Larry Sanders received a five-game suspension on Friday for violating the NBA’s drug policy. The Milwaukee Bucks forward tested positive for marijuana for the third time, earning the ban. Sanders is currently injured and the Bucks only have six games left meaning he’ll likely serve the suspension next season, when the first year of his four-year, $44 million contract extension kicks in.
Given the comments Sanders made about marijuana to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Friday, more suspensions might be looming in the future. Sanders defended his use of the drug due to its medicinal qualities and doesn’t sound like he’s going to stop using it any time soon despite its banned status by the NBA.
“It’s something I feel strongly about, just to let you know something personal about me,” Sanders said in an interview with the Journal Sentinel and nba.com. “I will deal with the consequences from it. It’s a banned substance in my league. But I believe in marijuana and the medical side of it. I know what it is if I’m going to use it.
Sanders touted his knowledge of marijuana and its benefits, saying he studied the drug.
“In a lot of ways we’ve been deprived. You can’t really label it with so many other drugs that people can be addicted to and have so many negative effects on your body and your family and your relationships and impairment. This is not the same thing.”
As you’d guess, Sanders hopes that pot is eventually legalized.
“The stigma is that it’s illegal. I hate that. Once this becomes legal, this all will go away. But I understand for my work it’s a banned substance. I will deal with the consequences and I apologize again to my fans for that.”
Marijuana is legal for recreational use in Colorado and Washington. Twenty states allow it for medicinal purposes. This is something all professional sports leagues are going to have to address in the coming years as more and more players turn to pot, legally, for pain relief.
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