Larry Sanders suspended 5 games for violating substance abuse policy

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Larry Sanders has been suspended by the NBA for five games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

The Milwaukee Bucks issued the following statement:

“Larry Sanders has a responsibility to every person in our organization and our fans. We are all disappointed by the news of his suspension.”

Larry Sanders also issued a statement:

“I apologize to the entire Bucks organization and our fans for being suspended five games for using marijuana in violation of the NBA Anti-Drug Program. I take full responsibility for my actions.”

For a player who signed a 4-year, $44 million extension last summer — an extension that hasn’t even begun yet — Sanders could not possibly be having a worse season, and for that fact he has no one to blame but Larry Sanders.

Because Sanders is injured, his five-game suspension won’t be served until the beginning of the 2014-15 season.

The league’s drug policy divvies up its banned substances into four categories: drugs of abuse, marijuana, performance enhancers, and masking agents.

The Program subjects each player to six random, unannounced drug tests during each season and off-season. It also includes testing based on reasonable cause at any time. Urine testing is conducted for approximately 160 substances by state-of-the-art laboratories certified by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The policy further states:

Players testing positive for drugs of abuse are banned from the league for a minimum of two years, and players testing positive for performance-enhancing substances are suspended for 20 games (1st violation), 45 games (2nd violation), and a minimum of two years (3rd violation).

Because he was suspended for five games, Sanders had to have tested positive three times for marijuana:

If a player tests positive for marijuana, or if he is convicted of, or pleads guilty to, the use or possession of marijuana, he will be required to submit to treatment, counseling, and aftercare testing in the Program. A second violation will result in a $25,000 fine, and any subsequent violations will result in a suspension that is 5 games longer than the player’s immediately-preceding marijuana suspension.

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  1. “NBA Anti-Drug Program” – glad to see it put to good use. Really showed the rest of the league.

  2. I find it odd that coaches who are charged with DUI get a lesser suspension. Even taking into account that he got caught three times it still does not come close to DUI. We could also get into the violence/guns/domestic abuse stuff but I would just go on forever.

    That said, Larry knows the rules and needs to smarten up.

  3. Tisk tisk tisk…

    I myself, like many others, have partaked and don’t give a rats pituty who smokes what when. But when it affects your work, you have a problem, and the organization has a problem. Problems have to be fixed. How’s Sanders going to be fixed?

  4. Half of Wisconsin residents support legalizing marijuana; two-thirds in Dane County voted in favor of legalization with a non-binding referendum on Monday. Marijuana use isn’t a major issue in Wisconsin and I can see our state being one of the next to legalize its recreational use — really, marijuana use isn’t a huge deal and the local backlash will likely come from the same camps that didn’t like Sanders in the first place… probably from people who have used marijuana themselves in the past or from people who don’t even follow or watch the Bucks.

  5. It’s the part about Larry apparently being a repeat offender that bothers me the most. If it’s true that he’s already received treatment and counseling but subsequently continued to offend, then that’s a big problem.
    I’ve been a big defender of Larry in the past, and I haven’t given up on him yet, but this is really serious — to the point of perhaps looking into voiding his contract. A simple apology won’t cut it. If Larry isn’t serious about ending his use of marijuana, then I’m serious about voiding his contract with the Bucks.
    I’m all for working with guys who have problems, but not if they’re taking advantage of the situation.

    P.S. It would be good to know if any failed tests happened before his big contract.

  6. Is there any real reason to think Larry won’t test positive again? I mean 3 failed tests? With an initial 25k fine involved, then after ANOTHER failed test a 5 game suspension which is the equivilent of at least 50k more? Does any casual, non addicted person willingly pay 75K simply to smoke pot? And screw up the team at the same time?

    When is someone going to wake up and smell the coffee? Larry is a troubled player/person. Fights at night clubs, fights with teamates, fights with officials and opposing players, technical fouls in droves, ejections, “thumbs up” to refs who bounce him, multiple failed drug tests even with big time penalties. Not to mention ridiculous animal cruelty.

    What’s next? Larry joing the Wisconsin chapter of the Black Panthers?

  7. I’m embarrassed by these posts. I thought this forum was more intelligent.

    Marijuana is a banned substance by NBA rules. He knows it. Every player knows it. And yet he chooses to thumb his nose and do it any way?

    I don’t care if you think or I think or we think or Colorado thinks it should be legalized. Fact is, it’s not and this is just another in a year-long string of Larry’s I Got Paid a Guaranteed Contract and I Don’t Give a &&& ‘Bout Nobody. Oh I’m sorry I take responsibility for my actions BULL ^^^^

  8. In case our memories are dulled by the most painful season in my 41 years on this planet…shall we quickly recap John Hammond’s track record with contract extensions and free agents?
    John Salmons 5 years $40m.
    Drew Gooden 5 years $32m.
    Ilyasova 5 yr $40million.
    Sanders 4-yr $44m.
    Pachulia 3yrs $16m.
    Delfino 3-yrs $10m.
    OJ Mayo 3yr-$24.

    If my math is correct, folks: thats $206 million. Not even going into Maggette, Stephen Jackson, dumping Tobias, trading for Monta, trying to re-sign Monta, failing to re-sign Monta, Gary Neal, Caron Butler, Ridnour, dumping Leuer and Livingston for Sam Dalembert….where do I stop.

    I’m not sure what else needs to be said about John Hammond that’s not already been said, but how on earth does Herb allow his chief investment officer to continue investing in completely worthless assets? $206 million for miscellaneous flotsam and jetsam? How is this possible?

    • One possibility is that, just maybe, Herb Kohl is interfering in the basketball decisions of John Hammond. I hope not, and I would like to hear Kohl deny it in a way that is convincing.

  9. It’s not up to our interpretation of the seriousness of marijuana. It’s a banned substance in the NBA and Sanders knows this, yet has been caught on three separate occasions and continues to do so.

    Larry has talked about being disappointed in himself and vowed to grow up both on and off the court… and then this turns up in the media.

    He may very well be one of the biggest disappointments we’ve had in a long time. Not because he isn’t a good player; he’s proven that he can be an anchor for a very good defensive team, but because he’s had so much support from the organization as well as the fans from last season, and has failed to act on that and show that he’s worth it.

    Hopefully he proves us all wrong next season.

  10. Has anyone else just about had it with Larry? Would any of you be upset if we somehow found a dumb team to give us their mid-tier 1st round pick for Sanders and one of our 2nd round picks? Or any trade for that matter?

  11. I Knew it.

    Now Larry wants to become an league wide advocate for legalizing marijuana. Larry should just consider giving up his NBA career and become a pro pot activist. He’s got nothing else to do. After all, he hasn’t done a thing to actually help his current team this season. Which(by the way) pays him quite well to do just that.

  12. Pingback: From fun to frustrating: Larry Sanders : Bucksketball – A Better Milwaukee Bucks Blog