Rams LB Vobora receives $5.4 million
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
St. Louis Rams linebacker David Vobora was awarded $5.4 million in his lawsuit against a Florida supplements maker. More important, Vobora said his reputation has been restored.
“Today is a celebration,” Vobora said Monday. “Today, I’ve been proven innocent.”
U.S. District Judge Rodney Sippel entered the order against the Anti-Steroid Program LLC of Key Largo, Fla., on Friday. Attempts to reach the company for comment Monday were unsuccessful and no attorney of record could be located.
Attorneys for the 25-yearold Vobora said he used the company’s “Ultimate Sports Spray” in June 2009 without knowing it contained methyltestosterone, a banned substance that showed up in an NFL drug test and led to his suspension.
His lawsuit accused the company of intentionally misleading him and hurting his image in addition to lost income. The judge’s order includes $2 million for damaging Vobora’s reputation and another $3 million in lost “future income.”
Vobora also lost $90,588 in game checks, plus the court ruled he lost $170,000 in performance bonuses and $100,000 in marketing endorsements.
“The issue has always been clearing his name,” said R. Dan Fleck of Jackson, Wyo., one of Vobora’s attorneys. “He didn’t cheat. He didn’t try to cheat.
Vobora said the Rams were very supportive, but the emotional toll elsewhere was heavy, “from extreme threats to fan mail taking about hoping I never play another snap in the NFL. Hearing that I’m a disgrace, having to deal with that daily.
“To really get the ship righted, that’s vindication.”
Earlier this year, the NFL ordered new Oakland Raiders coach Hue Jackson to stop endorsing the company, which does business as Sports With Alternatives to Steroids (SWATS). The league in February also told some players they should not be associated with the company as it studied some of the products.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league supported Vobora’s effort but added league policy places “strict liability” on the player.