Towel-company president backs Chargers

Patrick Dugan calls his product “one of the best-kept secrets in the NFL over the past decade.”

Still, the president of a sports-towel company that has been thrust into the middle of NFL investigation doesn’t think the San Diego Chargers have done anything illegal.

"Absolutely not,” said Dugan, whose Gorilla Gold, based in Lewiston, Idaho, produces towels that emit a wax-based substance with tacky materials similar to a glove. It repels sweat and rain and is designed to improve grip.

“The Chargers have not done anything wrong and they are far from the only NFL team to use our product," Dugan said. "I’d say over the course of the past 10 years, teams and players from every NFL team have used our product, we have directly overnighted our product to NFL teams and players. I know of several elite, super-elite, quarterbacks that use our product.”

Dugan said his product is neither sanctioned nor banned by the NFL. He said he has not heard from the NFL during its investigation into the Chargers.

Fox Sports reported Sunday that the NFL caught the Chargers using a Stickum-like substance, distributed by an equipment manager, in a Week 6 loss to Denver. On Monday, coach Norv Turner denied that the Chargers used Stickum and said his team used the same towel several other teams did.

“The questions that have been asked by the league involve a towel that has been used by this organization for over 10 years,” Turner said. "It’s been used by a lot of teams in this league. The towel is used to dry the balls, the gloves the players use and their arms. The league is looking into the towel and that’s about where we’re at. ... I understand a lot of golfers use the towel to dry their grips in inclement weather, but it is pretty widely used throughout the NFL ... If they decide that teams shouldn’t use it, there are going to be a lot of teams having to change what they use.”

Dugan said his product is sanctioned by NCAA softball authorities and the PGA. Indeed, he added, the majority of the company's business comes from the golf industry.

“But all the time, we will watch TV and see an NFL player use our product,” Dugan said. “It is not uncommon at all.”

It seems the NFL must decide whether this towel is illegal or not. If so, the Chargers could be fined and/or lose a draft pick for trying to get an illegal competitive edge. If that is the case, I am sure the Chargers will contend that the NFL should investigate other teams, too.