Conway and Parke hit with 10-game bans for performance enhancing drugs


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New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Jon Conway and defender Jeff Parke have been suspended 10 matches each and fined 10 percent of their annual salaries after testing positive for a banned perfomance enhancing drug, MLS announced on Thursday.

Conway and Parke tested positive for androstatriendione (ATD) and boldenone metabolites, two banned performance enhancing substances. They will now miss the remainding two regular season matches and the playoffs, if the Red Bulls qualify.

The suspensions are the longest in MLS history.

“MLS has one of the strictest drug policies in professional sports and holds its athletes both responsible and accountable for what they put into their bodies,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said. “This is an important statement as to the high standards to which we hold our players.”

According to a league release, Conway and Parke purchased the nutrional supplement with the banned substances from a national vitamin store chain.

Red Bulls managing director Erik Stover released the following statement:

“Jon and Jeff have been valuable members of the Red Bulls organization, both on the field and in the Greater New York community," Stover said. “This is a sad day for our club and our fans.

"We are extremely disappointed that Jon and Jeff have tested positive for a substance banned by MLS’s policy.  We have met with both players and they informed us that they ingested an over-the-counter supplement that unknowingly contained a banned substance. However, the Red Bulls support MLS’ policy and believe that performance enhancing drugs have no place in professional sports.”

So what went wrong? It seems pretty clear that Conway and Parke purchased and ingested nutritional supplements that did not meet the strict guidelines of the MLS substance abuse policy. It might seem like a simple mistake, but this is professional sports and there are strict guidelines in place that pro athletes must follow to avoid this very kind of situation.

Conway is in the first year of a four-year contract he just signed last off-season. His 2008 salary is $110,000, meaning he is facing an $11,000 fine for the violation. Jeff Parke’s 2008 salary is just under $57,500, meaning he will be fined just under $5,750 for the violation.

The shocking news puts a major dent into the Red Bulls’ quest for a playoff spot as now the team will have to rely on untested back-up goalkeeper Danny Cepero, while also trying to replace Parke in central defense.

So what will the team look like now? Here’s a lineup we could see on Saturday:


Van den Bergh—–Magee———Richards




What do you think of the news? Does this effectively end the Red Bulls’ playoff hopes? Could it be a blessing in disguise?

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57 Responses to Conway and Parke hit with 10-game bans for performance enhancing drugs

  1. Frimp says:


    that’s all I have to offer. major disappointment.

  2. Tom P says:

    Christ – It sure as hell wasn’t helping Conway.

  3. Erik Abarca says:

    WOW!!! Ives, what is ur starting back line looking like now for RBNY?

  4. cammie v says:

    Did both of these players think that because this stuff was over the counter, it was OK? This was the impression I got from Goff’s account, that is, the substances are readily available in vitamin stores. That’s the only excuse I can find for this piece of stupidity.I’m a Revs fan, but I’m sorry to see this happen to the Red Bulls.

  5. Alex says:

    that raises 2 questions, how come Santino Quaranta who admitted he was addicted to cocaine last season (god knows for how many season and probably still is) was never caught last year and 2) Does David Beckham get tested for this kind of crap or he is excused(i’d bet he is not all that clean him self)

  6. werner says:

    this might be a break for the galaxy in there chances (still low chances) of making the playoffs

  7. OgreDave says:


    Anyway, Ives why would you think that they would put in Cepero?

    Cepero was Baldwin High School’s back-to-back soccer conference championship whoo hoo! and in any kind of professional competition being in college he had a 0.76 goals against average.

    While Boss who has a professional league experience. He Ranked second in the USL 2 league with a 0.691 GAA, while leading the league in wins (11) and shutouts (9).

    I hope Osario makes the right decision.

  8. RS says:

    1) What a disappointment

    2) Let’s Go Revs! Beat DC tonight

    3) I’m trying to figure out what Beckham has to do with this?

  9. kahlva says:

    If this really is deserving of such a huge punishment – does anyone really think these two are the only ones in the league who have bought entirely legal, over-the-counter vitamins?

    Seems a lopsided punishment.

  10. SonicDeathMonkey says:

    Alex, could you be more of an idiot? I rather doubt it.

  11. PCFC says:

    Wow! Why the hell would Conway need performance-enhancing drugs?

  12. Don Garber says:

    I must be paying them too much if they can afford drugs …

  13. BringMathisBack says:

    This is ridiculous. An over the counter substance? Unless MLS holds a seminar which specifically shows each player what to look for on a label in order to not break the rules, then this is inexcusable.

  14. Josh says:

    Clearly the drugs weren’t helping. Maybe Garber’s suspending them in order to HELP the Red Bulls get into the playoffs.

  15. kahlva says:

    Jimenez instead of Cichero? Sassano instead of Leitch?

    I’d be surprised?

