NEW ORLEANS — A week of buildup to Super Bowl XLVII ended on a bizarre note Friday as SWATS owner Mitch Ross addressed the controversial Sports Illustrated article reporting he sold deer antler spray to Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis to aid in his recovery from right triceps surgery.
Ross provided just as many questions as answers as he evaded countless questions about Lewis and their communication following the injury on Oct. 14 and argued over semantics with reporters gathered outside the media center in New Orleans. Earlier this week, Lewis dismissed and vehemently denied the report saying he acquired deer antler spray from Ross following his triceps injury.
“Ray was right about one thing,” Ross said. “This whole story — this whole slander — was the tactic of the devil.”
Ross said he was “catfished” by Sports Illustrated in how the story portrayed him, but he wouldn’t answer whether he communicated with Lewis on the night he was injured or in the days immediately following that. He later revealed he sent Lewis a text message earlier this week that read, “God bless.”
Confirming that he first met Lewis in 2008, Ross said he didn’t have any proof the linebacker took the deer antler spray that contains IGF-1, a banned substance in the NFL. He would not answer questions over whether he had sent Lewis the spray to aid in his recovery, telling reporters to reference the SI article he was also denouncing throughout the session with reporters.
He spent much of the hour-plus session dodging questions and trying to promote his products, but Ross said Ravens safety James Ihedigbo remains a client of his. He also indicated the Ravens continued to use his products this postseason, though the one specified isn’t banned by the NFL.
“The [performance] chips were used by Baltimore against Denver and the Patriots, and I have text messages in my phone to prove it from James Ihedigbo,” Ross said. “I sent 600 of them in a two-week period. And I have mailing slips from FedEx.”
Ross apologized to the many athletes he’s worked with while also dropping names throughout the interview session.
“Athletes will do anything to improve performance,” said Ross, who claims he’s received death threats from Ravens fans since the SI article was published earlier this week. “The guys that work with me are doing it the right way — not the Lance Armstrong way.”