Josh Hamilton Facing MLB Discipline After Suffering Drug Relapse


Yesterday news broke that Josh Hamilton was in New York on Wednesday meeting with MLB officials over an unspecified “disciplinary issue.” Today we know that this “issue” is a drug relapse Hamilton suffered in the offseason.

Hamilton, of course, had his superstar career delayed and nearly derailed by his addiction to drugs and alcohol. Drafted by the Rays in 1999, in 2001 he got involved in drugs at the age of 20. By 2003 Hamilton failed his first drug test, and not long after that he was out of baseball altogether.

Fortunately, Hamilton was able to turn his life around in 2006 when he met his wife and started training again. In 2007 the Cubs selected him in the Rule 5 draft and traded him to Cincinnati, where he finally made his major league debut at the age of 26. The Reds then traded him to the Rangers before the 2008 season, and the rest his history. By 2010 Hamilton was the AL MVP and one of the biggest feel-good stories in baseball—a man who had learned to control his demons and realize his God-given potential.

Of course, as anyone who has ever struggled with addiction will tell you, you never really expel your demons. Despite the fact that the Rangers provided Hamilton with a personal “accountability coach”—i.e., a 24/7 chaperone—he suffered relapses with alcohol in 2009 and 2012, each time coming clean and seeking more treatment.

The relapse Hamilton suffered this year, unfortunately, seems much more serious. According to CBS’s Jon Heyman it involved “at least” cocaine. If that’s the case, Hamilton likely will face significant punishment from MLB. Because he was reinstated to MLB in 2006 under terms and conditions, he is not subject to standard framework for drug abuse laid out in the collective bargaining agreement. His punishment will be handed out at the discretion of new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.

This is obviously very sad news. Josh Hamilton seems like a good guy who is trying to overcome his seedy past. But if there is any silver lining here, it’s this:

If this report is true, and Hamilton really did turn himself in, that means there is hope for him yet. Addiction is a lifelong struggle. It’s when you stop being honest with yourself that the addiction starts to win.

Hat Tip – [Deadspin]

Tags: anaheim angels, drugs, Josh Hamilton, MLB, suspension, texas rangers,