Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Be my guest, check out my package

How do I end up in a bathroom stall at the Borgata with my pants around my knees while a man named Bill stares at my penis? Earlier that morning I had made over ten phone calls to three different people before arranging the final details of my afternoon meeting. After meeting up with Bill we wasted no time as we casually strolled through the men's room doors. The two of us quickly snuck passed the corridor of urinals toward the last stall; it was our best bet for going unnoticed. Luckily it was unoccupied and we moved right in.

Not many words were said in the stall. Both of us were completely comfortable with the procedure. Bill took out the package, but I was the one who had to break the seal. I ripped open the plastic container, finally revealing a short plastic cup, the one to capture my random urine sample.

I had known Bill was going to show up around four in the afternoon so I was well prepared. After drinking 5 or 6 cranberry juices I couldn't wait to piss, but I figured that was a good thing. I couldn't risk having stage fright in that type of situation. I mean, what would I have done? Chat it up with Bill over a couple of beers while he stared at my junk.

I had thought I had an original story, but was mistaken. It didn't take many interviews before finding out most players on the team had some kind of crazy urination story. Rock Cartwright was thrown into the same situation as me. "I was standing in the middle of the bathroom in the New York, New York casino in Las Vegas and the dude says ‘Just do it in front of the urinal.’ Forget the stall; I was standing ass out in front of a urinal with some guy peeping around my shoulder," says Rock.

Clinton Portis was called for a test in the middle of a party at his mother's house. Shouldn't have been a big deal to head up to the bathroom and take care of business. The problem started when the side door to the bathroom connected to his mother's bedroom. It must have been so embarrassing to have you mom walk into the bathroom with your pants down and package in hand while another man closely watches.

The procedure for the NFL steroid testing is very exact. Obviously it doesn't discriminate where the test occurs, but more importantly the steps taken to collect the sample. When a player is drawn for a random drug test it must happen within 24 hours. It doesn't matter where that player is the NFL will have someone track you down. If a player cannot give a sample of urine it is counted as an automatic fail, thus the uncomfortable situations.

To begin a test a player must show some form of government issued identification. The I.D. is never taken for granted by the test giver. It doesn't matter how recognizable the player is, they must produce valid identification. In other words, Peyton Manning is going to take out his license before he is granted permission to spill some urine.

After being ID’ed the player is given a line up of identical urine cups. All of the cups are factory sealed in plastic, but it feels like an important choice in life when making the cup selection. "Let’s see what’s inside cup number three Bob. Oh look, we got a winner." After the cups the player gets to continue his selection process with the official anabolic steroid testing paperwork. It's surprising why the cup and paperwork isn't just handed to you.

Once the selection process ends the player must wash his hands before the real fun begins. Who knows what someone could put all over their fingers to tamper with the results? The testee then takes his shirt off and moves into the bathroom stall. At this point the pants must go down below the knees. In my case they usually fall closer to the ankles. I feel like a four-year-old kid standing bare assed in front of the stall while my dad coaches me on, making sure I don't piss all over myself.

Normally I feel embarrassed, but then I put myself in the position of the tester. If someone asks him what he does for a living his only honest j0b description could be "dick watcher." Bill (the tester) has seen an uncanny amount of penises. He must stare closely at all of them making sure there are no “Whizzinators" filling that special little cup. To think, Brett Farve's penis could be the topic of discussion at his dinner table that night, and Bill knows all the details.

On behalf of the NFL and all the drug testers, every test I've ever done has been conducted very professionally and I know most players feel the same way. I am thankful that the NFL is willing to go to such great lengths to collect urine samples from players at anytime. It is ridiculous that players try to sneak in a cycle of steroids in our few months off and with the way the NFL drug tests they make that very difficult for players to do. Sometimes they (tests) just have to occur in uncomfortable situations. Which hopefully I have conveyed in this story, can become quite the tale to tell.

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