CC Sabathia could possibly face additional drug screening for marijuana after he posted a photograph on his Instagram account showing him standing on the balcony of his hotel room in Atlanta over the weekend smoking what appeared to be either a small, brown cigar, cigarette — or a joint.
The photograph arrived in wife Amber Sabathia’s email account Saturday morning, according to the Yankees pitcher, accompanied by a for sale sign.
Sabathia told reporters Saturday before the Yankees played the Braves that he was smoking a small cigar, not pot, and had declined to negotiate with the seller of the photo.
“Somebody emailed Amber (his wife) this morning and said they had pictures of me doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing. I said, ‘I wasn’t doing anything I wasn’t supposed to be doing.’ So that’s why I put that picture out,” said Sabathia.
According to the New York Daily News, sources said the incident triggered interest from Major League Baseball, whose collectively bargained drug policy requires MLB’s drug treatment board to interview players suspected of using marijuana or other “drugs of abuse.”
If the treatment board determines there is indeed reasonable cause, the player is required to undergo drug testing within 24 hours.
The penalties for marijuana use are fairly minimal: Players are penalized for pot only if they fail to meet with the treatment board or the board determines that the player has refused to comply with a treatment program. They can also be subject to a series of fines, which according to the language of the drug program “shall be progressive and which shall not exceed $35,000 for any particular violation.”
The commissioner can impose discipline “without limitations” on players if he believes their marijuana use represents a threat to the safety of other players.