First Lady, Melania Trump, continues her “Be Best” campaign. I admired Michelle Obama for encouraging Americans to be active with her “Let’s Move” program. Sometimes we need to put politics aside and just find ways to work together for our common good (and health).
Melania wrote to her Twitter followers today: Earlier this month at @DEAHQ we recognized the dangers of illegal drugs & honored the agents who keep us safe. Today & during #RedRibbonWeek, we have an opportunity to come together in our fight against drug abuse. Take the pledge, choose to live #DrugFree #BeBest
Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton is facing a 25-game ban under the NBA’s anti-drug policy, the league announced today.
“I want to apologize to my family, the entire Suns organization, my teammates, partners, our fans and the Phoenix community. This was an unintentional mistake and unfortunately I put something in my body that I was completely unaware of. I do understand the unfortunate impact that this has on so many others, and for that I am deeply sorry. I’m extremely disappointed that I’ve let my team down. I will continue to work with the NBPA to go through arbitration and am hopeful of a positive resolution.”
The NBA banned Deandre for testing positive for a diuretic, which are typically used as masking agents to cover up use of illegal substances. He possibly had used cannabis; maybe a human growth hormone. Most likely he was simply smoking pakalolo (weed).
The NBA and USA Men’s Basketball are notorious for having lax rules and procedures regarding drug testing. If a guy can play, drug testers are encouraged to stay away.
Deandre most certainly lied. His action wasn’t accidental or unintentional. Powerful, famous people get away with deceiving the public. An ordinary person who failed a drug test would lose their job. Deandre is too important to the NBA and Phoenix. The 25-game suspension will likely be reduced. Deandre will likely receive a “slap on the wrist.”
The NBA anti-drug program is roughly consistent with that of other major North American sports leagues. From the agreement the NBA negotiated with the players’ association during the 2011 lockout:
All players are subject to four (4) random tests each season (from October 1 to June 30). All players are also subject to two (2) random tests each off-season (from July 1 to September 30). All such tests are scheduled and conducted by an independent, third-party entity and are without prior notice to the player. The NBA and the NBPA are not involved in the scheduling of any tests or the selection of players for testing.
The NBA’s first confirmed performance-enhancing drug cheaters received five-game suspensions. More recently, 10 games has been the norm. As of the 2011-2012 season, the punishments have been ramped up. For a first doping offense, it’s a 20-game suspension. A second failure calls for 45 games. A third positive test results in banishment from the league.
In contrast, a first failed test for “drugs of abuse” — cocaine, speed, heroin, LSD and the like — results in instant disqualification from the league. In some cases, most recently Chris Andersen, such players are later reinstated.
Cannabis has its own more lenient standards, where a first positive test results in treatment, a second positive result means treatment and a fine, and third positive test calls for a five-game suspension.
Drugs, Drugs and Drugs
Yet Americans do not live “drug free.” We take more pills, substances and drugs than any other people or nation on the planet. We consume the most legal drugs. We abuse the most illicit substances of all human beings on the planet.
Most Americans start their day with the drug caffeine. They are likely to end the day with the drug alcohol. About 20% smoke tobacco to get high on nicotine. In Hawai’i, we lead the nation in underage youngsters vaping nicotine at twice the average of the rest of the country.
Look in your medicine cabinet. Check your refrigerator and cupboards. How many “drugs” do you consume each day? Are we setting a proper example for our children and keiki? #BeBest
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Ko’olau of Kaua’i. I am the Defiant One
“I Believe We Can”