Washington's admission probably saved job

Washington's admission probably saved job

Credit: AP

Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington catches the ball during a baseball spring training workout, Monday, March 1, 2010, in Surprise, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)




Posted on March 17, 2010 at 2:13 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 17 at 2:44 PM


Ron Washington admitted to using cocaine last season, in July of 2009. Sports Illustrated broke the story early this afternoon, and the Texas Rangers held a press conference at 1:30 (more on that when we get details).

Basically the story is this: Washington was drug tested after the 2009 All-Star break. Before the results came out, Washington contacted the commissioner's office and his bosses with the Rangers to tell them that he might fail the test. That probably saved his job. The team decided not to fire him, or discipline him in any way, or make it public knowledge.

Washington told Sports Illustrated today, "I am really embarrassed and I am really sorry."

What Washington did was wrong (obviously), but how he handled was exactly right. Isn't that what all of us want to hear from athletes who make a mistake? We get it; we understand: people screw up -- but at least be honest about it. Don't come off like Mark McGwire did when he admitted to his steroids use. Yes, he copped to using steroids, but he refused to admit that they were to enhance his performance; McGwire said he used only to recover from injuries quicker.

Washington's approach to his problem was perfect -- it's just too bad he gave himself that problem to begin with.

The following is Washington's statement, delivered to the media in Surprise, Arizona:

I am here today to apologize for a huge mistake I made during the first half of the season in 2009.
I am not here to make excuses. There are none.
I am not here to ask for sympathy.  That would be asking too much.
I fully understand that I disappointed a lot of people----my family, my players, coaches, as well as the team’s leadership, especially Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels, as well as young people who may have looked up to me.  
I am truly sorry for my careless, dangerous, and frankly, stupid, behavior last year. 
Clearly, you have never seen me speak from a script before.  But this is a time that I need to get the words exactly right.
Here’s the biggest question: how and why did this happen?
That’s a question I have had to face in numerous sessions with counselors.  I’ve learned a lot about myself personally, and I recognize that this episode was an attempt to dodge personal anxieties and personal issues I needed to confront. 
That was the wrong way to do it.  It was self-serving, and believe me, not worth it.  I know you will ask, and so here’s the answer:  this was the one and only time I used this drug. 
I made a huge mistake, and it almost caused me to lose everything I have worked for all of my life. 
Shortly after I did this, MLB notified me that I would have a routine drug test.  Before even taking the test, I notified the league about the drug use.  Right after that test, I told Jon Daniels and Nolan Ryan about my shameful behavior.  I offered them my resignation.
They asked a lot of difficult questions.  Remarkably, these two men, after a lot of thought and prayer, allowed me to stay here through last season.
However, they also directed me to immediately begin MLB’s drug treatment program, which is a thorough and exhaustive process, and it includes the administration of drug tests at least three times a week. 
I am proud to report to you that I have completed that program.
I am not proud to admit this terrible error.
This morning, I talked to our players.  I assured them that this will never happen again, and I asked them to forgive me.  In the true spirit of a “team,” they seemed to embrace me not only as a manager but as a human being.  I won’t let you down again.   Please know that I will personally take on the challenge of telling young people my story and my mistake.  I don’t know what form that will take, but I am committed to do that.
I am hopeful that our fans, both Rangers fans and Major League Baseball fans, will accept this heartfelt and humble attempt to say:  I’m so sorry for what I did.