Phoenix Suns’ young star Deandre Ayton has been making headlines in the month of October after a failed drug test on October 21st. Ayton is currently serving a 25 game suspension after the failed drug test for a diuretic. This violates the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug program.
Deandre Ayton is a twenty-one year-old Bahamian basketball player. In just his second NBA season, he is accustomed to being in the public eye. Ayton has garnered a plethora of media attention since the beginning of his one-and-done college season with the Virginia Pirates in 2017. Standing at seven-feet-one-inch and weighing 250 pounds, Ayton was selected first overall by the Suns in the 2018 draft. At the time of his draft selection, Ayton’s physical tools and scoring potential led him to be seen as the most NBA ready player at the time of his draft.
In a statement released by Deandre Ayton, he claims the incident to be “unintentional” and states that he was “unaware” of the substance that he put into his body. However, diuretics are a form of banned substance which increase urine volume and are frequently utilized to mask other performance enhancing drugs. I am sceptical of Ayton’s claims of total innocence. I feel that, regardless of Ayton’s intentions, the entire phenomenon can best be understood through the sociological investigation of drug use by athletes.
The work of Connor (2009) has served to examine drug use by an athlete as a result of societal pressures. I believe that fan, league, and team pressures may have been key-drivers in Ayton’s supposed doping scandal. As an athlete who has received so much attention, society has such high expectations of the young man, that he may be inclined to view the use of performance enhancing drugs as a necessary vehicle to success. I believe that DeAndre Ayton has fallen victim to his own over-conformity to The Sport Ethic which has now lead to him serving a near two-month suspension from the NBA.
By Alex Bohan