**I'd like to make it clear that this is my opinion. While there are facts to support my opinion littered throughout this article, this is MY OPINION. Please take it as such**
It was announced earlier today that Cardinals' prospect Griffin Roberts has been suspended for 50 games for violating the MiLB drug program. In the press release, it stated that it was for "a drug of abuse."
There have been a lot of feelings and opinions thrown around in the hour or so since the suspension was announced. I just wanted to take a few minutes to tell you where my mind is at in regards to this suspension.
I would have done this on Twitter but it's going to take more than 280 characters and I already lost my mind once this week following that brilliant display of forced agenda from Fox Sports Midwest.
So, instead, you get this.
Defining "Drug of Abuse"
These are the drugs that qualified as "drugs of abuse": marijuana, hashish, THC, synthetic THC, cocaine, LSD, opiates (such as oxycodone and heroin), ecstasy, GHB and PCP.
The other big thing to remember here is that, as it is with every drug suspension in either MiLB or MLB, a player receives their first drug-related suspension after their second-positive test. I personally think of the first-positive test as a "warning shot." So, obviously, Mr. Roberts would have had to have failed the test twice to receive the suspension.
Now, a player can be suspended for refusing to take a test a second time. That doesn't appear to be the case here, but I just wanted to throw that out there.
MY QUICK THOUGHTS ON THE TOPIC
I'm a very simple person. I enjoy simple things. I'm simple-minded, undoubtedly. So this is simple to me. But it's layered, for sure. Stick around for the whole movie, please.
Roberts broke the rules. He knew the rules yet he still took his chances. Twice.
We don't know the circumstances and timing surrounding the tests and the frequency for which they were administered, so all that we can do is point to the near-undeniable fact that he is appropriately being punished for breaking the rules.
The other thing worth talking about is the assumption that he was suspended for smoking weed. THAT IS NOT CLEAR AND THAT'S A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF THIS.
We assume it's weed because, honestly, there are a lot of people that are smoking weed these days. It's our culture. But we have to submit to the facts and the fact here is that, as of right now, we don't know which "drug of abuse" it was that Mr. Roberts was busted for. Let's hope that it's nothing more serious than marijuana/weed/pot. If it is, let's all hope that this young man gets the help that he needs.
And those are the simple points. That's where you could probably walk away and say "these are the indisputable facts and we've done our job!"
Unfortunately, there's a lot more to it than just the facts that led to the suspension that need to be taken into account when viewing exactly what this suspension is.
FLESHING OUT THE WHOLE PICTURE
First, I wanna say that Mr. Craig Edwards wrote a great piece for Viva El Birdos years ago that I've had bookmarked forever and you should read it by following THIS LINK. It's about how unfair the minor leaguers are treated. Coincidentally enough, he wrote it after another big pitching prospect (Alex Reyes) was suspended for 50 games as a minor leaguer. I can honestly tell you that I am disappointed that all of the points that Mr. Edwards makes about the treatment of minor leaguers remains the same three years later. YOU SHOULD BE, TOO.
You see, had Roberts been on the Cardinals' 40-man roster then he wouldn't have been suspended, if it is indeed marijuana that was in his system. That's because players in the Major League Baseball Players Union aren't suspended for taking it. It's a standard that only minor leaguers are held to. It's just another level of hypocrisy and unfair treatment that these young men have to endure as they are penalized for pursuing their dream.
And if you think that I'm being dramatic or overly-protective, you don't need to look any further than the legislation that was passed in April that makes minor league players exempt from qualifying for minimum wage. I urge... beg.... whatever.... you to read that article. Minor league players are held to a different and unfair standard while enduring lower-than-standard conditions. You shouldn't be cool with that. Hell, you shouldn't even be mad about it; you should be OUTRAGED.
What's even better about this hypocrisy is, if the Cardinals were to add Roberts to the 40-man roster right now then he wouldn't have to spend a day suspended in the minors (again, if it is indeed marijuana). That's how much of a sham-rule it is. Also, none of this takes into account the growing number of states that are legalizing it for recreational use. It's an outdated and tone def rule and I'm not sure how you could make an argument otherwise.
If there's one good thing that can be taken from this it's that, as reported by the amazing Brian Walton from The Cardinal Nation (subscribe to that site), Roberts should be available to come back from his suspension around Memorial Day. Thus, he'll spend the first two months or so of the season at the Palm Beach/Roger Dean Stadium complex preparing for the late start to his 2019 season.
One more time, I'd like to make it clear that if this suspension is for something more serious than marijuana then it nullifies my argument and thoughts for this particular case and I hope that he gets the help that he needs.
That said, while Roberts did break the rules for which he was clearly aware of, it should come with the qualifier that it's a B.S rule that needs serious tweaking. As a matter of fact, the rule needs to go away because there is a Major League precedent for it not being a rule. He needs to be better and he will be better, but so does Major League and Minor League baseball.
Thanks For Reading!!