Is Nick Calathes missing the playoffs because he’s going bald?

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Memphis Grizzlies backup point guard Nick Calathes was suspended 20 games for violating the NBA’s steroid policy.

He’s appealed the suspension, and his attorney has denied Calathes had any intent to cheat.

So what gives?

David Whitley of the Orlando Sentinel:

he’s going bald and doesn’t like it. So he took Rogaine or minoxidil or some sort of baldness treatment. It contained tamoxifen, a prescription drug normally used to treat breast cancer. It is one of approximately 140 items on the NBA’s banned list.

For privacy reasons, nobody has publicly said Calathes’ “medical issue” is baldness. But all you have to do is listen to the whispers and take a look at him.

“He’s going bald at 24,” one person said. “Nobody wants to do that.”

Nobody wants the world to know they’re slathering on Rogaine, either.

If this is true, I feel bad for Calathes, but I don’t believe the NBA should reverse its suspension.

The league can’t test for intent. Players who knowingly violate the steroid policy can easily lie about their circumstances, attempting to draw sympathy. It would sound just like Calathes’ excuses.

if the NBA wants to have and enforce a steroids policy, it must punish every positive test regardless of stated intent. The burden must be on the players to avoid banned substances. Sorry to any non-cheaters who test positive – potentially including Calathes – but there’s just no other way.