Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Josh Hamilton issue

Josh Hamilton, faded superstar and drug addict, is reportedly the subject of a heated debate over how to handle his apparent relapse. Should he be suspended for as much as the entire season or not? Should he be required to enter rehab? Supposedly the four-member panel has split evenly on what to do.

I can't pretend to know what outcome here is best for Hamilton. I do think this: The primary goal of a drug program should be the employee's sobriety and safety. I hope that the reported split on the panel is the result of honest disagreement over what is best for Hamilton, not a labor-management split over money.

The panel ought not be concerned with protecting the Angels from the consequences of their five-year, $125 million contract with the outfielder. The Angels doubtless regret the deal; it was a foolish contract even without Hamilton's well-known history of substance abuse. But they went into the deal knowing that he was into his decline years, knowing that he was leaving one of baseball's most hitter-friendly parks, knowing that his sobriety was hard-won and never secure. None of that was any sort of secret.

I have the same attitude on this as I do on the Yankees' desire to be out from under the Alex Rodriguez contract. You made this bed, fool. Lie in it.

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