Tim Tebow, BALCO chemist on witness list in banned drug case

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USA TODAYFormer NFL quarterback Tim Tebow has been a big believer in the training methods of Ian Danney.Tebow praised Danney, his fitness trainer in Arizona, for helping him with a muscle injury in 2016, calling it “Ian’s magic” in a book authored by Tebow last year. The former Heisman Trophy winner also raved about one of Danney’s workout programs — “Danney Ball” — in a local news video featuring Danney’s Performance Enhancement Professionals business in Scottsdale.But Danney’s business practices involving high-profile athletes recently have come under scrutiny after two different athletes filed separate lawsuits against Danney that accuse him of giving or injecting them with banned performance-enhancing drugs.Plaintiffs in both cases want Tebow to testify, and one lists him as an expected witness at trial next year in Arizona, along with former NFL player James Harrison and Patrick Arnold, the chemist at the heart of the BALCO sports doping scandal more than 15 years ago.Tebow is “expected to testify regarding the Defendants’ illegal activities, to include, but not be limited to: procuring prescription medications and illegal substances to distribute to PEP clients — including those distributed by Danney to Mr. Tebow,” according to a plaintiff’s filing in Arizona state court obtained by USA TODAY Sports.The plaintiff in that case is former Olympic bobsledder Gea Johnson, who filed suit against him in February 2018. She is seeking damages from Danney for negligence involving a banned substance, as well as other claims against him, including sexual assault.Danney, 49, has denied the allegations and is fighting both lawsuits. Representatives for Tebow didn’t return messages seeking comment.Danney’s attorney, Louis Lopez, noted other claims made by Johnson were withdrawn or dismissed by the court. “Mr. Danney is pursuing all legal remedies to obtain dismissal of the remaining claims of the lawsuit that the Court has yet to dismiss,” Lopez said in an e-mail.In a separate lawsuit in California, Oakland Raiders defensive lineman Corey Liuget has accused Danney of injecting him with a banned growth-hormone peptide without his consent, causing Liuget to be suspended by the NFL last year. Danney pleaded the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer questions 46 times in July during pretrial deposition testimony, including whether he gave injections to Tebow and former NFL player LeRon Landry, according to court documents. Landry is out of the NFL after being suspended three times for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy.Tebow is not known to have violated any drug policy, and Danney said in the same deposition he did not provide Tebow with “any illegal substance.”In the Arizona case, Johnson, who also competed as a cyclist, tested positive for the banned stimulant Nuvigil in August 2016 as part of testing by U.S. the Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).After telling USADA that Danney was her source for this controlled substance, an arbitration panel in 2017 found that she had produced sufficient evidence to prove that she had obtained the Nuvigil from Danney. The panel said “these facts raise questions about where Mr. Danney obtained a prescription medication in such quantities” but said those questions weren’t material to her case. The panel issued her a 21-month suspension for the violation.In her lawsuit, she said she relied on Danney to guide her in the drug’s use and used it to help battle fatigue. Danney stated in a court filing that Johnson “took the Nuvigil upon the advice of her physician who was licensed to prescribe the medication.”In another recent court filing in the Arizona case, an e-mail from Johnson’s attorney explains to Danney’s attorney why Harrison was a relevant witness in the case.”James Harrison was a long-time client and friend of lan Danney’s who was present and worked with Gea Johnson and observed her job functions over a period of many years,” said the e-mail from attorney Bill Gilbert. “He knows the inner workings of lan Danney’s enterprises, and the illegal activity that lan engaged in that created the anxiety and fear that led him to retaliate against Gea Johnson when he learned she was reporting his illegal actions to USADA.”Representatives for Harrison didn’t return a message seeking comment.Johnson’s lawsuit describes a prior sexual relationship with Danney that she tried to end and says he sexually assaulted her in 2017 in apparent retaliation to what she told USADA. Danney denied this in court documents in a case that has turned contentious.Danney, a former Canadian bobsledder, met Johnson in 2001 as she trained for the 2002 Olympics, according to her lawsuit.Before that, Johnson had tested positive for anabolic steroids in 1994 as a track and field athlete and in 1997 for elevated levels of epitestosterone, a masking agent. She denied wrongdoing each time but was suspended two years retroactive to the 1997 violation. USADA declined comment.Arnold was sentenced to three months in prison in 2006 for his role in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) scandal. He was known for making undetectable performance-enhancing drugs.In June, Johnson’s attorney wrote in court filings that Arnold worked for Savind, a company that for several years supplied dietary supplements to Danney’s dietary supplements company, Optimum EFX.”Mr. Arnold is expected to testify as to the emotional and financial damages suffered by Gea because of facts alleged in this case,” Johnson’s attorney stated last month in a court filing. “On information and belief, he is expected to testify, without limitation, regarding Gea’s excited utterances” after a different alleged assault against her by Danney in 2017, which Danney also denies.In Danney’s defense, his attorneys have pursued communications between Johnson and Arnold during pretrial evidence-gathering. Danney’s attorneys stated in a July court filing that “Mr. Arnold corresponded with Plaintiff as to ways to obtain money from Mr. Danney.”Arnold didn’t return a message seeking comment. Johnson’s attorney, Joy Bertrand, declined further comment. Both lawsuits are headed for trial next year.Follow reporter Schrotenboer @Schrotenboer. E-mail: [email protected] ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext Slide

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