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SBD/27/Leagues Governing Bodies
BOSTON COLUMNIST STANDS BY CRITIQUE OF NBA DRUG POLICY
Published March 27, 1995
Two days after NBA Commissioner David Stern publicly criticized the BOSTON GLOBE and columnist Will McDonough for his piece on the NBA drug policy, McDonough responded by reporting that Stern "was just bowing to pressure" from Celtic officials. McDonough claims Stern was met before Wednesday's ceremony honoring Reggie Lewis by an angry Red Auerbach, who "whiplashed Stern verbally" for past issues issues concerning Lewis' death, and by Celtics Owner Paul Gaston, who criticized Stern for "not standing up" to media reports alleging Lewis' drug use. Later, Stern held a press conference to denounce the GLOBE story and defend the league's drug policy. McDonough spoke to Stern on Friday about the incident, and Stern said he wanted to show that the GLOBE was "inaccurate and made my drug policy look bad when I think it is the best." McDonough noted marijuana is not recognized as a drug by the NBA -- "maybe someone forgot to tell Stern when he authored this drug policy, which he claims to be the toughest he is aware of, that marijuana is illegal everywhere but in the NBA." Stern said he hoped "it can be included in the next NBA policy." McDonough's conclusion remains that the NBA's policy is that "it does not want to catch its players. ... The facts seem to be that Reggie Lewis used cocaine from his days at Northeastern until his last Celtic game, and the great NBA program did nothing to stop him, or ever slow him down." McDonough's column included a comparison of drug policies of the four major leagues (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/25). MEDIA INTROSPECTION: More thoughts on the coverage of the Lewis story. In L.A., basketball writer Mark Heisler writes that as the Celtics retired Lewis' number, "everyone railied at the media, the timing, the snitches. TV poofs like CNN's Fred Hickman, uncomfortable with an actual story, asked plaintively, 'Why now?' Heisler writes, "Why not now? Unbecoming as it is, there is only a problem if the story is inaccurate" (L.A. TIMES, 3/26). In Boston, sports media writer Jim Baker criticized NBA broadcast partners TNT and NBC for not showing "the kind of zeal they display" in showcasing Michael Jordan "when it comes to a meaty issue like probing an NBA drug policy" (BOSTON HERALD, 3/24). UNION ISSUES: NBPA Exec Dir Charles Grantham "takes issue" with Suns Owner Jerry Colangelo for reinstating Richard Dumas, only if Dumas agreed to submit to frequent testing by the club. Grantham said this is technically a "violation of the [league] agreement, and I would expect the league to fine any team not in compliance with the agreement substantially" (Ailene Voisin, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 3/26). The latest discussions on a new CBA "were not hopeful," according to the BOSTON GLOBE's Jackie MacMullan. Sources told MacMullan the NBPA asked for 73% of the defined gross revenue in its last proposal (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/26).