OJ Mayo Banned From NBA For Drug Violation

By McCarton Ackerman 07/08/16

Mayo was previously suspended for 10 games in 2011 after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, which he blamed on a gas station energy drink.

OJ Mayo Banned From NBA For Drug Violation
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Former Milwaukee Bucks guard OJ Mayo has been officially banned from the NBA for violating the league’s anti-drug program, making him ineligible to apply to be reinstated for a full two years.

A release from the NBA said that the organization is prohibited from discussing details of the case under the league’s anti-drug program. Deadspin reported that Mayo was suspended for 10 games in 2011 after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, which he blamed on a gas station energy drink.

The league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement only allows the substance to be announced in cases of player bans or dismissals if it involves steroids or PEDs. Because Mayo’s substance of choice wasn’t announced, it can be assumed he tested positive for one of the league’s "drugs of abuse," according to Deadspin. These include PCP, opiates, LSD, cocaine, and amphetamines.

Prior to Mayo, there were 11 previous “disqualification” suspensions for drug use in the NBA dating back to 1986. The most recent one was former New Orleans Hornets center Chris Andersen, who received a two-year ban for testing positive in January 2006 for a drug of abuse. He spent a month in a Malibu treatment facility during his time off and made a triumphant return to his team in January 2008. Andersen won an NBA championship as part of the Miami Heat in 2013 and now plays for the Memphis Grizzlies.

The NBA is known for having one of the most stringent drug testing policies in pro sports, subjecting players to random tests without prior notice. They also began blood testing for Human Growth Hormone during the most recent season. Testing positive for HGH for any player results in a 20-game suspension, while a second violation yields a 45-game suspension and a third one results in a disqualification from the league.

However, some prominent figures spoke out against adding HGH to the list of banned substances. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said in November 2013 to USA Today that the substance could help athletes recover from injuries and return to the court more quickly.

"The issue isn’t whether I think it should be used. The issue is that it has not been approved for such use,” he said at the time. “And one of the reasons it hasn't been approved is that there have not been studies done to prove the benefits of prescribing HGH for athletic rehabilitation or any injury rehabilitation that I'm aware of. The product has such a huge (public) stigma that no one wants to be associated with it."

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.