Schmidt himself went to the press to claim his innocence, and as fans are want to do, we take these pleas with a grain of salt.
Except, well, experts are saying that’s literally what the tested amount comes down to. According to them, what they found is equal to a “pinch of salt in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.”
Here’s Schmidt’s response:
While we aren’t scientists, even we can conclude that such a minute trace of substance or chemical — 7 billionths of a milligram/mL to be exact — isn’t going to net a player much in the way of physical enhancement. In fact, from the testing of a hair sample, one expert made the assertion that the amount is so small, it had to have been purely accidental. That or Schmidt has been ingesting large quantities of poppy-seeded muffins.
We haven’t been told what the banned substance is, but it doesn’t really matter. The NHL needs to fix this before it turns into a PR nightmare. From Schmidt’s comments, we wouldn’t be surprised if he continues to fight this tooth and nail. And he should. He’s losing a large chunk of change during the 20-game stretch.
The NHL hasn’t yet released their own response, though we can gather they aren’t likely to budge from the ruling. The experts were brought in during the actual appeal hearing, meaning if the league won’t even recognize cold, hard evidence as it’s presented to them face-to-face, the odds of them changing the tune now are remote. About as small as a pinch of salt in a swimming pool, probably.