  16. Brant says:

    Y’know – I saw something once by a talking head on TV discussing a football player’s ban for a similar issue. He noted the bottom line is this:

    if you’re a professional athlete, never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never ever ingest *anything* that hasn’t been specifically cleared by the team trainer, and if he’s not certain, he better damn well check with the league, whether it’s “legal”/over-the-counter or not.

    Don’t ever take any type of pill that’s not given to you by the trainer, or cleared by him. Hand him the box make a copy of the list of ingredients in the photocopier and blow it up huge so it’s easier to read. Whatever it takes, but don’t put anything in your body that the trainer and/or the league has cleared you for.

  17. Coach says:

    The season is not over. Parke had a good game last week but overall, neither of them has been playing as good as last year. RB always squeaks in. The other teams fighting it out have been equally dreadful, perhaps more.

  18. John says:

    First, it’s a bit ridiculous to try and bring up other names of other players. I bet Beckham is clean–after all, he was just recently on the England squad for the Kazakhstan match and FIFA certainly drug tests. As for Quaranta, I thought the issue was legal painkillers (ie: not something banned under the MLS collective bargaining agreement).

    Second, what a body blow. Puts a whole other perspective on trading Thornton. Maybe the team can gut it out for 2 games. Still, it’s real hard to see Cepero coming in and dealing with the pressure of the last 2 games with the playoffs on the line.

    Third, this probably has expansion draft implications. Do you expose Conway and Parke knowing that they could be out for potentially 1/4th of the 2009 season and figuring that Seattle wouldn’t be interested?

  19. Dro Scott says:

    shouldve kept rimando

  20. Dro Scott says:

    edit: bring back Meola!!!

    haha jk

  21. wendel says:

    ives do you know if there will be any kind of appeal?

  22. kawa says:

    F)_)k it , its hopeless with this team i’m not offiacially a fan of any new team in the city area, f(*k this club too much blood pressure and drama from these folks.

  23. thumpjosh says:

    i’m glad beckham was brought up. i mean, that’s exactly where my mind went. good talking point Alex, good talking point.

  24. kpugs says:

    As much as this sucks for the team (just in time for our annual late season collapse anyone?), I agree with the team statement.

    I believe that it was a mistake, but it’s also their own fault. Gotta suspend them and I can’t complain about it.

  25. gas huffer says:

    Quaranta was on coke.

  26. ag nigrin says:

    This is not good for team morale but, as others have written, it may prove to be a blessing in disguise!

  27. patrick says:

    I can’t really agree with those that are in the “it was over the counter!!!!” camp. As had been mentioned in this post, you’re a professional athlete. I understand they don’t have the person trainers and nutritionists as NBA players or NFL or MLB players but the fact is every MLS player gets a list of banned substances. You’re at practice everyday, or close to it; toss it to a trainer and get the ok!

    To play devils advocate, why are we all so quick to believe them? If an MLB player said this we’d call BS. I’m not inclined to think they’re lying but we should all be aware that in any other sport, there’s no way anyone would believe this, unless of course, you support their team.

  28. HerthaBerwyn says:

    And Juan Quisling is a real health nut (or something) During the Fire charity golf outing last year he chastised us (the golfers) for eating hot dogs and drinking beer.

  29. HerthaBerwyn says:

    And Juan Quisling is a real health nut (or something) During the Fire charity golf outing last year he chastised us (the golfers) for eating hot dogs and drinking beer.

  30. JSquaredNY says:

    This franchise is such a joke. Conway is waaaaaayyyyy overpaid by the way. Especially if that’s how good he is on performance enhancing drugs.

  31. Sterlinho says:

    Maybe that’s why Conway looks so creepy.

  32. Rudy says:


  33. mikeK says:

    We’re done… Same old Metro.

  34. former St. Louisan says:

    Some over-the-counter nutritional supplements have steroid precursors or things that increase the body’s natural testosterone (as I believe is the case with androstatriendione). Depending on what sport you play, certain of these supplements may or may not meet the sport’s requirements. (See McGwire, Mark, 1998.) I find it hard to believe that any professional athlete would take a nutritional supplement without checking out its ingredients.

  35. Joamiq says:



    I agree with OgreDave about Boss. In a situation like this, professional composure is key. Boss should definitely be given strong consideration over Cepero.

  36. martha in miami says:

    On the bright side they can go compete in the Tour de France now…Kidding! NO WAY Beckham does drugs…hed play better…Kidding Again, ya gotta laugh, oh well.

  37. Neumannator says:

    I would agree with the same old metro and late season collapse comments but this seems so much larger. We’re talking about the longest ban in mls history here and banned substances. I’m not saying these are the best players on the team or anything but this is a sad state of affairs.

  38. martha in miami says:

    p.s. I like how Ives figured out the 10 percent for us, lol! Where does that money go to mls, what do they use it for? Just curious, as we paid into that kitty heavily in our Fusion days, with the well deserved punch or spitting on certain opposing teams!

