Josh Howard, You Can’t Be Serious

This is a quote from a conversation that Josh Howard willingly had with Michael Irvin and Kevin Kiley today on the Michael Irvin Show on 103.3 FM ESPN Radio in Dallas (click here to listen to full broadcast of the show):

Kiley: When the season’s over, this is kind of a personal question but I think it needs to be asked, when the season’s over, do you look forward to your first joint?

Josh: (chuckles) Nah.

Kiley: Yes you do. (Howard laughs). Yes you dooo.

And just moments later:

Kiley: Does it not bother you that this is against the law?

Howard: What?

Kiley: What? The purchase and use of marijuana in the United States of America?

Josh Howard, are you kidding me?

Earlier in the broadcast, Howard admits to using marijuana in the offseason, as an earlier report claimed he said, but that he does not use pot during the season.

Why, you may wonder, (as I myself did) is Howard even talking about this, with his team in the midst of the playoffs, down 2-0, and on a game day no less? Howard claims that he was responding to a “random question” he was asked about NBA players and their propensity to use marijuana.

I was raised on being truthful and honest with myself and my family, so I can say it with no problems and go out there and perform to the best of my abilities tonight and not even think about it.

I appreciate Josh’s honesty with the media, no question, but you have to wonder why he would choose now to allow this discussion to happen.

According to Mark Stein’s article on ESPN.com, Howard is not “likely” to be suspended by the league:

It was not immediately clear what sort of punishment Howard could face for his candor, either from the league office or his team. But one source close to the situation told ESPN.com that the league likely ‘can’t’ suspend Howard.

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said any punishment from the club will be meted out “internally.”

“We won’t make it public,” Cuban said. “But we’ll deal [with] it.”

“We’ll do what we need to do.”

NBA players are required to undergo four random tests every season between Oct. 1 and June 30. But a player who tests positive for marijuana is not subjected to his first five-game suspension — or even public knowledge he has failed a drug test — until his third failed test.

There likewise appears to be no penalty precedent for a player who merely shares details about his substance abuse in the media.

Two sources close to the situation told ESPN.com Howard will almost certainly be entered immediately into the NBA’s marijuana program — which would require him to submit to much more frequent testing — but it would appear that he is not at risk for a suspension unless he has failed two previous tests.

The league issued no response to Howard’s comments Friday, citing a policy in its anti-drug agreement with the union that forbids the NBA and the Players Association from publicly discussing specifics about substance-abuse issues.

But there are plenty of questions that remain.

For one, what will the player-friendly Mark Cuban do in light of these comments? Will he potentially risk damaging his relationship with the team’s best young talent?

Also, will Howard’s sponsors be scared off by the potential negative media backlash due to Howard’s comments? Howard, a member of the Team Jordan brand, has recently been part of a large commercial campaign the brand has been airing for the last few weeks.

Furthermore, will the Hornets fans jump on this in Game 5 when the series returns to New Orleans? It was not a shot made at them, so their response likely won’t be anything close to how the Boston fans reacted to Mike Bibby’s comments, but it wouldn’t surprise me if more than a few fans were in Howard’s ear during the game about this subject.

Lastly, I have to point out the obvious and slightly sad irony of Howard choosing to talk about drugs on Michael Irvin’s radio show. Irvin, of course, has a history of drug use.

You would hope that players would learn from the mistakes of their athletic predecessors.

Apparently, you would be in vain doing so.

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