Colabello revisits "inexplicable" suspension that ended Blue Jays career

Sep 18 2023, 3:20 pm

When first baseman Chris Colabello joined the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015, he quickly became a fan favourite after getting the major-league call-up in May.

As a part of the team’s roster that year, which was the first Jays team to make the playoffs since 1993, he became forever etched in Toronto sports lore.

But any feelings of goodwill were mostly tossed aside the following April, when Colabello was slapped with an 80-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs just 10 games into his second year with Toronto.

He professed his innocence in a sit-down interview with Sportsnet’s Jamie Campbell four days after the suspension and vowed to get to the cause of his positive test.

But Colabello never made it back to playing at the MLB level, bouncing around a series of minor league and independent teams before retiring in 2019.

On Sunday, Colabello posted a lengthy statement about the suspension and the mental and human toll that the life-altering ban had on him.

“In any articles, podcasts, radio interviews, etc. that I have done, I’ve continued to stand by my story, and that I could never, would never, and have never compromised the integrity of the game of baseball,” Colabello shared in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

“In that time, not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about it or tried to find the answers as to how and why this happened. The evidence has continued to pile in our favour, as countless events that have continued to call into question the very thing, that myself and the other 20 or so players in baseball, and the countless other athletes in other sports were sanctioned for.”

Colabello played four seasons for the Blue Jays and Twins from 2013 to 2016 before getting suspended. Over the course of his MLB career, he had a .257 batting average, 187 hits, 28 homers, 111 RBIs and 86 runs scored across 727 at-bats.

Now, seven years removed from his Blue Jays career, Colabello is working with youth baseball players through the Pelotero coaching program and app that he co-founded.

“No innocent athlete deserves to have their reputations tarnished or the sport they love taken away from them. For many of us, the ripple effects went far beyond the obvious financial implications, and fundamentally altered the course of our lives,” Colabello said.

“The effects that getting suspended (for something I would never dream of doing) had on me, are inexplicable. They caused depression and anxiety that made me seek out professional help. They caused a two-year stretch in my life where I couldn’t enjoy the game that I have loved as much as I’ve ever loved anything. They caused strain on relationships in my life, and created a burden on my wife and parents that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.”

Colabello maintains that his test results were for trace amounts of Dehydrochloromethyltestosterone (abbreviated as DHCMT) and that people who “who get exposed via a simple touch of the skin on their hand, neck, and arm” can test positive “without ever ingesting the drug.” He went on to cite the documentary Doping Top Secret: GUILTY and a medical research article from the Department of Toxicology at the University
of Cologne about the detectability of DHCMT.

“I’ve watched other athletes in baseball and other sports go through the same things that I did. I’ve listened to them cry into the phone the same way I did. I’ve listened to them tell me they couldn’t eat or sleep for weeks at a time. I’ve felt the same pain they have. That feeling of being on a deserted island by themselves, where nobody would listen to them, or believe them,” he added.

“I’ve tried incredibly hard to pull myself away from the game since this happened, but it keeps pulling me back in. Baseball chose me, and not the other way around. And yet there’s a scar that will never go away every time I am around it.”

Adam LaskarisAdam Laskaris

+ Offside
+ Baseball
+ Blue Jays
+ Canada