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Following the protest: a relatively easy punishment for basketball players caught with cannabis

The two foreign basketball players whose blood tests found the remains of cannabis were penalized at 3 for months away from games in Israel - compared to punishments of up to 4 in the past years,.

The Israeli Sports Doping Agency has decided to suspend basketball players Ritzhard Howell and Tychon Thomas for only three months, after testing at the end of last season was positive due to the use of cannabis.

The sports channel said Sunday that it was a relatively light punishment compared with previous punishments for similar convictions, and that even years of exclusion from activity in Israel had reached 4.

Richard Howell, Hapoel Jerusalem player and Israel basketball team (Photo: Flash 90)
Richard Howell, Hapoel Jerusalem player and Israel basketball team (Photo: Flash 90)

The decision of the Israeli Agency came after a severe criticism of the fact that the players who returned from the tournament were criticized, in part because in Europe and in the NBA it is not customary to adopt such a conservative and tough approach.

Recall following the suspension of both players Turned "green leaf" In an urgent letter to the basketball association, the league director, and the Committee for the Prevention of Doping in Sport (DADA), demanding the cancellation of the ban on the use of time off. "A conservative and distorted position," they claimed in the party.

After the events and the turn of the party The league manager asked - the body that represents the Premier League teams - for legal advice to compare the policy to that of FIBA ​​in Europe and the NBA in the United States.

The administration agrees with the claims in the letter that in other leagues, use of cannabis is possible and that cannabis does not meet the definition of performance enhancer.

"The National Agency for the Prevention of Doping in Sports is an executive arm of the WADA in the State of Israel (government decision), and as such it enforces WADA regulations in Israel," they wrote in response to our request.

At the same time, it was decided to adopt a more lenient approach, and despite the fact that a punishment was finally imposed, this is a relatively light punishment compared with previous sentences. The sports channel mentions that actor Amadi Anjai, who played for Bnei Herzelia, was initially banned for four years in Israel, but shortly after he was caught, FIBA ​​decided to suspend him for only four months.

The Israeli Doping Agency decided to strike a line with punishments of this magnitude, which is the reason for the relatively short suspension that Thomas and Havel received.

Cannabis fines

(Starting with 1 in April 2019)


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