On Wednesday February 26th, the NBA announced that Malik Monk was being suspended indefinitely without pay. The reason for this suspension is that Monk was found violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA anti-drug program by failing a drug test. To this point it has not been announced what drug Monk took.
When asked about the incident, Hornets coach James Borrego had this to say “Obviously, we give him our full support. It’s a situation that — all of us face different things in life. It’s how you respond. It’s my belief, knowing Malik, that he will respond the right way, and he has my full support, he has our organization’s full support. And it does put us in a bind, but I believe that in the end, it’s going to be a very positive story. I look forward to talking to him, but that’s where we’re at today.”
Monk has been the 4th NBA player since August to get banned due to illegal substance use with the other NBA players including the Brooklyn Nets Wilson Chandler, the Phoenix Suns Deandre Ayton and the Atlanta Hawks John Collins. Why is there such a flood of players this year getting banned for this? One thing that all these players have in common is that their respective franchises haven’t been overly successful the past couple of years. The Nets did make the playoffs last year and did sign two all-star players in Durant and Irving, but they lost their best player from last year in D’angelo Russell and both Durant and Irving have missed significant time this season with Durant not even playing a single game up to this point. The Hawks haven’t made the playoffs in the last two seasons, the Hornets haven’t made it in the last three seasons and the Suns haven’t made the playoffs since the 2009-2010 season! These players may have felt the strong urge to turn to these substances to help turn their team’s fortunes, but have only made things worse for themselves. This article by Robert Hughes and Jay Coakley goes into how athletes want to show that they are a “real athlete” and make themselves stand out from the rest of the group. One of the ways to set themselves apart nowadays has been illegal substances. With a lot of players getting caught now, deviant overconformity is becoming a serious issue in the NBA.