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Shockingly, the Indiana media isn't okay with Rush's drug use

Aug 28, 2010, 1:00 PM EDT

Someone on your favorite team smokes marijuana. That’s simply based on the probabilities and what we know of NBA life. Regardless of how you, in particular, feel about the sweet stuff, that’s simply the likeliest scenario. Maybe it’s a bench scrub, maybe it’s a superstar. But what we know of marijuana use in the NBA is that it is rampant in isolated situations if not habitual, and fairly common in the least. 

So when Brandon Rush was suspended five games this week for what is being discussed as being busted for marijuana in a drug test, it shouldn’t have surprised anyone or caused much outrage. It’s unfortunate, but some counseling could probably settle things down and throwing stones on this issue is dangerous inside such a glass house. 
But Indiana isn’t your normal place. Combining a prevalent conservative, near-Midwestern attitude with a history of being burned by players with bad behavior, Indiana is apparently ready to wipe its hands of Rush, along with domestic abusive rookie Lance Stephenson. Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star writes that the Pacers should immediately look to trade Rush. It is not the drug use that bothers Kravitz, it’s the use during the season, along with his inconsistency. It’s a fair point from Kravitz, especially given everything Pacers fans have had to deal with this decade.
Except that for all his inconsistency, Rush has traded in the right direction, getting better with every passing month. For a player still young at 25, Rush has a strong possibility of developing into a valuable player. His drug use is upsetting, and the reaction is understandable after the turmoil of the team built in the early 2000’s by Indiana. But giving up on a player for so common a violation is short-sighted and risks surrendering a talented young player for, ahem, James Posey and Dahntay Jones (Paul George is a huge question mark, especially given his Summer League performance) is also risky. There’s no question that Rush needs correction for this issue. 
But punishing him for the crimes of a team blown up five years ago is a bit extreme in this glass house. 
  1. cygnus x-1 - Aug 28, 2010 at 2:55 PM

    hey if it had been his first time people still would have been upset but would have cut him some slack. but 3 times shows he just doesn’t get it.playing on a young rebuilding team was the perfect oppertunity to show he had what took to be a star player but he chose to do drugs and be a inconsistant player instead. doesn’t matter if it was pot or not he chose that instead of trying to be a better player and to help his team get better. he may very well turn out to be a good player on another team but the pacers can’t take that chance.he had 3 of them and made his choice so time to move on.

  2. Travis - Aug 29, 2010 at 1:27 AM

    I’m a lifelong Pacers fan. I could care less about Rush getting high. I like him as a player, as frustratingly difficult as it is to watch him at times. He’s already capable of being a valuable role player, not his fault the team sucks so hard he’s got to play 30+ minutes a night, not unlike Troy Murphy.
    Bob Kravitz knows absolutely nothing about Pacers basketball (or sports in general) and never has. He takes his cues from fan forums. This has not been a good summer for Pacers PR (the Collison trade aside). Stephenson, now Rush, and worst of all, a 30ish million dollar taxpayer bailout for the stadium. I don’t fault anyone who’s “had enough” from the Pacers, however shortsighted I think they may be. It isn’t fair, but if a player does ANYTHING against the rules the people who can’t name more than three players on the roster and haven’t seen a game since the brawl will light their torches and grab their pitchforks. The only solution in this fair weather city to end all fair weather cities is to start winning, and now.

  3. Bryan - Aug 30, 2010 at 2:30 AM

    I’ve been a Pacers fan my entire life, and I have been paying very close attention to the team over the past several years. I have seen Rush improve over the past two season, and I do believe that he will develop into a pretty decent player sometime over the next couple of years. I read the article by Bob Kravitz, and I share the same views as him for the most part. I don’t care that Brandon Rush smokes pot, I don’t care if most of our team smokes pot. I think alcohol should be illegal before pot should be. Having said this, if you play in the NBA and are going to smoke pot, do it in the offseason. To get caught once could just be bad luck/timing as far as when you get drug tested. Get caught twice, you are really pushing your luck. Get caught a third time, and the only explanation is that you simply don’t care enough about your team and city. He knows he is going to get tested because the season is about to start, and he doesn’t care. That’s not the kind of person I want on a team that I’ve followed my whole life. If we were really short on wing players and Rush was substantially better, I say keep him and make sure he is working harder. That’s not the case though. We have an abundance of wings and a lack of legitimate PFs. The Pacers and all of the fans have just been waiting for something to make one of our wings stand out as the player to trade. In my mind, this is that something. I wish him good luck in the rest of his career. I just hope it isn’t in Indy.

  4. Bryan - Aug 30, 2010 at 2:31 AM

    I’ve been a Pacers fan my entire life, and I have been paying very close attention to the team over the past several years. I have seen Rush improve over the past two season, and I do believe that he will develop into a pretty decent player sometime over the next couple of years. I read the article by Bob Kravitz, and I share the same views as him for the most part. I don’t care that Brandon Rush smokes pot, I don’t care if most of our team smokes pot. I think alcohol should be illegal before pot should be. Having said this, if you play in the NBA and are going to smoke pot, do it in the offseason. To get caught once could just be bad luck/timing as far as when you get drug tested. Get caught twice, you are really pushing your luck. Get caught a third time, and the only explanation is that you simply don’t care enough about your team and city. He knows he is going to get tested because the season is about to start, and he doesn’t care. That’s not the kind of person I want on a team that I’ve followed my whole life. If we were really short on wing players and Rush was substantially better, I say keep him and make sure he is working harder. That’s not the case though. We have an abundance of wings and a lack of legitimate PFs. The Pacers and all of the fans have just been waiting for something to make one of our wings stand out as the player to trade. In my mind, this is that something. I wish him good luck in the rest of his career. I just hope it isn’t in Indy.

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