SBD/27/Leagues Governing Bodies

N.Y. TIMES REPORTS ON DRUG AND ALCOHOL USE IN THE NBA

          Marijuana and alcohol use in the NBA was examined on the
     front page of Sunday's N.Y. TIMES sports section in an above-
     the-fold feature by Selena Roberts.  Roberts writes that
     "[c]ontrary to the wholesome image marketed" by the NBA, 60-
     70% of its 350-plus players "smoke marijuana and drink
     excessively, according to conversations with more than two
     dozen players, former players, agents and basketball
     executives."  Former NBA player Richard Dumas, who is banned
     from the NBA for drug and alcohol use: "If they tested for
     pot, there would be no league."  Roberts: "Two decades ago,
     the league nearly collapsed under a perception that its
     athletes were high on cocaine.  Now, many people are saying
     the NBA's 14-year-old drug policy is so antiquated and
     ineffective that it protects players despite behavior that is
     illegal and commonplace."  Under the CBA, the league allows
     mandatory drug testing of rookies only and "does not list
     marijuana as a prohibited substance" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/26). 
          PARTYMEN? Players interviewed said "marijuana, drinking
     and clubs are part of a post-game party scene in almost every
     NBA city.  Cocaine, once the bane of pro basketball, has
     fallen out of favor, but a fast-paced life style has been
     thriving in a league that is increasingly richer and younger. 
     More exotic drugs are available."  NBA Commissioner David
     Stern said he has "serious questions concerning drinking and
     marijuana," and added that if owners do reopen the CBA next
     year, "the league will propose tightening the drug policy." 
     Stern: "I'm not saying it's a problem.  But it's an issue
     that we'd like to address.  Beyond that, there is an
     opportunity for athletes to lead as examples."  NBPA Exec Dir
     Billy Hunter: "I've often heard it from players that they
     suspect people in management are using drugs. ... If there is
     a marijuana problem, it's one reflective of society. ... I
     don't intend to impose on our players more than what is
     imposed on people in society."  Raptors G Damon Stoudamire:
     "As far as use, it's bad in the league, but I think half of
     America might smoke marijuana" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/26). 

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