Four-time Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey denied Monday that he administered banned drugs to his dogs in this year's race and has withdrawn from the 2018 race in protest of the allegation. "I have never given any banned substance to my dogs," Seavey said in a video posted to his Facebook page. He didn't immediately return calls to the AP after the Iditarod Trail Committee identified him Monday as the musher who had four dogs test positive for a banned opioid pain reliever after finishing the race last March in Nome. Seavey said he fully expected the ITC to ban him from the race for speaking out. There's a so-called gag rule preventing mushers from making statements critical of the race or sponsors. "I have done absolutely nothing wrong," the 30-year-old Seavey said, adding he wouldn't be "thrown under the bus" by the race's governing board.
The ITC met in an emergency meeting and decided to release the musher's identity "because of the level of unhealthy speculation involved," after initially refusing on a lawyer's advice. Organizers relented after scores of professional mushers demanded that race officials identify the musher. A statement from the Iditarod Official Finishers Club was signed by 83 current and former competitors who called for the musher to be named within 72 hours; Seavey did not sign. An Iditarod rep said it's not clear if Seavey will be banned because of his comments; he won't face discipline involving the dogs' failed drug tests. After Seavey was named, club president Wade Marrs said he believes the musher has too much integrity and brains to administer drugs before an expected test. "I don't really know what to think at the moment," Marrs said. "It's a very touchy situation."
(Read more Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race