Holy smokes: Anti-drug agreement on holiday?

July, 7, 2011
7/07/11
4:17
PM ET
Abbott By Henry Abbott
ESPN.com
Archive
From an Associated Press story about Michael Beasley's run-in with police over marijuana:
NBA spokesman Tim Frank said the league's anti-drug agreement, including testing and penalties, is not in effect during the lockout so it's unclear what will happen if and when owners and players reach agreement on a new labor deal. Under the previous collective bargaining agreement, Beasley would have faced a five-game suspension if found guilty of his third marijuana-related violation.

Just no way around the reality that this could end up mattering -- even though players were never tested in the summer, they were still employees, expected to behave a certain way. And I don't care what anybody says, David Stern is a little scary.

Now their teams have rejected them, though, making them unemployed. In the meantime, of course, without paying them, and keeping them under contract, their teams can't control them.

Which lets a guy get a bit indignant. It's not impossible to imagine that could lead to more than the usual recklessness.

Related, or perhaps not, I have also heard the theory that idle time is very hard on a lot of players. With the structure of the season they have all kinds of ways to keep out of trouble, to distance themselves from bad influences. But all that free time ...

Put it this way: If a long lockout happens, and it doesn't lead to more arrests and trouble, well that's a real sign that NBA players are by and large responsible adults who don't need the high level of supervision they get. (This is like when the traffic light isn't working, and traffic flows perfectly anyway. Why'd we have that light again?)

But if the lockout does lead to all kinds of off-court trouble, well that tells us something too.

Here, players, is your big chance to show that you don't need Big Brother David Stern looking over your shoulder all the time.

Henry Abbott | email

TrueHoop, NBA

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