When Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez and NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield both failed drug tests and were suspended last week — Ramirez for 50 games, Mayfield indefinitely — sports fans everywhere shared the same question.
What were they thinking?
“Manny being Manny” doesn’t begin to excuse missing a third of the season because he was taking a female fertility drug, and the idea of a stock-car driver being anything but sober behind the wheel is beyond frightening.
Both rank among the dumbest drug suspensions, earning a place in Tuesday’s Top Five:
5. Manny Ramirez, baseball, 2009 — There is no valid excuse for testing positive for human chorionic gonadotropin, unless Ramirez was trying to get pregnant. (HCG is most often taken by males to counteract the debilitating effects of steroid use on the body.)
4. Jose Theodore, hockey, 2006 — In pre-Olympic testing, Theodore failed a drug test and received a two-year international ban. The banned substance? The hair-loss drug Propecia, which Theodore had been taking to maintain his man mane.
3. Jeremy Mayfield, auto racing, 2009 — Even if it was an interaction between a prescription medicine and an over-the-counter medicine, as Mayfield claimed, anyone driving 200 mph should be a little better acquainted with their pharmacist.
2. Rafael Palmeiro, baseball, 2005 — March 17, Congressional testimony: “I have never used steroids. Period.” August 1: Major League Baseball suspends Palmeiro for 10 games after he tests positive for a banned substance.
1. Ricky Williams, football, 2007 — Williams was already under suspension when he failed an NFL drug test for the fourth time — three of them for marijuana use. Even Cheech and/or Chong had more sense than that.