  39. kofi_x5 says:


    Sassano against Heydude? maybe. Against Schelotto? Mmmmm…. But Leitch ? Mmmmm…

    Rogers injured? Well if they put him in, Sassano should be able to take care of RR

  40. Steve says:

    It was obvious to all of us that they were terrible, now its obvious that they’re stupid too.

    As is anybody defending them.

  41. Gerald says:

    John – very interesting point on the expansion draft

  42. Chris says:

    WOW!! even with drugs conway still sucks! it obvious not even magic can help him now!!

  43. Modibo says:

    As a cycling fan, this discussion seems naive. When a cyclist is accused of doping, it is assumed by most commentators that when he says he was using baldness medication/ nutritional supplements/ lip balm/ hemmorhoid cream, he is lying.

    Why should we believe that Parke and Conway and the RBNY organization are accurately reporting what they did or did not ingest?

    This is what they said happened. If it was, they should have passed everything under the medical team’s eyes before it passed their lips as others have said. But I have no reason to believe their statements, any more than I have to believe Alexander Vinokourov, Erik Zabel, or David Millar.

  44. sche says:

    All of those “performance enhancing drugs” only to end up in a lower table team. lol

  45. bc says:

    Did RBNY get wind of this investigation (I think the ESPN broadcast mentioned that it was ongoing for about 2 months) prior to today’s release? Did this perhaps have something to do with why Boss was brought on board? (Although perhaps after they dealt away Thornton?)

  46. Shawn Smith says:

    After months and months of telling anyone who would listen what a moron he this dude is, it’s nice to see that I was on to something without even knowing.

    Cepero FTW!

  47. Eugene says:

    Regarding the expansion draft, it makes sense to expose Conway because Seattle have Kasey Keller signed up and for sure he’s starting. Would they really want to acquire a back-up GK for a $110k hit to the salary cap? VERY doubtful. I would say leave Conway exposed, very low probability that Seattle takes him.

    Parke, on the other hand, they may actually take and NY can’t afford to lose him, so can’t gamble there. (I’m implying that NY can gamble with Conway because he hasn’t been a show stopping keeper anyway and we have 3 more guys on the roster, plus can always acquire another keeper like Matt Perkins).

  48. Joseph says:

    Red Bull… It gives you wings…. oops!

  49. RichBull NJNY says:

    This is a nightmare. When I wanted MLS news to splash onto the sports scene, this wasn’t what I meant! Sweet Jesus! 10 games! Impressive punishment considering this small league and low earning athletes. Still, maybe Cepero (who I assume is starting over Boss cause he’s the official backup) will shine. Parke will be missed. I see Cichero before Leitch in there, no? Hey Ives, can (will) they appeal?? The timing is terrible.

  50. Bits says:







  51. Ives says:

    Bits, MLS rosters are frozen so no, the Red Bulls won’t be able to add players. They are stuck with 26. Also, Conway and Parke are suspended for all competitions, so no, they wouldn’t have been able to play in Champions League.

  52. Dylan says:

    RSL should get all the points from the last game.

  53. brett says:

    wouldnt a better punishment be to resign them to the redbulls indefinitely??

    i mean thats about as bad as being in limbo…

  54. Barry Jive and His Uptown Five says:

    Conway and Parke should know better than to try the old “we bought it over the counter” shtick. Both men have access to a team of trainers and the team doctor along with nutritionists. It’s complete bullsh1t that both of the athletes would float an excuse so weak and embarrassing as to disqualify them from men’s sports altogether. Conway and Parke are not men, they’re lying, cheating FemBulls.

  55. I think we should have a congressional hearing on this. (It would provide a good distraction to our economic woes and give the population what they love – outrage!)

    Sure is a lot of judgment when the reality is you have very little fact of what happened. What the hell did they buy that had these substances?

    And, how much of these substances were in their system? Seems like everyone is jumping the gun grabbing their pitchforks and fires to burn these guys on the stake.

  56. CoachK26 says:

    Wait a min U guys are being plain dumb. I have coached soccer at Varsity level. Yes we tell our kids all about Steroids etc but this was an unknown substance.(NO not real Steroids) These were clean cut kids and they don’t make the millions that baseball football or basketball players make. They were NOT cheating?? Instead they make about .10% of those salaries so why the extraordinary penalty? Because MLS which is run by the seat of their pants is a micky mouse league. You know the mouse that roared..They definitely have an inferiority complex and why pick on the Red Bulls ? Pleeeze tell me no other player has tried to get a lift from a VITAMIN??after an injury? HELLO Btm line 5 games and move on You made your mistake Take your punishment and little MLS gets it’s 15 min of fame.

    Coach K

  57. Macdad65 says:

    No way in hell these idiots are telling the truth. Boldenone is a bovine steroid that is NOT approved for human consumption. It does not creep into GNC-style supplements. Ever.

    These chemically-enhanced pricks are dirty filthy liars and should be permanently banned for offering up such a weak excuse.

    Of course their lawyer will never identify the ‘tainted’ substance by name.