Philadelphia 76ers backup center Stanley Roberts was expelled from the NBA today after testing positive for a banned substance--the league's first expulsion under its tougher drug policy. Roberts and the team were notified that Roberts tested positive for "an amphetamine-based designer drug."
The substance fell under the list of banned substances that call for expulsion on the first positive test. Roberts exercised his right to ask for a retest and failed it, NBA spokesman Chris Brienza said. Roberts, 29, can apply for reinstatement in two years. His one-year, $760,000 contract with the 76ers will be voided.
"All I know is that I never took a designer drug and for them to just exile me without giving me a chance or even re-testing me--that's it your career is over," Roberts told KRIV-TV in Philadelphia. "You serve 10 years, never flunked a drug test in your life."
The drug test was administered during the preseason. All players and coaches were tested for drugs ranging from steroids and marijuana to heroin and PCP. This is the first season NBA players are being tested for drugs other than cocaine and heroin, which they were tested for previously.
"It's unfortunate that Stanley Roberts would jeopardize his career, and possibly risk his life by supposedly enjoying some leisure drug or amphetamine or whatever he tested positive for," 76ers President Pat Croce said.
Philadelphia Coach Larry Brown said he was "disappointed" because he personally fought to get Roberts on the team. Brown coached Roberts with the Los Angeles Clippers in the early 1990s and said he was very close to him.
"Rules are rules," said Brown, who declined to comment further.
A team source said Roberts told at least one team official last week that he had some personal problems regarding the league. The source said nobody on the club had any suspicions of Roberts having a drug problem. Roberts has not had any previous issues with the league because of drugs.
Philadelphia placed Roberts on the injured list on Monday, which meant he would have had to miss at least five games. Brown said he put Roberts on the injured list because of back pain from a previous surgery and that the results of the drug test, which he said he found out about today, had nothing to do with his decision.