June 6, 2013
Tumultuous times for two Cleveland stars
Perez, Gordon have troubles with drugs away from the game
Two of Cleveland’s sports teams have been dealing with some off-the-field trouble this year, as Indians closer Chris Perez and Browns receiver Josh Gordon both have had drug-related troubles recently.
Perez was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession earlier this season. According to ESPN, Perez admitted to drug agents that the marijuana was for personal use.
This season wasn’t the first time Perez has been in the news for something not related to his on-field performance. Last season Perez was in the news for his battle with fans about attendance at the ballpark. This year he is in the news for something far more serious.
In his 17 games this season Perez is 6-for-8 in save opportunities. He has an ERA of 4.32 with 18 strikeouts. Perez had a setback and was placed on the DL because of a shoulder injury.
MLB has a drug policy that prohibits the use of marijuana and a long list of PEDs. According to MLB policy a player’s first positive test for substance abuse will be referred to the Treatment Board. The purpose of the Treatment Board’s evaluation is to determine whether the player should be placed on a treatment program. Any other positive test results will still be referred to the Treatment Board to assess if the player has complied with the treatment program and if a revised program is warranted.
The initial evaluation will include at least one meeting between the player and one or both of the medical representatives. After the first meeting, the medical representatives may determine that additional meetings and/or medical examinations – including a drug test – are necessary to complete the initial evaluation.
Because of MLB’s policy on being charged with or testing postitive for a recreational drug, Perez is subject to follow-up testing for his first offense. If Perez has a second offense he will be suspended for 25 games, for a third, 80 games and a fourth offense may result in permanent suspension from the league by the commissioner.
The Cleveland Browns are in a similar situation with one of their young, up-and-coming receivers. This is Josh Gordon’s second year in the NFL, all with the Browns. Josh Gordon gives fans something to look forward to as long as he gives the opposing defenders trouble and not the law. Gordon finished last season with 50 catches, five touchdowns and 805 yards receiving.
Gordon, a 6’3”, 225-pound receiver from Baylor University has been in trouble before. While at Baylor, Gordon and a former teammate were arrested after they fell asleep in a drive-thru line at a Taco Bell. Police found marijuana in Gordon’s former teammate’s car. His teammate was kicked off the team because it was his second offense, but Gordon got another chance. Gordon was charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana, but the charges were later dropped.
However, a few months later Gordon was suspended indefinitely by Baylor’s coach. Gordon said that his suspension was due to a failed marijuana test.
Gordon was recently suspended two games by the NFL for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He can still play in the Browns’ preseason games, but will serve the two game suspension at the start of the regular season. According to CBSSports.com, Gordon said that he was diagnosed with strep throat and took a prescribed antibiotic that contained codeine. Codeine is a pain narcotic used to treat mild to moderate pain.
Under the NFL policy players shall be tested only for cocaine, marijuana, morphine, codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone and PCP. The NFL policy states that after a player enters any stage of the intervention program, testing for substances of abuse shall be at the discretion of the Medical Director and the NFL Drug Panel in accordance with the terms of this intervention program. Both the NFL and MLB have similarities in their drug policies.
Players who have tested positive and are in an intervention stage will be required to provide a random specimen when determined by the league’s medical advisor.
The NFL’s policy is more stringent than the MLB’s, but suspensions for players are not listed in the policy for abuse of substances. Players are obligated to uphold the rules given by their teams and the league that they are in.
Wesley Freeman, 24, a Cleveland State Health and Science student, thinks that recreational drug use is the players’ business. If the law doesn’t see marijuana as a major crime neither should the players’ teams.
“I don’t think it matters to me if the players do recreational drugs in their personal time. I understand that there are rules that the leagues want the players to uphold, but I think they try to dictate too much of what the players do in their spare time,” Freeman said. “If they want to put that stuff in their bodies then that should be their business. I just feel that if they want to do it, they should be able to do it. As long as they don’t put their teams in jeopardy and there isn’t any disciplinary action taken on them by the law, their team shouldn’t discipline either.”