New Orleans Pelicans guard Didi Louzada has been suspended 25 games without pay for violating the NBA and NBPA’s anti-drug policy, the league announced on Friday. Louzada was the No. 35 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, but has only played five games for the Pelicans. He has also spent time with the Birmingham Squadron of the G League this season, New Orleans’ affiliate. Louzada tested positive for drostanolone and testosterone, and he claimed that he ingested the banned substances unknowingly during an offseason trip to his native Brazil.
“When I was in Brazil during the offseason, I consulted a nutritionist who recommended I take some vitamins and supplements,” Louzada said in a statement to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. “Because she has a history of working with professional athletes, I would never have imagined that any of those substances would be banned or could be contaminated. Once I learned of the positive test, I immediately cooperated completely with the league and union to help all of us understand what exactly occurred.
“I would never knowingly take anything that violates NBA rules. I accept my responsibility in this situation. I deeply regret that this happened and I apologize to my team, my teammates, and Pelicans fans for this mistake.”
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In addition to the Pelicans, Louzada has played for the Sydney Kings of the NBL in Australia and Franca in Brazil. He also plays for Brazil’s national team, but will now be off of the court as he serves his suspension.