NBA Players to be Tested for Marijuana! 

NBA Players to be Tested for Marijuana! 
Posted by FoM on July 07, 1999 at 15:22:15 PT
SportsLine wire reports
Source: CBS Sportsline
NASSAU, Bahamas -- Marijuana testing is coming to the NBA, and the players' union wants its rank and file to know the time to stop partying is now.
Player representatives for the 29 teams were told at the union's annual meeting to spread the word to their teammates about the league's new drug policy. Since marijuana can stay in a person's system for two to three months, players who use it in July run a risk of getting caught in October. "I would think that if guys are using, they got the message last year that they'll be tested," Tyrone Corbin of the Atlanta Hawks said Wednesday. "Some guys, just like society in general, don't get the message until they're caught. Hopefully, they'll get this message and it won't put their careers in jeopardy." Steroids were also added to the league's banned substances list during the last collective bargaining negotiations, and all players will be tested when training camps open in October. Rookies will be tested four times a season on a random basis. "When the testing comes, the proof will be in the pudding," said union director Billy Hunter, who scoffed at a report in 1997 saying about 70 percent of the league's players either use marijuana or are heavy drinkers. A player also can be tested during the regular season if an arbitrator decides, after a hearing, there is reasonable cause to believe a player has used, possessed or distributed any prohibited substance. Many players taking part in the union meeting said there are a number of marijuana users, although the total is nothing close to 70 percent of the player population. Several players, including Chris Webber, Mookie Blaylock, Vernon Maxwell and J.R. Rider, have been arrested on marijuana-related charges. Sacramento Kings guard Jason Williams was kicked off his college team at Florida for testing positive for marijuana twice. NBA players who test positive at training camp must undergo a mandatory counseling program. A second positive test brings a $15,000 fine, and any third or subsequent positive test results in a five-game suspension. "The NBA is like any industry, there's going to be people on drugs," Jim McIlvaine of the New Jersey Nets said. "As role models, people need to know that we don't condone its use. "Certainly there are guys out there using, and hopefully they'll get the message that they have to stop," McIlvaine said. Penalties for such illegal narcotics as cocaine, heroin and PCP are much more severe. A positive drug test -- or a conviction or guilty plea to a crime involving one of those drugs -- can lead to disqualification from the NBA. Anyone testing positive for steroids gets a five-game suspension for the first offense, a 10-game suspension for a second offense and a 25-game suspension for a third offense. Androstenedione, the testosterone-producing substance taken by baseball slugger Mark McGwire and others, is not on the NBA's list of banned substances. "I don't think it's a very big problem in the league," said Corbin, who was at Vancouver's airport in 1997 when Blaylock, his Hawks teammate, was found to be carrying marijuana by a drug-sniffing dog. Danny Schayes of the Orlando Magic said reports of widespread usage are overblown. However, he said drug use -- and not just marijuana -- was a serious problem when he entered the league in 1981. "Anything going on today is mild compared to 20 years ago," he said. Pubdate: July 7, 1999Copyright 1999,The Associated Press,All Rights Reserved AP NEWS The Associated Press News Service
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