Roman Reigns has been named as a former steroid customer by an owner of a fitness and nutrition company who is now imprisoned as he faces charges for anabolic steroid distribution and money laundering. The story has picked up steam this week in major news outlets including CBS Sports, New York Daily News, Bleacher Report, Forbes, and TMZ. Richard Rodriguez, the accused steroid distributor, named Reigns along with actors Josh Duhamel and Mark Wahlberg as clients who used aliases who helped him make over $10 million in the distribution of illegal steroids.
Reigns has issued a statement to various media outlets this week stating he never met Rodriguez. It states: “I have never heard of Richard Rodriguez or Wellness Fitness Nutrition. I learned from the mistake I made nearly two years ago and paid the penalty for it. Since then, I’ve passed 11 tests as part of WWE’s independent drug testing program.”
Wahlberg has also denied Rodriguez’s allegations.
TMZ reports that the DEA won’t be going after Reigns because they only target drug distributors, not the clients.
The Wellness Fitness Nutrition LLC, based out of Miami, was raided by the DEA last February.
Keller’s Analysis: Even with a denial, this story just draws attention to Reigns’s previous suspension by WWE. As WWE in the midst of securing their next lucrative TV deal, and with reports of Fox in the mix with NBC Universal, plans to have Reigns headline WrestleMania and win the WWE Universal Title in the main event could be affected by a story like this gaining traction. Fair or unfair, this could reflect poorly on Reigns’s image and at the very least cause WWE to evaluate how far they want to go with sending a symbolic signal that Reigns is their centerpiece star. This is the type of story that can lead to Reigns critics in the crowd antagonizing him and distracting other fans from the experience they were expecting.
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