So I’m driving around running some errands early this afternoon, and I have the XM talk channel on. They’re heading to commercial, and they say, “There is a breaking story, more on the update”. I figure, “eh, someone got released, or Strausberg got officially assigned to the minors”. By this time I get to the drive through teller at the bank, and they said “Ron Washington tested positive for cocaine use in 2009”, which prompted me to say out loud “Holy shit – that is a big deal”. I’m sure the teller heard me say that, but he didn’t ask me what I meant.
When they came back from break, Kevin Kennedy and some dude I don’t know who it is started talking about it, and at that time, not much in the way of facts were known. Before I get to my own thoughts on the matter, I feel compelled to get this point across in the graphic shown here.
While some might say that’s a harsh response, I have to say it was my honest and true immediate response to hearing the news. I mean, Ron has never done this before, and why at age 57 (I believe) when he’s fairly set in terms of his baseball career he felt it necessary to do that is beyond me. If he was a lifetime habitual user, I’d understand why he was doing it – but to START now? That’s where the dumbass comes from. I mean, really. Maybe we could get Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler from Saturday Night Live to do a “Really, Ron? REALLY??”
Here is the complete text of Ron Washington’s statement about this.
OK, the initial reaction remarks over, the attention then turns forward to “now what”? Thanks to Evan Grant, I’m going to copy this text of his regarding the “facts”…
The facts: Washington acknowledged he used cocaine last season sometime during the first half of the year and after he was rewarded a contract extension for 2010. Washington would not reveal any details of exactly how, where and when he obtained the cocaine, saying he bore the sole responsibility for what he called a “stupid mistake.”
• Washington was made aware of an upcoming drug test, immediately informed the Rangers and MLB of his use of the drug and entered a treatment program. He did, in fact, fail the drug test.
• Washington, who turns 58 on April 29, said it was the only time in his life he had used cocaine. When asked if he was saying that he had never used illegal drugs anytime in his life, he said only “I’ve never used this drug before.”
• Rangers GM Jon Daniels and President Nolan Ryan said the club discussed all possible options on the handling of Washington’s transgression. The club, however, could not reveal the failure of the drug test. That would have violated the confidentiality of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
• Washington said he completed the terms of MLB’s drug treatment plan two weeks ago. He said he was tested three times a week as part of that treatment. He also said he would be willing to submit to more testing to help reinforce that he is “clean.”
• MLB officials declined to comment, citing confidentiality regarding the testing/treatment plan. They said they would have no comment on reaction to Washington’s announcement.
Given how much of a wide berth sports fans generally give players for far worse transgressions than this, the calls I’m seeing for “Fire him now!” just does not work in my mind. So many Cowboys fans STILL want to hoist Michael Irvin up on a freakin’ pillar despite all the shit he’s done, yet Washington deserves to be run out of town for a single offense, despite the fact that he was apparently rather pro-active, and informed both the Rangers and MLB about taking it before the results of a drug test was known. That’s not the kind of mentality from a person who was trying to hide something. Given that he’s passed every drug test since that one he failed, I’ll buy into the fact it was a one time thing that hasn’t been an issue since.
Everything I’ve read on ESPN, MLB, and the Rangers blog at DMN tells me that it’s a non issue to the team too. There were a lot of quotes of support from Nolan Ryan & Jon Daniels about this. One has to think that Chuck Greenberg knew for awhile, too. So I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, but if he ever fails for it a second time, he needs to go immediately. I do think that it makes his leash shorter. His contract was already going to be up after this season, so I suspect if the team goes into a tailspin, he might not have as long a slide time grace period as he did last year when everyone was calling for his head (unjustly, I think). Overall, I think he’s a good baseball man, someone who has to deal with a lot of things that none of us do, and someone who made an epic level screw-up in judgment. I’ll be curious to see what Josh Hamilton has to say about all this, given his own past.
From what I’ve read, the Comissioner’s Office could still hand down some sort of punishment, but my gut feeling is that there won’t be any. So lets give Ron our support, and I’ll accept his apology, provide that turns out to be the truth of what happened. If it turns out something else happened he hasn’t said, I’ll likely change my opinion, but for now, I think we should applaud him for being forthcoming with the problem he caused. I don’t think he should be let completely off the hook – perhaps some sort of fine might be in order?
But my religion tells me to forgive, so I will. But I still think it was a really stupid thing to do, hence my use of “dumbass”. Again, don’t forget all the other sports figures we’ve forgiven for far worse than this. I did also like that “almost all” of his players showed up the press conference in support of him. Still want to hear what Josh Hamilton has to say.
Let’s get to April, eh? :)
UPDATE: I was talking to a friend of mine about all this, and he said something which reminded me of a point I wanted to make, but forgot to when I wrote this earlier today. It’s the quote in Ron’s statement that says “Washington, who turns 58 on April 29, said it was the only time in his life he had used cocaine. When asked if he was saying that he had never used illegal drugs anytime in his life, he said only “I’ve never used THIS drug before.” “This” drug? What others has he used? If there are other drugs involved, the question becomes how long ago? If it was 20+ years ago, who cares? If it was a year and a half or so? Then we’d care.
UPDATE 2: Given I wrote about a dozen game updates to catch up with the last week and a half, I wanted this up near the top, so I bumped it up, even though I wrote it yesterday.