Though much of the country is turning a new leaf when it comes to tolerance of cannabis, some organizations are sticking to its old fashioned antiquated guns. One such group is the National Basketball Association, which still tests its players and penalizes them if a little weed turns up in such a test.
The most recent victim of said old fogey policy is the Charlotte Hornets’ venerated center Al Jefferson, who is being suspended without pay for five games following a positive test for marijuana in his system.
“I just feel so low right now for every little boy and every little girl who looks at me as somebody they look up to,” said Jefferson, following the announcement of his suspension. “For me to make mistakes like this, it’s not cool. It’s not cool for them and it’s not cool for me. That kills me more than anything.”
Though ten out of ten NBA players surveyed in an anecdotal survey earlier this year said they were in favor of lifting the league’s ban on cannabis, the association has not had any official debate over the topic, though an NBA representative told TMZ that the issue might be brought up during the players’ next collective bargaining sessions in 2017.
The Hornets had this to say in a statement: “We are disappointed in Al’s decisions that led to this suspension. As an organization, we do not condone this behavior.”
Jefferson, a 2014 All-NBA Third Team honoree, has already missed the Hornets’ last three games due to a calf injury and the suspension will keep him out of commission until nearly the end of the month. This season he has averaged 13.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, a drop from last year’s averages of 13.7 points and 9 rebounds per game.
“I want to apologize to the Hornets organization, our owner, my teammates and my coaches for the poor decision that I made,” the center said in a statement. “I know I have let people down, especially the Hornets fans that have been so supportive of me since I arrived in Charlotte two years ago. I am blessed to be able to play the game that I love for a living and I do not take that for granted. From the bottom of my heart, I am truly sorry, and I am committed to making smarter decisions in the future.”