MIAMI BEACH — All-American linebacker Brian Bosworth, banned from playing in the Orange Bowl because a drug test showed he took steroids, said Friday that he deserves a right "to give my body the ultimate challenge and be as healthy as I can be."
The Oklahoma star, holding a news conference in Miami to make his first comments since his banishment from the bowl was publicly announced Thursday, said the steroids were prescribed by a doctor to help his rehabilitation.
"After the 1985 season, both of my shoulders were hurting so much that I couldn't lift weights to build my body back up," Bosworth said. "I deserve my right to give my body the ultimate challenge and be as healthy as I can be.
"I didn't have the knowledge that steroids would stay in my system that long. That's my fault."
Bosworth, an outspoken player with a punk haircut who has publicly crusaded against drug use, and two other Oklahoma Sooner football players were barred from playing in the New Year's Day bowl game because traces of anabolic steroids were found in their systems after a drug test required by the National Collegiate Athletic Assn.
Bosworth said: "I'm not condoning the abuse of a drug. I'll continue to fight against abuse of drugs, recreational drugs that are destroying society. Steroids aren't destroying society.
"The ironic thing is the NCAA has their priorities all screwed up. They worry about what's in my system from a year ago, but if I tested positive for pot, they'd say that's all right." (The NCAA is not suspending athletes who test positive for marijuana because positive test results are possible with second-hand smoke.)
Bosworth, a fourth-year junior, could declare himself eligible for the National Football League draft this spring, but he refused to say if he would leave Oklahoma.
"I would miss the excitement of college football, but I'm starting to get fed up with the NCAA's dictatorship attitude," he said.