Update On Randy Orton's Suspension: Is It His Third Strike?

As noted earlier, WWE announced that Randy Orton has been suspended for 60 days effective tomorrow for his second violation of the company's Talent Wellness Program.

Orton had been suspended twice by the company in 2006; in April and in August. Orton's suspension in April 2006 was for 60 days for "unprofessional conduct." Orton apparently openly rolled a marijuana joint backstage at a SmackDown taping in late March of that year, a week prior to WrestleMania. Bruce Prichard found out about the incident and reported it to management. Orton was apparently already in hot water at that point over past infractions prior to the Wellness Policy being put in place, and that action was said to have been the straw that broke the camel's back. While suspended, Orton spent four weeks at an anger management clinic in Atlanta, GA. This apparently did not count as a Wellness Policy violation because the company didn't test for marijuana at the time, and the suspension was viewed more as a conduct violation.

Orton was suspended again in mid-August 2006 for a Wellness Policy violation, which would be considered his first violation. During that period, Orton was involved in a feud with Hulk Hogan which was building towards a match at Summerslam, and he was able to stay on the road and appear on television during that period. Orton was removed from house shows for over a 30 day period from mid-August to mid-September, during which time Orton moved into a new home with his fiancée.

In August of 2007, WWE suspended eleven performers based on information that the company received from investigators in the Albany, NY district attorney's office about contracted talent who were using Signature Pharmacy or another Internet prescription service to obtain performance enhancing drugs over the Internet prior to WWE's implementation of the Wellness Policy. The New York Daily News listed Orton as one of the names who was a customer of Signature Pharmacy.

Sports Illustrated reported that Orton received Somatropin, Nandrolone and Stanozolol through Signature Pharmacy from September 2004 until the firm was busted in February 2007. Stanozolol and Nandrolone are anabolic steroids, while Somatropin is a Growth Hormone drug. Orton, despite being on the Pharmacy list, was not suspended. It was explained at the time that he had already been punished for the matter in the past, so it technically did not count as a Wellness Policy violation for him.

So while Orton has been in hot water several times in the past, his latest suspension is only his second for his violation of the Wellness Policy.


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