Washington admits he used more than cocaine
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) – A day after acknowledging he failed a drug test for cocaine last year, Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington said he used marijuana and amphetamines while he was a player.
“When you’re young you make mistakes,” Washington said Thursday. “I wish I could take back some of the mistakes I may have made, but I can’t.”
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Washington would keep his job. He said the team was aware Washington used drugs as a player.
“There’s a distinction between what people do in their youth vs. later in life,” he told a group of reporters, according to the Web site of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
“I’m sure there are things in our past we’re not proud of. Ron could have avoided the question or lied and chose not to. I’m not going to punish him for being honest. That doesn’t excuse the behavior but that’s reality,” Daniels said.
Washington made his latest admission before Texas played a “B” game against Milwaukee on a practice field.
On Wednesday, Washington said he tested positive for cocaine in a Major League Baseball test last July. He told Rangers management and MLB about the cocaine – he said he used it only once – before the test result and offered to resign. Texas president Nolan Ryan and team management allowed him to keep his job.
Washington did not detail how often he used marijuana and amphetamines, or describe what kind of amphetamines he took. The 57-year-old Washington played 10 seasons in the majors, mostly as an infielder for Minnesota in the 1980s – a decade when cocaine and amphetamine use in the majors was not uncommon.
Washington said his mistakes from years ago have nothing to do with the issue he’s facing now.
“I made mistakes in my younger days,” he said. “I want to get past it, move forward and get back on the field and start winning some ballgames.”
All-Star third baseman Michael Young, the team’s longest-tenured player, said what Washington did as a player was a non-issue in his eyes. He said discussion about amphetamine use among players in the 1970s and 1980s was a “slippery slope.”
“We’re hopeful this will bring us together, and we can rally around each other a little more,” Young said. “Asking about dissension or a distraction, it’s a fair question. But it’s not relevant in this clubhouse. We have a solid group of guys in here and they’re not going to judge somebody on a mistake and not on their worst moment.”
All-Star outfielder Josh Hamilton, whose own drug troubles have been well chronicled, reiterated Thursday that he appreciated Washington’s approach.
“The way he has handled the situation, I have more respect for him now,” Hamilton said. “He didn’t hide behind anything, didn’t make excuses. He was honest and that’s a quality you want in a leader, somebody who recognizes the mistakes and can tell you about them so you can learn from it.”
Washington said he’s received several messages from family, friends and former players over the past 48 hours and that “it was all love.
“These people know Ron Washington,” he said. “I am a good person. No, I’m not a good person. I’m a damn good person. And I’m proud. And I fight. And I’m hungry. And I made a mistake.”