Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
Follow us on Twitter! @OS_Report
For those of you that haven’t heard, ESPN is reporting that Josh Hamilton has relapsed again. Hamilton, who has battled drug and alcohol addiction since suffering an injury in the minor leagues, supposedly told league officials a month ago that he had used cocaine and alcohol. According to the Jon Heyman of CBSsports.com, “There’s no word of a failed test. Word is, Hamilton told MLB about relapse.” Hamilton is expected to be out until at least May as he underwent shoulder surgery earlier this month.
This sounds awfully familiar. Hamilton first turned to drugs and alcohol when he hurt his back in a car accident while he was a minor leaguer in the Tampa Bay system. In his book, Beyond Belief, Hamilton said that a combination of boredom and a lack of parental supervision (he went straight to baseball out of high school) put him in unfamiliar waters and he made stupid choices that led him down the road of addiction.
To me, the key thing that makes Josh Hamilton different than a Josh Gordon or a Johnny Manziel is that he doesn’t blame anybody but himself for being an addict. He doesn’t downplay the fact that he’s addicted to drugs and alcohol. He’s not too proud to admit that without God and his wife, he’s a weak person that can’t control himself. How many of us can be that brutally honest about the things that we struggle with?
Frankly, I respect Josh Hamilton more than any other high profile person who has struggled with addiction in the public eye. He seems to be the only person who admits that every day is a struggle and doesn’t act like a victim because of it.
Honestly, if this report is true, and he came forward and confessed to Major League Baseball that he has used cocaine and alcohol before failing a drug test, then that shows that he’s fighting this battle in a lot more grown up of a way than anybody I know. This fact makes me respect him all the more. It means he’s not just fighting a battle alone in a dark room somewhere. No, he’s actively fighting to get ahead of this thing, and he knows that he can’t get anywhere unless someone holds him accountable.
What happens to Josh Hamilton’s career as a result of his recent mistakes remains to be seen. I’m sure that some sort of suspension is in order. Sure, all the baseball pundits out there will be lamenting the contract that he has with the Angels (and it’s hard to argue with them), but to me this is about more than contracts. This is about a man’s life. This is about a man who is constantly fighting to escape the chains of addiction and I honestly hope that he can someday beat this demon.
If you’re the praying type, send one up for Josh Hamilton tonight. Pray for his wife and children. This situation affects more people than just him. From all of us here at 'Our Sports Report', we wish Hambone the best as he fights his way through another valley.