Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Updated: March 18, 8:22 AM ET
Rangers reveal manager's positive test
By Richard Durrett
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington apologized Wednesday for using cocaine during the 2009 season and will voluntarily submit to additional testing by Major League Baseball in the future.
Washington told the club he used cocaine and offered to resign as soon as he was randomly selected for a drug test by MLB. Club president Nolan Ryan, general manager Jon Daniels and other officials decided not to accept the offer after they were convinced that Washington had used cocaine just once.
"I apologize for a huge mistake I made," Washington said in a prepared statement at a news conference Wednesday. "I'm not here to make excuses. I'm not here for sympathy. That would be asking too much. I'm truly sorry for my careless, dangerous and, frankly, stupid behavior last year."
Washington immediately entered into MLB's drug program, which included testing three times a week. He completed that program a few weeks ago, but said he will ask the league to continue to test him in the future.
"I was in total shock. Then I was mad," Ryan said of his initial reaction to Washington's positive test during a chat Wednesday with ESPNDallas.com. "Then I was very disappointed. I went through an array of emotions."
Ryan said the club discussed accepting Washington's resignation but after "a lot of soul-searching" decided to allow him to remain as manager. The team had picked up Washington's option for 2010 before he used cocaine and tested positive.
"We think of him as part of our family," Ryan said. "Just because somebody in your family makes a mistake doesn't mean you quit loving them. We'll move forward."
Added Ryan during his ESPNDallas.com chat: "He's going to be judged on the season and how a team plays for him and our evaluation of the job he does."
Washington, entering his fourth season as manager of the Rangers, informed his team in a meeting Wednesday morning. Most of the players were in attendance at the news conference. So was his wife, Gerry.
"I didn't have much to say, other than the fact that I was sorry for what happened," Washington said. "I hope they will allow me to continue to lead them. They embraced it. And if you look around the room, you'll see the support they have for me because they know the support I have for them."
Washington said he used cocaine only once during the season. When asked if that was the only time he used illegal drugs, Washington said, "The drug we're talking about, yes."
Daniels and Ryan said the club is satisfied Washington has been honest with them.
"We felt like he was sincere and forthright," Ryan said. "With the way he has responded, we truly believe this was a one-time incident that he just used bad judgment on."
The club did not suspend or fine Washington, saying that he completed the requirements under MLB's drug policy. Daniels said he was treated like any other employee of the Rangers in terms of disciplinary action.
Washington had tears in his eyes before he entered the news conference flanked by his wife, Ryan, Daniels, assistant GM Thad Levine and a large number of players.
Washington did not explain why he used cocaine last season.
"That's a question I have had to face in numerous sessions with counselors," Washington said. "I've learned a lot about myself personally, and I recognize that this episode was an attempt to dodge personal anxieties and personal issues I needed to confront."
Washington stressed he used the drug that "one and only time" and has had clean tests since that point.
Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.