Jerry McGuire Super-Agent Perpetuates the Lyle Alzado Steroid Myth

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Renowned super sports agent Leigh Steinberg recently perpetuated the popular myth that anabolic steroids caused Lyle Alzado’s death from a rare form of brain cancer. Steinberg was the real-life inspiration for director Cameron Crowe’s 1996 movie “Jerry Maguire”.

In an editorial entitled “Steroids Not For Sports”, Steinberg claimed that the National Football League (NFL) banned steroids as a reaction to the supposed steroid-related deaths of Oakland Raider players Lyle Alzado and John Matuzak.

“The deaths of Raider defensive linemen Lyle Alzado and John Matuzak from cancer that many felt was steroid induced sent a ripple of fear through the NFL,” according to Steinberg. “This is why there was consensus among the league, teams, players and agents that a total ban was necessitated.”

While John Matuzak may have used anabolic steroids as Steinberg suggests, Matuzak did not die from cancer. The official cause of death was heart failure due to an overdose of Darvocet (dextropropoxyphene) with traces of cocaine found in his system. This hardly represents an example of the deadly dangers of steroids.

Alzado had blamed anabolic steroids for causing the primary brain lymphoma that would lead to his death. Alzado’s assertion was the only evidence supporting such a link between steroids and brain cancer. There has not been a single doctor or researcher who has substantiated this link.

Steinberg wrote that many of his clients had used used anabolic steroids. He was able to identify the clients that used steroids by their physical appearance and their behavior. His steroid-using clients suffered from male-pattern baldness, acne and had a “doughy” look to their physiques. He also described them as very emotional with episodes of “hyperaggressive roid rage” and depression. Steinberg claimed that one client committed suicide after discontinuing the use of steroids at the end of a cycle.

Steinberg has repeatedly spoken out against “life threatening steroids” and “unregulated supplements”.

Last month, Steinberg filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection and disclosed his struggle with alcoholism.

Leigh Steinberg and Jerry Maguire

Photo credit: Jerry Maguire (1996)


Steinberg, L. (January 21, 2012). Steinberg: Steriods not for sports. Retrieved from http://www.dailypilot.com/sports/tn-dpt-0122-spsteinberg-20120121,0,3327404.story