Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington tested positive for cocaine in 2009, gets counseling
www.nydailynews.com — Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington tested positive for cocaine last season and received nine months of extensive counseling for violating Major League Baseball’s substance abuse policy, according to a report published Wednesday on Sports Illustrated’s Web site.
While all non-player personnel with clubhouse access are randomly tested once a year, Washington, 57, was subjected to increased testing following last July’s positive and passed every subsequent test. According to the online report, Washington called the commissioner’s office and alerted the Rangers’ front office before the results had come in, warning them that he might have failed the initial test.
“It was the right thing to do,” Washington told SI.com, insisting that his was a one-time transgression. “I couldn’t deal with the result to come back positive and be a shock to those who’ve shown faith in me.
“I did make a mistake and I regret that I did it,” he added. “I am really embarrassed and I am really sorry.”
In January of 2008, acting on recommendations in the Mitchell Report on baseball and steroids, commissioner Bud Selig instituted random drug testing for managers, coaches, trainers, clubhouse attendants and other people who have access to major league locker rooms.
First-time offenders who test positive for recreational drugs such as cocaine are ordered to undergo a medical evaluation conducted by doctors to determine the extent of their drug use and a treatment plan. They are also subject to increased testing and discipline from the commissioner’s office.
First-time offenders who test positive for steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs, however, are automatically suspended for 50games.
Washington declined to explain the circumstances that led to the positive test.
“Any attempt to try to explain it is going to sound like excuses,” Washington said. “There is no right way to explain something wrong, and I did wrong. Was it tension? Maybe. Anxiety?”
The Rangers ultimately supported Washington, who will voluntarily submit to extensive testing even though doctors cleared him this spring to be randomly tested once a year like all other major league managers and coaches.
“Despite the disappointment, we felt that supporting Ron was the right thing to do,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told SI.com. “We asked a lot of questions and worked through Major League Baseball’s program, where Ron had appropriate consultation, support and testing. But for all the reasons we hired him in the first place, we felt and continued to feel that he’s the right guy to lead the club. He made a significant mistake. He also admitted to it and took steps to ensure that it won’t happen again.”
Washington, who held a team meeting Wednesday morning at the team’s spring training facility in Surprise, Ariz., to address his transgression, hopes it doesn’t permanently mar his reputation.
“I don’t want this to be held over my head for the rest of my life and have this be the one thing that’s associated with my name,” he said. “I made a terrible mistake and all I can do is pray that I am forgiven for it and don’t have to carry it for the rest of my life.”