The Charlotte Hornets are going to be without their center Al Jefferson for several more games, and not just because of his recent leg injury.
Jefferson, while out with a strained left calf, is to serve a five-game suspension without pay for violating the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug program.
The five-game penalty is for a third violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement’s marijuana policy.
According to the Charlotte Hornets, “We are disappointed in Al’s decisions that led to this suspension. As an organization, we do not condone this behavior. We have addressed this with Al. He is regretful and understands that we expect him to learn from this mistake.”
Regarding the situation, Al Jefferson released his own personal statement:
“I want to apologize to the Hornets organization, our owner, my teammates and my coaches for the poor decision that I made. I know I have let people down, especially the Hornets fans that have been so supportive of me since I arrived in Charlotte two years ago. I am blessed to be able to play the game that I love for a living and I do not take that for granted. From the bottom of my heart, I am truly sorry, and I am committed to making smarter decisions in the future.
Just an hour before the Hornets hosted Miami, Jefferson said: “I just feel so low right now for every little boy and every little girl who looks at me as somebody they look up to…that kills me more than anything.”
While it is a shame that Jefferson will not be playing for what looks like a month, we hope that he learns from this experience and realizes that drug abuse, no matter the drug, is a liability.
Photo by Keith Allison (Flickr: Al Jefferson) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons