Ray Lewis, the Baltimore Ravens star linebacker, may have unknowingly caused a surge in the sale of performance-enhancing drugs.
Lewis, 37-year-old veteran on the way to his second Super Bowl, was the subject of a Sports Illustrated article that alleged his use of a substance called deer antler spray provided by S.W.A.T.S.- a two-man company called Sports With Alternatives to Steroids. Now, the publication is reporting that the sale of Deer Antler velvet, which contains the chemical IGF-1 that regulates human growth hormones in the body, has increased.
Brianne Vaskovardzic, director of marketing for Private Label Nutraceuticals, which makes a form of the Deer Antler spray, said that Lewis' name connected with the product has fueled sales.
"The phones have been ringing off the hook today," Vaskovardzic said in an ESPN report.
"It's the nature of the industry- when a sports figure speaks positively or negatively about a product, the sales pop."
Lewis spoke with S.W.A.T.S's owner Mitch Ross after tearing his right tricep last October, according to the S.I. report.
Ross told Sports Illustrated that he recorded a conversation with Lewis where the linebacker inquired about receiving Deer Antler spray. Lewis was questioned during the Super Bowl media day about taking any of the alleged performance enhancers during his rehabilitation process, as alleged by Ross in the Sports Illustrated report.
Lewis called entertaining the story "stupidity" and refused to focus on the matter.
"That was a two year old story that you want me to refresh. I won't give him the credit for his antics," Lewis told the press of Ross' claims. "Every test I've ever took in the NFL there's never been a question."
Despite the fact that Lewis would not admit to using the product, ESPN reports that Google searches pertaining to the product and its effects were the second highest in search engine findings since 2004.