Gilbert’s battle to clear his name continues
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Reno middleweight Joey Gilbert’s mission to clear his name after testing positive for six banned substances in pre- and post-fight urinalyses is shaping up to be every bit the kind of battle he has fought in the ring.
A day after Gilbert had apparently cleared himself from the charge of testing positive for methamphetamine, Dr. Robert Voy – one of two forensic toxicologists hired by the boxer – told the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Thursday that Gilbert had once again tested positive for a steroid in a private test requested by the fighter.
The private test was conducted by the same agency – Quest Diagnostics – that tested the original sample.
Three of the five-member commission – T.J. Day, Pat Lundvall and Raymond “Skip” Avansino – were present at the Reno City Council Chamber, while executive director Keith Kizer and the other two commissioners – Bill Brady and NSAC chairman John Bailey participated in the agenda hearing from Las Vegas.
Following his Sept. 21 knockout over Charles Howe, Gilbert tested positive for Stanozolol metabolite (formerly known as Winstrol), methamphetamine, amphetamine, noriazepam, oxazepam and temazepam.
Gilbert requested that a B sample of his urine be re-tested for Stanozolol, amphetamine and methamphetamine by the Center for Human Toxicology at the University of Utah.
The results of the test for steroids have yet to be completed, but the commission announced Wednesday that the B sample again tested positive for amphetamine, but negative for the street drug methamphetamine.
Former law partner Mark Schopper, of Reno, who filled in for Gilbert’s acting attorney, Henderson’s Jamie Cogburn, represented Gilbert at the hearing. Dr. Raymond C. Kelly, of Las Vegas – Gilbert’s other toxicologist – was also present.
Schopper requested that his client be granted the continuance because he needed the time to review the facts of the case and because of alleged difficulties of getting the B samples tested in Utah.
Bailey concurred with the other commission members and granted the continuance until Gilbert, who is currently serving a temporary suspension retroactive to Sept. 21, is ready to go forward with the disciplinary hearing.
Before the hearing adjourned, however, Kizer asked if Gilbert had ever taken the private test, at which time Voy informed the commission of the results.
“You have kept the results hidden for more than a month,” an aggravated Kizer said. “Why are we hearing about this for the first time today? Were you ever going to tell us?”
Dr. Voy said he didn’t want to present the evidence until all of the information was ready, but Schopper said the reason also had to due with what he characterized as negative media coverage of his high-profile client.
Schopper criticized an earlier statement by Kizer that he’d heard from a scientist that the only way a person could test positive for steroids and meth is by taking the drugs. Gilbert, Schopper said, has had his name unfairly linked to meth in publications such as USA Today, ESPN and Der Berlin Kurier, which ran the headline “Dummste Doper Der Welt,” which translates to “Dumbest Doper in the World.”
“We know now that he didn’t test positive for methamphetamine,” Schopper said.
After the meeting, Gilbert said that he tested positive for amphetamine because he has taken Addarall, a prescribed stimulant, for years, and that Kizer is well aware of it.
After showing reporters the result of an Oct. 15 hair drug test, which didn’t indicate the presence of any illegal drugs (steroids can’t be tested in hair samples), Gilbert also displayed a photograph of him standing in front of a table filled with more than 70 over-the-counter supplements he takes.
Kelly said the Oct. 5 test shows that steroids were “ingested – knowingly or unknowingly” – by Gilbert.
Gilbert said the only way he could have ingested Stanozolol is unknowingly. Then he launched an invective on Kizer.
“You can’t believe anything that comes out of Keith Kizer’s mouth,” Gilbert said. “He said the tests were 100-percent accurate, that he didn’t need a B sample. He implied consistently that I used meth. I’ve tested negative. I have the hair test. There’s a lot they don’t know about. Now is not the proper time to talk about it.”
Schopper said Kizer “gives the appearance of a bias against Joey Gilbert.”
Gilbert said the affair has taken a huge toll on him.
“Honestly, it’s one of the most embarrassing, humiliating times of my life,” Gilbert said. “I’ve been made out to be a meth user while he (Kizer) has continued on his witch hunt. My friends have read the papers and call it ‘The Joey Gilbert Scandal.’ They ask me, ‘Who is this guy that’s beating you up in the press?’
“In New Mexico and Florida where I train, they ask me, ‘What did you do to this Kizer guy?’ Maybe he doesn’t like the way I’ve reacted to it. I speak to the kids in this town. I don’t use drugs. I haven’t had a drink of alcohol in five years. There’s a reason. I want to keep my health and image as clean as possible. Now I hear the slandering of my character over and over and over again.”
Gilbert and Schopper also took issue with the fact that his social security number and address have appeared on several documents supplied to the media. Those documents are considered public.
Kizer said he had no problem with Gilbert’s continuance and the only reason he brought up the Oct. 5 test is because of a conversation he had had with deputy commissioner and Nevada club boxing coach Mike Martino, who said that Gilbert had told him he was unable to get a urine sample tested at a Quest in Reno.
“It was around 5 (p.m. on Oct 5) and I told Mike that maybe the people were gone home or had to go somewhere else,” Kizer said. “We didn’t know. Later I talked to Dr. Voy about the second test and that I’d like the results now. He said he’d have to talk to Joey. Today I asked the question. I just didn’t want to play games with this case. I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting.
“My purpose was to get everything out in the open now – was there another test? What was the result of that test? Let’s get it in the open now.”
Schopper and Gilbert also said that Kelly was in possession of documents that show Gilbert tested negative for meth once before and that Kizer was aware of that negative test and chose not to make it public.
Kizer said he was unaware of any such document and to his understanding and according to Quest, Gilbert tested and re-tested positive for meth.
“I hope the negative test is the right test,” Kizer said. “Why hope otherwise? I hope the reading gave a false positive. The odds of that are one in a million. It’s more likely to have a false negative – that’s much more common. If they can figure it out (the discrepancy) – great. I haven’t talked to Joey. I have nothing against him.”
Schopper also said Quest never conducted a meth discrimination test, which would indicate if the reading came from the street drug or possibly a Vick’s inhaler.
Kizer said that anyone could find articles on suspended mixed martial artists and boxers who have bad things to say about him.
“They are not fans of Keith Kizer either,” he said. “It’s very sad to get a (positive) drug result. He helped revive Reno boxing. We don’t play favorites when it comes to drug tests. This commission never has and never will play favorites. Just because he’s Mr. Reno doesn’t mean we’ll sweep it under the rug.”
That said, Kizer added that he’s not taking Gilbert’s rancor personally.
“It’s not the first time. I don’t hold it against them (suspended fighters),” Kizer said. “If he didn’t do the drugs, it’s too bad he tested positive.”