ESPN Announcer Incorrectly Reports Tennessee Player Used PEDs

An ESPN announcer apologized over the weekend after falsely broadcasting that a Tennessee baseball player was suspended from the NCAA tournament for using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).

Troy Eklund, a former Arkansas baseball player turned ESPN announcer, made the inaccurate statement during Friday’s broadcast of an Oklahoma State-Missouri State game.

espnTennessee, the nation’s no. 1 team, had won a 10-0 game earlier that day, doing so without star catcher/outfielder Evan Russell, who was scratched from the lineup.

A recent story from Yahoo! Sports detailed the events. Below is an excerpt from the Yahoo! Sports story.

“It was pretty crazy,” Eklund said. “He failed a drug test. So Evan Russell is suspended for the rest of the season. So Tennessee’s gonna have the whole rest of the team tested tomorrow — or the NCAA is. … Performance-enhancing drugs is what it was said.”

Neither of those things is substantiated. Russell wasn’t suspended for a failed drug test, and the rest of the Tennessee team wasn’t subject to NCAA drug testing because of the failed drug test that didn’t happen. It’s unclear where Eklund got the information.

Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello told reporters after the Vols’ win on Friday that Russell “was sick this morning.” A Tennessee spokesperson issued a statement to local reporters Saturday morning refuting Eklund’s claim.

“Evan Russell’s absence last night had nothing to do with any violation of team, NCAA, or SEC rules,” the statement reads.

Russell’s father Jason Russell wrote on Twitter early Saturday that Russell “had a health issue arise” and that “he hasn’t failed any type of test or anything.”

He clarified later Saturday morning that Russell had been experiencing “anxiety, stress, and pressure” and that he’d been cleared to play.