Josh Hamilton faces no punishment
Commissioner Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball are going to struggle with any drug-related suspensions going forward. It was just announced of LA Angels outfielder, Josh Hamilton, is not facing any punishment for cocaine use. Hamilton self-reported the cocaine use, and this apparently factored into the lack of punishment thrown his way. It needs to be noted that Commissioner Manfred and Major League Baseball are not happy with the decision.
I understand that the MLB was walking on egg shells with this situation, based on Josh Hamilton’s checkered past, but for this ruling to be handed down as not being a violation of the player drug treatment program. This ruling is only going to cause problems for Manfred and the rest of the MLB going forward, especially with the language in the Joint Drug Agreement.
I believe that this was more of a decision to prevent Josh Hamilton from traveling down a very dark road, which he is familiar with, and preventing a major relapse. This decision would be understandable, but he used cocaine. Yes, Hamilton reported the drug use, but it is still an illegal drug that is banned by baseball. Going forward, any player that uses an illegal drug will most likely plan on self-reporting, as this might become a “get out of jail free” card. Like it or not, the a precedent was just set with this ruling by an arbitrator, and it is going to be referenced as such in the near future.
One guarantee that we can be sure of is that the next CBA (collective bargaining agreement) will face some major changes, in terms of language in the Joint Drug Agreement, and it should. This decision will most likely leave Josh Hamilton and the MLB with a black eye, and one that will not disappear quickly.
With all of the issues the NFL has had recently (Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson to name a few), this ruling adds to the negative image of professional sports. Josh Hamilton needs help, but a suspension of some sort should have been handed down.
Dustin Brown covers the MLB for MFST, you can follow him on Twitter @SprtsWritingMan.