Sports Outside the Beltway

Texas Rangers’ Manager Ron Washington used cocaine last season

Besides former Seattle Mariner Manager Maury Wills, has there been any other MLB Manager who admitted to using drugs while leading a team? From the Dallas Morning News-

Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington admitted on Wednesday that he used an illegal drug in the first-half of last season and tested positive for a random drug test.

Washington did not reveal the type of drug, saying the circumstances aren’t important. Sources, though, said he took cocaine.

He completed a major-league mandated treatment program — which included counseling and giving submitting to urine tests three times a week — only two weeks ago.

The Rangers are satisfied that this was a one-time incident because of the honesty he displayed after the drug use, and that Washington did not have a drug habit.

“I fully understand that I disappointed a lot of people — my family, my players, coaches — as well as the team’s leadership, especially Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels, as well as young people who may have looked up to me,” Washington said.

“I am truly sorry for my careless, dangerous and, frankly, stupid, behavior last year.”

Should Washington be fired? He didn’t set a good example for his players but I’m willing to give him a second chance. As long as this issue doesn’t detract from his work managing the Rangers.


NFL Nose Tackle Jason Ferguson suspended for eight games

This won’t be of help as the Free agent looks to sign with another team. From ESPN-

Free agent Jason Ferguson, a veteran nose tackle most recently with the Miami Dolphins, has been suspended for the first eight games of next season for violating NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed on Sunday that the discipline was handed down late this week but could offer no further details. Ferguson was also suspended for violating NFL drug policy in 1999, sitting out four games after an anabolic steroid showed up during a urine test.

The player’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, did not return a call Sunday seeking comment.

Ferguson was sidelined with a season-ending quadriceps injury in November and underwent surgery a month later. The 35-year-old had been in on 23 tackles in nine games for the Dolphins last season.

So far as I know, Ferguson wasn’t in the Dolphins plans for 2010. I’m fairly certain that is guaranteed now in light of his suspension. Defensive Tackle or Nose Guard is another position Miami is in need of help at.


Richard Gasquet avoids tennis ban for cocaine kiss

What drugs was the CAS taking when they made their ruling? From AP-

French tennis player Richard Gasquet was cleared of any wrongdoing Thursday when the Court of Arbitration for Sport accepted his claim that he tested positive for cocaine by kissing a woman in a nightclub.

The CAS dismissed appeals by the World Anti-Doping Agency and International Tennis Federation, which wanted Gasquet banned for up to two years.

“I’m absolutely relieved. This is the end of a crazy story,” Gasquet said. “I’m happy to be 100 percent cleared.”

The court in Lausanne accepted Gasquet’s claim that he inadvertently consumed cocaine by kissing the woman in a Miami club hours after withdrawing injured from a tournament in March.

“It was impossible for the player, even when exercising the utmost caution, to know that in kissing a woman who he had met in a totally unsuspicious environment, he could be contaminated with cocaine,” the court said in a statement.

A CAS panel of three lawyers said the quantity of the drug in Gasquet’s urine test was “minute” and the 23-year-old Frenchman was “clearly not a regular cocaine user.”

One kiss on a cocaine user is supposed to then make the substance show up in a non-user’s bloodstream. This sounds implausible to say the least.


Austrian dopers could face fraud charges

Under current Austrian law it is not a crime to use banned substances. From AP-

Athletes in Austria caught doping could be charged with serious fraud and face prison terms of up to 10 years.

The penalties come in an amendment to the national fraud act, which is expected to take effect Jan. 1.

Under current Austrian law, possessing and selling banned substances are a criminal offense but not the actual use of the drugs.

The amendment has yet to be approved by parliament. I do believe that athletes that use PEDs are committing a type of fraud, but a 10-year jail sentence is draconian. Honestly I think the public disgrace the cheaters receive and a fine would be enough.


Belgian panel suspends Yanina Wickmayer for 1 year

Wickmayer is in the middle of a breakthrough year for her which includes two tournament victories. From AP-

A Belgian anti-doping tribunal has suspended U.S. Open semifinalist Yanina Wickmayer for one year for allegedly failing to report her whereabouts to anti-doping officials three times.Wickmayer

The Flemish regional tribunal said in a statement issued Thursday that the minimum one-year sanction is “reasonable.” Tribunal spokesman Koen Uman says the suspension takes immediate effect, but can be appealed by Wickmayer.

The 18th-ranked Belgian has denied any wrongdoing and said on her Web site she planned to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The suspension came as a surprise to the prosecutor who only wanted a suspension issued. Someone may say the panel should learn the phrase ‘guilty till proven innocent’ but Wickmayer violated the rules three times not once.

Bottom line- I think she should be suspended but not for a whole year.


Polo horses in United States to have random drug tests

I’m astonished that there was no testing program in place already. Race horses are tested extensively. From AP-

The U.S. Polo Association has quietly moved to start randomly drug testing horses, months after 21 prized ponies dropped dead in South Florida.

