Fermented health drink kombucha tea has existed for many years, but has recently made headlines for being Minnesota Vikings Michael Floyd‘s defense of a failed court-ordered alcohol test.
To recap, the former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver was completing a house arrest sentence for a 2016 extreme DUI that prohibited his consumption of alcohol and required Floyd to self-administer multiple Breathalyzer tests throughout the day. Less than a week before the end of his home monitoring, Floyd tested positive for alcohol. Kombucha tea, Floyd claimed, was the reason for his alcohol consumption, as he was unaware of the alcohol content of the drink.
The Vikings claimed to have encouraged the player’s kombucha consumption, writing a letter to Floyd’s attorney to support the defense motion. In the Vikings’ plead, the team’s chief operating officer Kevin Warren explained that the organization endorses the tea, even providing it on tap at Vikings facilities. While Sports Illustrated explains how an alcoholic misunderstanding can occur in Floyd’s case, many are still wondering what kombucha is and why an athlete should drink it.
Shape magazine reports that kombucha is a fermented combination of bacteria, tea, and sugar that can aid anything from poor digestion to inflammation. Alcohol, as a natural product of fermentation, also appears in the drink. With roots in ancient China, the drink is not new to treating physical ailments. The recent rise of health-conscious grocery stores like Whole Foods, however, have made it more popular.
In 2010, eight-time NBA All-Star and two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash discovered his appetite for the drink.
I love this Kombucha stuff. Anyone else have an opinion? http://plixi.com/p/63156653
— Steve Nash (@SteveNash) December 15, 2010
Thanks for all of your guesses! Kombucha is an amazing ancient fermented drink with many health benefits. http://bit.ly/8XEYH
— Scott Jurek (@ScottJurek) January 19, 2011
Today, the drink appears on more athletes’ social media accounts, with players like New Orleans Saints linebacker Sam Barrington posting the drink on his Instagram story.
Four-time NBA All-Star and two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry‘s household also supports the consumption of the tea, with wife Ayesha showing her 2-year-old daughter Ryan’s enthusiasm for it also via Instagram story.
From court rulings to athletes’ endorsement, the verdict is still out on the benefits of kombucha. With the drink’s long history, though, it does not seem to be going away any time soon.