To all my fans out there, all around the world.
As we close out 2010, I wanted to take a little time out to talk to you from my heart. There is so much out there that is misunderstood and misquoted. So here’s the truth. Two weeks ago, I was invited to Sweden, along with other major bodybuilders to a fitness expo in Gothenburg, Sweden, I had just completed a successful four-day tour in Denmark, so 1 got there early, to meet the fans and Sundsvall was one of my stops.Toney Freeman
You can imagine how shocked I was. Right in the middle of an in-store signing, about 10 police officers walked in and asked for me to come with them to the station. There was no warning, and I could not think why the police would want me. I thought it was a practical joke. But right there in front of my confused fans, I was escorted to a police van. Some paparazzi were there, as well as a TV crew.
When I got to the police station, I was told I was suspected of abusing drugs. I could not understand why. I had hardly been in Sweden a few hours and had no history as a drug user. I could not maintain my status as a competitive athlete and professional if I was addicted to narcotics.
The police said that because I was extraordinarily muscular, it was likely I had used steroids. They did not allow me to call a lawyer, the US embassy or call my family. Instead they interrogated me and forced me to provide a urine sample and told me the urine tests would be back in 3 weeks.
They asked me to tell them if I had used certain anabolic steroids. I advised them that I take my health seriously and that if they had any official queries, I could authorize my doctor to provide them with a medical report. They did not ask for this, A few hours later, the police let me go without charge. I was not remanded into custody or asked to report to the police station.
I was shocked to find the story on the news. Henrik Blusi, the local police inspector was giving a biased account. Although most civil matters are private unless a crime is proven, Mr. Blusi could not wait to go on camera. Ile was using the media to push his agenda. He apparently told the media that it is immoral for bodybuilders to be used in advertising in Sweden. He also said “Bodybuilders are not welcome in Sundsvall”. As a result, many US professional bodybuilders scheduled to appear in Gothenburg cancelled. This could also affect Sweden’s relations with the fitness community as no one wants to be treated like I was.
Disgusted by the police harassment and shocked at the way the matter was handled, I returned to Stockholm and decided to cancel my tour and return to the United States.
Friends, I respect the Swedish people, and their government. I can understand the need to educate people and deal with the harm that all drug abuse is doing to our communities. However, my experience shows that the focus for some Swedish law enforcement right now is to humiliate, not to rehabilitate. Does Sweden condone victimization of any group of people? Is it ethical for an officer of the law to go on public record making allegations before any evidence has been found? I believe it is waste of the Swedish taxpayer’s money to finance this witch hunt.
Right now, in Sweden, anyone who looks muscular, who wears dreadlocks, tattoos and piercings can be forced to go to the police station, provide a urine or blood sample and be interrogated without an attorney. You might even have the police using you as an example and humiliate you on TV. Attached separately are links to cases showing how the Swedish police’s “war on bodybuilders” has played out. You decide for yourselves.
Folks. I am angry and disappointed, but I am not broken. 2011 will see many great things from me to you, so I invite you to keep an open mind and stay in touch with me. I will see you on the road and thank all of you who sent me those encouraging Tweets and Facebook messages. I also want to thank all my sponsors, supporters, friends and my wife and family for a great year and for your hard work for me, 1 wish you all happy holidays and a X-tra special 2011. Live your dreams and stay healthy and focused.