But what is dehydroepiandrosterone? Is it anything like the steroids baseball and football players have been disciplined for?
Major League Baseball, however, does not prohibit the use of DHEA by its players. Yahoo! baseball writer Jeff Passan wrote about DHEA in May, when he reports the representatives of Manny Ramirez considered blaming high testosterone levels found in the slugger's blood on the supplement before other evidence pointed to a more sinister doping program (which included feminine fertility pills).
Passan reported that Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, whose son is a lobbyist for a major DHEA production firm, killed the Senate bill attempting to reclassify DHEA. But baseball bans only compounds demarked as controlled substances by the government; hence, so long as Hatch keeps DHEA off the controlled substance list (or until the union can be convinced otherwise), baseball will allow its players to use DHEA. No such "luck" for Lewis. (Obviously, when you're a pro athlete, you need to know what you put in your body.)
This is the first major NBA suspension for PEDs. Lindsey Hunter, a sparingly used veteran playing for Detroit, was suspended 10 games in 2007 for testing positive for phentermine, a drug he blamed use of his wife's diet pills on. Darius Miles was also suspended 10 games last season on an outstanding PED violation: he also tested positive for phentermine. Phentermine is a controlled substance legal to obtain in the United States by prescription only -- in other words, phentermine falls under stricter possession/use guidelines according to the law than DHEA does.