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Bucks’ Larry Sanders suspended five games after testing positive for marijuana

Apr 4, 2014, 2:27 PM EDT

Larry Sanders AP

Last summer the Bucks decided to make Larry Sanders a cornerstone of their rebuilding efforts and gave him a four-year, $44 million contract.

He has “rewarded” the Bucks with a disastrous season on and off the court. He has played just 23 games (not playing as well as last year when he was healthy), and he missed the bulk of that time due to needing hand surgery after shredding a ligament during a bar fight. He fought with teammates. He got cited by police for leaving his dogs out in the cold. He’s been out and will be the rest of the season with a broken eye socket (suffered in a game).

Now there is this: He has been suspended five games by the NBA for violating the league’s drug policy, the league announced Friday. Five games is the league’s marijuana penalty, and Sanders admitted that is what the suspension is for. Just a reminder, you have to test positive three times for marijuana in league testing to get a suspension, the first two times you just get sent to rehab/counseling.

Sanders released this 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.”

The Bucks released this 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.”

Because he is out injured for the season he will serve those games at the start of next season.

The Bucks are rebuilding and while it looked a year ago like Sanders could be a part of that, if he doesn’t mature quickly the Bucks will jettison him to the first team that will take on his contract. Which will take time to find.

  1. chicagosports2014 - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    I can’t just smoke some kush, I’m hurt anyway.”

    • fanofthegame79 - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:45 PM

      I guess Wisconsin doesn’t have a medical marijuana law? Speaking of which, does anyone know what would happen if a player got their medical marijuana card, would they still get in trouble with the league (if tested positive)? What if they played for the Nuggets where marijuana is as legal as alcohol?

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:57 PM

        If it’s anything like the NFL’s policies, it doesn’t matter. They set which drugs are and aren’t allowed. Typically they fall in line with the law, but they can ban things that aren’t banned by the law.

      • fanofthegame79 - Apr 4, 2014 at 3:00 PM

        Interesting. Thanks for the info, asimonetti.

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 4, 2014 at 4:29 PM

        And now that I think about it, they probably have the same policies as the NFL. Lamar Odom was suspended for pot when he played for the Clippers and we have medical marijuana laws in California (even though the federal government is messing with them).

      • fanofthegame79 - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:46 PM

        But did he have his card? And would that have made the difference – at least in terms of the Union fighting it?

      • bougin89 - Apr 4, 2014 at 4:42 PM

        The NBA has their own list of banned substances. It’s not connected with any state or federal laws.

      • therealhtj - Apr 4, 2014 at 9:39 PM

        Odom’s weed ban was before the medical marijuana laws existed in California.

      • fanofthegame79 - Apr 4, 2014 at 11:50 PM

        And the plot thickens.

  2. miamatt - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:44 PM

    If I had a 44 mil and 4 years of playing for the Bucks coming my way, I’d have a case of the f@#& its too.

  3. pack93z - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:48 PM

    The Bucks have to be about as snake bit as a franchise can be.. every player that starts to show promise falls short of displaying it for a myriad of reasons. I am waiting for the Greek freak to follow.. Henson as well..

    • lowercasejay - Apr 4, 2014 at 3:16 PM

      It started when they traded Kareem. Nothing really good since then.

      • goodknave - Apr 4, 2014 at 4:26 PM

        They were good throughout the 80s, but got cheated repeatedly by the league and officials, which always wanted either Philadelphia or Boston in the Finals. Then, in 2001, was the coup de grace, when they were jobbed in the most unconscionable way imaginable against Iverson and the Sixers. The league suspended Scott Williams for Game 7 of the conference finals for bumping AI in Game 6—when is a starter ever banned from Game 7? During the series, Philly shot 186 FTs to 120…were given 3 technicals to Milwaukee’s 12…and the Bucks were given 5 flagrant fouls to 0. It was as fixed as any series has ever been.

  4. bougin89 - Apr 4, 2014 at 3:43 PM


  5. jkirby317 - Apr 4, 2014 at 4:09 PM

    Isn’t it odd that the NBA tests for weed and not HGH?

    • therealhtj - Apr 4, 2014 at 9:41 PM

      Not really, seeing as how there’s no reliable test for HGH.

      • jkirby317 - Apr 5, 2014 at 7:23 PM

        why isn’t there a “reliable test for HGH”?

  6. rustyshackleford1 - Apr 4, 2014 at 4:25 PM

    i wish my job had the nba’s drug use policy

  7. savvybynature - Apr 4, 2014 at 4:55 PM

    Well the team had already gone to pot, I guess he figured he may as well too…
    All jokes aside, the next Larry Sanders accepts “full responsibility” for his actions will be the first. Gary Neal was right to call out this clown.

  8. granadafan - Apr 4, 2014 at 5:53 PM

    So, you get two chances and then only a 5 game suspension? Glad the NBA’s policy is so draconian as to cause the fear of god in players the next time they decide to smoke a bowl.

  9. kb2408 - Apr 4, 2014 at 6:20 PM

    Why is the league picking on a guy that “obviously” suffers from glaucoma??

  10. jjthesportsguy - Apr 4, 2014 at 6:27 PM

    One of the worst contacts the Bucks have ever handed out. Just trade him… Henson us more than able to step in.

  11. djshnooks - Apr 4, 2014 at 9:27 PM

    If you’re a professional athlete in one of those states, even if you have a “card,” it would not matter…it is banned by the professional sports leagues at the moment and there is no way around that if you are found to be testing positive for marijuana.

    But, with all the other things these guys are getting into…they really need to re-consider this, and get their priorities straight. Some players are doing much worse, I promise.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 5, 2014 at 9:44 AM


  12. theblackrook - Apr 5, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    As a bucks fan… i just knew that big contract was a bad idea. One year of work under his belt… man that’s some bull ish.

    • bougin89 - Apr 7, 2014 at 11:00 AM

      It was the standard rate for athletic promising bigs. See Ibaka, Mcgee as prime examples.

      We can hope he starts playing like he’s worth it once his extension starts(which is next year). Well at least we can hope for 77 games of “worth it” play…

  13. bigmeechy74 - Apr 5, 2014 at 10:42 AM

    He is the most worthless scumbag in the league. And i’m not referring to the weed. I’m talking about him starving and freezing puppies TWICE. What kind of sicko would do that?

  14. caliboss - Apr 5, 2014 at 11:32 AM

    the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING! 13

    “any doctor against marijuana is a doctor of death” – cali secret 420

    from 0 states to half the country, from low 20% approval to almost 70%, cali runs this planet by 2 decades, time to tie marijuana to the2014, 2016 elections, out with the old, in with the new

    20 years behind us southern states, sad and scary…nobody denies freedoms like the south, nobody…the top ten incarcerators on the planet are southern states…even if marijuana reforms did pass the republiCANTS in charge would deny you all your freedoms, centuries of practice…no matter though, we never planned on getting your backwards brethren from day one, half the country already but not one southern state, lol…not 1….the new generations are taking over in the south and they are nothing like their freedom denying parents, let’s ride…

    Deaths by Alcohol: Millions
    Deaths by Tobacco: Millions
    Deaths by Prescription Drugs: Quadrupled in last decade
    Deaths by Guns: Millions
    Deaths by the food we are fed: Millions

    Deaths by Marijuana: 0, ever…they are killing my American family while denying freedom

    love and freedom forever


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