Washington Wizards veteran guard Jodie Meeks has been suspended without pay for 25 games after violating the terms of the NBA’s performance-enhancing drug policy, the league announced on Friday.
The suspension will begin with Washington’s first-round series against the Toronto Raptors and extend into next season, depending on how many games the Wizards play in the postseason.
Meeks tested positive for a pair of banned growth hormone-stimulating substances, Ipamorelin and Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide-2, per the NBA. The nine-year veteran denied knowingly taking performance-enhancing drugs, telling ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski he plans to appeal the suspension.
“For the past nine years I have been humbled every day to have the opportunity to walk into an NBA arena and see the name Meeks on the back of an NBA jersey,” Meeks said in a statement to ESPN. “As part of my commitment to playing in the NBA for nine years, I have been subject to countless mandatory tests for any and all drugs including performance enhancing drugs. I have passed each and every drug test without issue for the last nine years.
“Because I have never used a drug of any kind I am absolutely heartbroken and perplexed with the news today. Let me be clear: I have never taken anything whatsoever for a performance-enhancing reason. I respect the game of basketball too much.”
Meeks called it a “wrongful accusation,” and his lawyer, Ben Levine, told ESPN that the NBA has “prematurely taken action” against him. “Unfortunately, under the CBA, a player is guilty until proven innocent,” added Levine, “and while Jodie’s appeal is pending he will be forced to sit out the playoffs.”
Meeks, 30, signed a two-year, $6.7 million contract with the Wizards this past summer. He owns a player option for next season, but under his current deal he would lose more than $30,000 per game if he cannot overturn the suspension under an appeal.
As for the Wizards, their shallow reserve pool just lost more depth. Meeks played all but five games for the Wizards this season, averaging 6.3 points in 14.5 minutes as a shooting guard off the bench.
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