Steroid Investigators Target Capitals' Training Facility
"Some of Dr. (Douglas) Nagel's patients included both current and former Capitals players," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told FanHouse in a phone interview. "We need to make it clear that we don't know at this point, that we don't have conclusive proof any of these players have purchased drugs. That's still under investigation."
Before authorities entered the Capitals office building that is attached to the team's practice rink, a Polk County Sheriff's detective told FanHouse that they were "looking to talk to a few players."
"The Washington Capitals are not the target of this investigation and there is no evidence that steroids were provided to any Capitals players," Capitals spokesman Nate Ewell said in a statement. "This has been a thorough investigation and we are satisfied that law enforcement, the NHL and our own internal investigation have not led to any link of steroid use by Capitals players."
Ewell said the Capitals have been "fully cooperative and transparent in the past as well as today."
Nagel, 50, has offices in nearby Reston and Sterling. Nagel's wife, Jan, who is also a chiropractor, refused to answer FanHouse's questions and hung up. Earlier in the day, an outgoing message said he works as the Capitals' chiropractor.
A brochure for a baseball medical conference also lists Nagel as "chiropractic consultant" for Capitals and the Washington Nationals, although Ewell said Nagel "is not affiliated with the Washington Capitals and is not the'team chiropractor.'" The Nationals put out a statement that said they "have absolutely no association with this doctor. And never have."
Some Capitals players, however, have gone to Nagel for "standard, routine chiropractic services," according to Ewell.
Judd said the investigation stems from a nearly year-long inquiry into Richard "Andy" Thomas of Lakeland, Fla. He was arrested last June after authorities intercepted steroids and human growth hormone from the Slovak Republic and several other countries. At the time of his arrest, Thomas told authorities he sold steroids to the Washington Capitals and the Nationals.
According to an affidavit, Thomas met with Nagel through a mutual friend. After Thomas' arrest, he agreed to make calls to Nagel, but Nagel refused to discuss their alleged dealings over the phone.
Nagel said on his business' Web site that he competed in national bodybuilding events. A list of U.S. Postal Service and FedEx waybills shows Nagel took in nine shipments from Thomas between June 2008 through May 2009.
"Quite frankly, Dr. Nagel takes responsibility for buying illegal drugs and steroids," Judd said. "He says he wasn't selling them, but we don't believe that. You look at the quantities involved and it far surpasses the amount anybody would need for personal use."
Judd said officials from Major League Baseball and the National Football League have been very cooperative, but didn't say the same of the National Hockey League.
"The NHL's stance was that nobody there did anything wrong and since there aren't any charges, they didn't want to work with us," Judd said. "They are not being as cooperative as we would have liked."
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said the league's investigation showed "no evidence that Dr. Nagel ever supplied (or even offered to supply) performance enhancing drugs to any current or past member of the Washington Capitals."
The NHL remains the only major pro sport in the nation not to test during the playoffs. Coincidently, only two of the nine shipments took place during the NHL regular season where players are subject to testing. One of the shipments (April 4, 2008) came just two days after the regular season concluded.