The horses, belonging to a Venezuelan team, died in April as they stepped off trailers before a championship match. The state veterinarian has blamed it on an overdose of a common mineral that helps muscles recover from fatigue. Before the match, they were given a concoction of vitamin supplements mixed by a local pharmacy.

A pilot testing program is expected to be in place by January 2010. That is when the next polo season begins.


PGA Tour suspends Doug Barron for positive drug test

He won’t be allowed to play in a PGA or Nationwide event for one year. From ESPN-

Doug Barron became the first PGA Tour player to be suspended for violating its performance-enhancing drug policy.

Barron, 40, a veteran who played just four times this year on the developmental Nationwide Tour and once on the PGA Tour and failed to make a cut, will begin his suspension immediately — although his status was in limbo because he was playing the Nationwide Tour this year on a medical exemption.

“I would like to apologize for any negative perception of the tour or its players resulting from my suspension,” Barron said in a statement released by the PGA Tour. “I want my fellow tour members and the fans to know that I did not intend to gain an unfair competitive advantage or enhance my performance while on tour.”

It is unclear what substance Barron took or what he did to produce a positive drug test. The tour said it would have no further comment on the matter.

Barron has never finished better than 3rd at the 2005 EDS Byron Nelson Championship. More recently he has struggled on the Nationwide tour. In 2008 he only made 5 cuts in 17 tries. The drug use certainly didn’t help Barron’s play.

Jason Sobel at ESPN writes-

That said, let’s hold off on the witch hunt for the time being. In a twisted way, it’s actually a good thing that Barron got caught, as it proves the PGA Tour’s ongoing efforts toward wiping out any potential PED use weren’t fruitless nor a waste of time and money. It also discredits the theory that Tim Finchem and the folks at the Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., headquarters would cover up any positive tests to keep suspicions to a minimum.

I’m not naive enough to believe no PGA pro would ever use PEDs. I will be surprised if one of the sport’s better known players get caught. A former winner who has fallen on hard times but not to the extent of Barron has is the type of player who may get caught.


Greece Olympic committee acknowledges poor judgment in case of torchbearer

The commission made no apology however for their actions. From AP-

The Greek Olympic Committee has acknowledged it was wrong to allow a hurdler serving a doping ban to take part in the Vancouver flame relay.

Olympic Torch Relay Commission president Spyros Zannias says Fani Halkia was included in the relay after a proposal by the Greek Olympic medalists’ association.

Zannias said his commission “was wrong to accept the proposal,” but offered no apology.

The International Olympic Committee has criticized the inclusion of Halkia, who was expelled from the 2008 Beijing Games after testing positive for steroid use. Halkia, who was banned for two years and faces a trial for steroid use, has denied knowingly taking drugs.

She was banned from the games, and in my opinion it was wrong for Halkia to be a torchbearer. Greece must certainly have other talented athletes who aren’t tainted by drug use.


Royal Pains- Sheik Mohammed gets 6-month ban for horse doping

He was also fined $4,200. From AP-

The International Equestrian Federation banned its president’s husband — Dubai’s Sheik Mohammed — from riding in endurance races for six months after his horse twice failed doping tests.

Sheik Mohammed accepted the suspension based on his horse Tahhan’s positive tests for a hypertension drug and the steroid stanozolol, equestrian’s governing body said Monday.

“Consistent with the FEI’s strict liability approach to anti-doping rule violations, the panel has found Sheik Mohammed responsible for the doping of his horse,” a tribunal panel said in a ruling published on the FEI’s Web site.

His ban runs through Oct. 3, and he was assessed $4,200 in fines and legal costs.

The sheik’s horse trainer, Abdullah bin Huzaim, admitted giving the horse drugs without the sheik’s knowledge before the 74.5-mile desert races at Bahrain and Dubai.

Bin Huzaim was banned for a year and fined.

Horse racing is a sport where anyone big or small can lose money by wagering. When damage is done to the sport’s integrity, the punishment has to be harsh.


Belgian sporting event cancelled after competitors flee

Someone might say “I went to a bodybuilding championship and a track and field competition broke out.” From AP-

The Belgian bodybuilding championship has been canceled after doping officials showed up and all the competitors fled.

A doping official says bodybuilders just grabbed their gear and ran off when he came into the room.

Next year the drug testers need to wear sneakers and be prepared to run when they arrive.

“I have never seen anything like it and hope never to see anything like it again,” doping official Hans Cooman said Monday.

Twenty bodybuilders were entered in the weekend competition.

You mean all twenty of them took off?

Cooman says the sport has a history of doping “and this incident didn’t do its reputation any good.”

You think so?

During testing of bodybuilding events last year, doping authorities of northern Belgium’s Flanders region found that three-quarters of the competitors tested positive.

All who fled are guilty till proven innocent. Ban them all.


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