O.J. Mayo banned from NBA for violating league's anti-drug policy

O.J. Mayo will be eligible to apply for reinstatement to the NBA in two years. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
O.J. Mayo will be eligible to apply for reinstatement to the NBA in two years. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The NBA announced Friday that free-agent guard O.J. Mayo has been “dismissed and disqualified from the league for violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program.” He will be banned from the league for at least two years, at which point he will be eligible to apply for reinstatement.

The league offered no more details on Mayo’s dismissal, saying that the NBA, its teams and the National Basketball Players Association are jointly “prohibited from publicly disclosing information regarding the testing or treatment of any NBA player under the Anti-Drug Program, other than to announce a player’s suspension or dismissal from the league.” That means Mayo — who received a 10-game suspension in 2011 while a member of the Memphis Grizzlies after testing positive for the banned steroid DHEA — did not commit an infraction including steroids or performance-enhancing drugs (SPEDs), per the breakdown of the joint anti-drug policy included in the 2011 collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players’ union:

If a player is suspended or disqualified for conduct involving a SPED, the particular SPED shall be publicly disclosed along with the announcement of the applicable penalty.

That restriction, however, does not apply to “Drugs of Abuse” or marijuana:

If a player is suspended or disqualified for conduct involving a Drug of Abuse or marijuana, the NBA shall not publicly disclose the particular Prohibited Substance involved, absent the agreement of the Players Association or the prior disclosure of such information by the player (or by a person authorized by the player to disclose such information).

The “Drugs of Abuse” listed on the NBA’s Prohibited Substances list include:
• Amphetamine and its analogs (including, but not limited to, methamphetamine and MDMA)
• Cocaine
• Opiates (Heroin, Codeine, Morphine)
• Phencyclidine (PCP)

Mayo is the 12th player in the last 30 years to be dismissed and disqualified for a drug suspension, and the first since then-New Orleans Hornets forward/center Chris “Birdman” Andersen in 2006. The 29-year-old Andersen applied for and was granted reinstatement in March of 2008; he then embarked on the most productive portion of his professional career, spending four years with the Denver Nuggets and three-plus with the Miami Heat, winning a championship ring in 2012-13, before joining the Memphis Grizzlies this past season.

The 28-year-old Mayo will be eligible to apply for reinstatement for the 2019-20 season, but actually being reinstated is no sure thing:

… such player shall have no right to reinstatement under any circumstance and the reinstatement shall be granted only with the prior approval of both the NBA and the Players Association, which shall not be unreasonably withheld. The approval of the NBA and the Players Association shall rest in their absolute and sole discretion, and their decision shall be final, binding, and unappealable. Among the factors that may be considered by the NBA and the Players Association in determining whether to grant reinstatement are (without limitation): the circumstances surrounding the player’s dismissal and disqualification; whether the player has satisfactorily completed a treatment and rehabilitation program; the player’s conduct since his dismissal,including the extent to which the player has since comported himself as a suitable role model for youth; and whether the player is judged to possess the requisite qualities of good character and morality.

A prep-school star selected out of USC by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the No. 3 pick in the 2008 NBA draft, Mayo was traded on draft night to the Grizzlies with Antoine Walker, Greg Buckner and Marko Jaric for Kevin Love, Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal and Jason Collins. He has spent the last three seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks, and has averaged 13.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and one steal in 30.9 minutes per game over the course of an eight-year NBA career.

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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