Tagged in: abuse

Free agent Matt Harvey could be suspended by MLB after admission of opioid distribution

If Matt Harvey can find a team willing to sign him, he could immediately be suspended for at least 60 days for saying that he provided opioids to Tyler Skaggs on several occasions, a Major League Baseball official told ESPN on Wednesday.

Harvey’s admission in federal court Tuesday qualifies as distribution under MLB’s drug policy, the official told ESPN on the condition of anonymity.

Harvey, currently a free agent, would be able to appeal any suspension.

“Once the trial is complete, MLB will conduct a comprehensive review of the potential violations of our drug program,” MLB said in a statement.

MLB can’t take any action, however, until it reaches a new labor agreement with the players’ association.

Harvey received immunity from the government in order to testify, and may not be criminally prosecuted for anything he admitted to in court, unless he lied.

The other players who testified — C.J. Cron, Mike Morin, Cam Bedrosian and Blake Parker — testified to their own opioid use but did not say they ever distributed drugs to anyone else.

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Under MLB’s drug policy, those players would not face suspensions, unless they previously violated the policy regarding drugs of abuse.

Unlike players caught using performance-enhancing drugs, player using drugs of abuse like opioids or cocaine are referred to an evaluation treatment board for their first offense, and the violation is not made public. The board then develops a treatment plan that the player must follow.

The players testified Tuesday and Wednesday in the federal criminal trial of Eric Kay, the former Los Angeles Angels communications director. Kay faces two felony charges of distributing fentanyl and causing Skaggs’ drug-related death in July 2019.

Both sides will give closing arguments Thursday. With the exception of Parker, the players stated Skaggs introduced them to Kay and said they could get oxycodone from him. Parker said he couldn’t recall who introduced him to Kay.

The players went on to describe how Kay sometimes left pills for them in their lockers, and how some snorted or ingested the pills in the clubhouse.

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Green Bay Packers sign QB Jake Dolegala after minicamp tryout

Make it five quarterbacks now on the Green Bay Packers’ roster.

Jake Dolegala signed with the team after his tryout during the three-day minicamp finished Thursday.

He did not get many reps during the 11-on-11 portions of the three practices, but he showed enough during drill work that the Packers want to take a longer look.

In other news, the NFL revealed Thursday that Packers tight end Jace Sternberger was suspended without pay for the first two games of the regular season for violating the league’s policy and program on substances of abuse.

With the addition of Dolegala, the Packers’ quarterback depth chart looks like this: Aaron Rodgers, Jordan Love, Blake Bortles, Kurt Benkert and Dolegala, who signed with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2019 as an undrafted free agent out of Central Connecticut and also spent part of last campaign on the New England Patriots’ practice squad.

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While Rodgers was a holdout during mandatory minicamp, the Packers gave Love the bulk of the work in team periods. Instead of dividing reps during 11-on-11s, Love took the majority of the snaps. Of the 31 snaps Thursday, Love took 26, while Bortles got two and Benkert three.

Less than a month ago, the Packers had only two quarterbacks on their roster: Rodgers and Love. They added Benkert, who had previously been on the Falcons’ practice squad, after a tryout during their rookie camp and then added the veteran Bortles just days later.

The Packers released defensive tackle Anthony Rush to make room for Dolegala.

Sternberger said in a statement posted to Twitter that he fell asleep behind the wheel in February 2020 after making the “horrible decision” to drink after taking anti-depressants.

“I want to apologize to the GB Packers organization and everyone else who has supported me along this journey,” Sternberger said in the statement. “It is never okay to drink and get behind the wheel.”

Sternberger, who said he has been going to therapy over the past 16 months, can participate in all offseason and preseason practices and matches but then will be out until Week 3.

“I will never ignore my mistakes,” he said. “I have owned up to my poor decision and accept the consequences.”

Sternberger, a third-round pick in 2019, has 12 career catches for 114 yards and a touchdown. He was a healthy scratch in both of the Packers’ playoff games last season.

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