EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate said his doctor told him the fertility medication that was prescribed to him and led to a positive test did not include a banned substance. He claims the doctor added that he had given it to other NFL players.
Tate, the Giants' key offseason acquisition to help offset the loss in production of Odell Beckham Jr., is set to serve a four-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. His appeal was denied Tuesday by an independent arbitrator.
The veteran receiver identified the illegal substance that prompted a positive test as clomiphene, most often used to treat infertility in women. It can lead to an increase in testosterone and sperm count for males, even though it is not FDA approved.
Tate thought the NFL would be understanding after looking at the facts of his case. He admitted being frustrated, but understood the ruling.
"I have no problem with accepting the punishment," Tate said. "Ultimately, I'm responsible for what is put in my body."
Tate left open the possibility of taking action against his doctor, even though as a veteran with 137 career games under his belt he knows the process.
"I think ultimately just because the doctor had said, 'No, it's not a banned substance and I have prescribed it to other NFL guys.' If the doctor said I'm not sure, I 100 percent would have looked into it," Tate said. "If the doctor had never said he had given it to any other NFL players, I 1000 percent would have looked into it. I have gone through the TUE process for a couple medicines and I completely understand it."
Tate has used therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) in the past. TUEs are available to players who need to take medications that are appropriate for the treatment of specific medical conditions. The exemptions include fertility issues since some fertility drugs are known to serve as masking agents.
"If you look at me, I'm not trying to cheat," Tate said. "I think I've represented the NFL shield fairly well my career and I've achieved a lot of things. I hope that this doesn't smear the reputation that I've worked very hard for."
Tate self-reported himself after taking a drug test. He said there was a realization during a dinner with an associate that perhaps he was taking an illegal substance.
The 31-year-old Tate is married with two young children. He declined to detail why he began using the clomiphene, citing that it was "very, very personal." He also was asked Tuesday about comments he made in 2013 with the Seattle Seahawks. Tate was critical of two teammates who received suspensions for substance abuse violations, calling them "selfish."
"I think that is a completely different situation than me taking a substance to try to have another kid," Tate said.
And what if there were teammates he were to encounter who considered his actions selfish?
"It hasn't been asked of me so I haven't had to address it," Tate said. "I'll think about that one though."