Drug abuse in sports has been gaining more attention as football players, swimmers, golfers, cyclists, fighters and basketball players have all come forward admitting to using various substances. Most aren't honest about their behavior until they get caught by drug testing procedures or wind up in legal trouble of some sort.
Baseball is no different. In fact it appears that the sport is experiencing a huge problem regarding illegal drugs. In the past, steroids were the main concern among players, but illicit drugs have started to make more of an impact among the athletes.
Josh Hamilton is the most recent player who has had to confront his substance abuse publicly, once again. Struggling with addiction is not new to the Hamilton. In fact, he has openly discussed the fact that he battled an addiction to illegal drugs while he was in the minor leagues. His story became that of redemption as he was able to maintain sobriety and perform well for the Texas Rangers. Unfortunately, Hamilton relapsed after he was traded to the Angels. His future with the team is questionable, though he was not suspended by the league since he reported his relapse during the off-season.
“There are many players within Major League Baseball who suffer from alcohol and drug related problems and the league, teams, and players unions should make more of an effort to make sure players that need help are getting the help that they need,” explained Zach Josephson, a reporter who is investigating the drug problem within baseball.
Many people feel that it is necessary for Major League Baseball and other professional sports to start providing support for players who are struggling with a drug and/or alcohol problem. Instead of taking away their jobs, refusing to pay them or quietly benching them, it could be an opportunity to educate and show compassion. Players are employees of the individual teams and it appears that the responsibility of the employers is to look out for their employees, just like other jobs around the country. Unfortunately, what usually happens is that their problems are often kept hidden and even perpetuated by the system. Whether these athletes are highly paid or not isn't the point, it is about their individual health and recovery as well as the message it sends to young fans.
As for Hamilton, there are reports surfacing today that the Angels will trade him back to the Rangers, perhaps where he has a better support system for his recovery.