Al Jefferson suspended five games for an unnamed drug (pot) infraction

Ball Don't Lie
Michael Jordan and Al Jefferson discuss ethics. (Getty Images)
Michael Jordan and Al Jefferson discuss ethics. (Getty Images)

Al Jefferson will turn 31-years old in January, he is a potent NBA scorer and rebounder, and a respected teammate.

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The Charlotte Hornets center has also been suspended five games by the NBA for an unspecified drug violation.

The suspension will begin once Jefferson returns from the calf injury that has limited for the last week, and possibly keep him out for another two weeks. As such, the Hornets could be without Jefferson for the rest of the 2015 calendar year.

The Hornets and Jefferson released a statement on Wednesday:

“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.”

The below statement is from Al Jefferson regarding the situation:

“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.”

Jefferson, over 17 games, averages 13.7 points and 6.4 rebounds in 26 minutes a game. The Hornets, at 12-8 and boast the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference.

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If you’re reading an NBA blog on a Wednesday afternoon about a Charlotte Hornets center, you likely know that there is exactly one drug-based five-game suspension, and that is for testing positive for marijuana three times. The NBA and NBPA, whether this is by design or unintentional, leaves little guesswork for those on the outside.

Al Jefferson, a tall man with ankle and calf issues that runs up and down the court quite a bit prior to battling in the paint with the league’s biggest players, was “caught” smoking marijuana three times per the league’s (at first) random testing policy. Jefferson, who tore his ACL in 2008, probably should have taken more caution once the first positive test allowed the NBA (per the league’s collective bargaining agreement) to schedule further tests, is right when he says he needs to make “smarter decisions in the future.”

Not regarding his use of the drug, which is still illegal in North Carolina. From getting caught the two other times.

Marijuana isn’t harmless, it’s still mostly illegal, and a lot of people (including this narc right here) are not a fan. It’s still far more preferable to pro athletes than gobbling an unending string of anti-inflammatory meds (which can cause all manner of kidney and liver diseases), painkillers, or liters of liquor as they attempt to chase away what results from our nightly cheering – perpetual pain, as they work through a contact sport. Are we really still doing this?

Al Jefferson, more than just about anyone in the NBA, subscribes to the “contact” aspect of this sport as he does his business in the low post. It isn’t great that he’ll possibly have to miss the rest of December because of the infraction, but as 2015 shifts into 2016 I think a lot of us can agree that it is rather silly that we’re still demonizing things like this, prior to watching that Grey Goose vodka ad that the local broadcast will play in between quarters.

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Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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