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Major League Baseball Needs To Rethink Marijuana Rules

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marijuana baseball mlb bongHypocrisy in America’s Favorite Pastime?

By Bob Humphreys

On May 5, the Orioles’ 2006 first round draft pick, Billy Rowell, tested positive for marijuana and received a 50-game suspension. Following the suspension, Billy called Major League Baseball “hypocritical” for their treatment of him. While that may not be the most appropriate word, the MLB policy on drugs and other illegal activity is certainly inconsistent.

In February 2011, Miguel Cabrera, the current Detroit Tigers’ third baseman, was arrested for DUI after being found in a disabled S.U.V. after he allegedly forced other vehicles off the road and threatened to blow up the bar he had been drinking at previously. While Cabrera rightly faced legal repercussions, the league was mysteriously quiet on the issue. Cabrera did not receive any disciplinary action from the league; he was not suspended, and he did not receive a fine. Cabrera also has a history of both alcohol abuse and violence. In 2009, he was arrested after a domestic disturbance where he had been under the influence of alcohol. I do not mean to single out Miguel Cabrera. Many MLB players have had problems with alcohol in the past. My intention here is to illustrate the bias regarding the penalties given to players by MLB — penalties which are not given out based on the severity of the player’s behavior, but simply on which substance the player puts in his body.

The league policy on alcohol abuse and violence off the field may be far less stringent than its marijuana use policy, but the difference in how these two cases were treated is astonishing.

Billy Rowell tested positive for marijuana, a harmless substance that he used presumably in the privacy of his own home. No one was hurt. For this, he received a 50-game suspension from the league.

Miguel Cabrera, while under the influence of alcohol, has assaulted his wife, wrecked his car, threatened to blow up a bar, and endangered the lives of other drivers by forcing them from the road. He received no suspension.

It certainly seems as though MLB needs to reconsider its priorities.

Source: Marijuana Policy Project

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3 Comments

  1. I’m a little late on this one but the MLB cannot test Major League players for marijuana since the players union has it in their contract that players on the 40-man roster cannot be tested for marijuana use. If you get busted for it outside The minor league players are surprise tested on that and performance enhancing drugs all the time. Now, is that hypocritical?

  2. ….don’t think I agree with this article, need to throw it around in my mind.
    This seems to be an apples vs oranes issue ……the MLB has a substance abuse piolicy combines with a PEH policy. The reason for this is to disallow a substance from enhancing his ability over that off other athletes.
    Billy Powell knew this, there was no question, he basically took a risk and failed.  He  was a first round draft pick therefore he has never been to the show. He came directly from college.
    Miquel was arrested for his crimes, paid  a HUGE fine on parole, believe you me he is still dealing with this even years later whereas Billy sat 50 games down.
    Miquel violated no MLB policy but he  was punished very adequetly by justice system.
    The author would have been on a better path to recommend MLB laws be changed rather than recommend a player be punished by the law and MLB. Thats pretty harsh

    ….just so people don’t think I’m stickng up for Miquel, I am a legal medical martijuana patient in maine afflicted with Spinocedrrebellum Degeneration….it simply seems to me the author saw an issue involving marijuana and turned it to better fit the cause……
    …..just sayin’

  3.   I wonder how many years is the Judge in DC going to take to make a ruling on the case that was tried on March 26th 2012.

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