Drugs in sports

Almost inexplicably, multi-million dollar sport stars are never content enough with their lives to obey laws outlawing illegal drugs. While only individual arrests are reported from time to time, the link between the sports world and drug world is far greater than what meets the eye. For some reason or another, now seems to be an apt time to examine that link between the two worlds. Charles Oakley, a former NBA player, infamously once said that more than half of the NBA’s players are marijuana users. “You got guys out there playing high every night,” Oakley claimed. “You got 60 percent of your league on marijuana. What can you do?” Despite an immediate thrashing by league commissioner David Stern and Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders, he and many others started speaking to the truth of his statement. Interestingly enough, it was the Timberwolves assistant coach who came most strongly to his defense instead of agreeing with his boss, Flip Saunders. Timberwolves assistant coach Greg Ballard said that during his playing days of the 1980s, it was rumored that about 75 percent of the league was pot smokers. After retiring, he found out that those numbers were definitely accurate for one of the teams he played on. More recently, Cleveland Cavaliers center Scot Pollard looked into the camera during a recent game and said, “Hey kids, do drugs.” As expected, he was immediately admonished by the Cavaliers front office. Former ISU star Jamaal Tinsley was caught with marijuana in his car. And of course there was star running back Ricky Williams who left the NFL for the sole purpose of smoking marijuana. The list goes on and on. Incidents like these show how closely linked the two worlds are. It is interesting to wonder why these athletes with such exorbitant contracts and such high profile lives would still mess around with a drug that could easily ruin their career. One theory blames the prominent “hip-hop culture” of the NBA. Another theory blames our culture’s attitude toward marijuana as a purely recreational drug. Or perhaps the athletes just enjoy the buzz that comes with the drug. Regardless the reason, drugs in sports of all levels, except maybe Little Dunkers, seem to be prevalent.