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NBA Suspends Kings’ Jason Williams

July 20, 2000

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ The NBA on Thursday suspended Jason Williams without pay for the first five games of next season, saying the Sacramento Kings’ guard had not complied with his treatment obligations under the league’s anti-drug program.

The NBA, the Kings and Williams would not say what exactly he had done or what drug was involved, citing the confidentiality of the NBA’s program.

``I accept the NBA’s decision. I must be responsible and accountable for my actions. The ball is in my court,″ Williams said in a statement released by the Kings.

Kings Vice President Geoff Petrie said it was ``a very unfortunate situation″ for everyone involved and the team would provide ``lifelines of support to Jason in his efforts to move beyond today’s events and continue to enjoy a productive NBA career.″

Williams was kicked off the University of Florida team in February 1998 for twice testing positive for marijuana.

NBA teams and the players association are prohibited from publicly disclosing information regarding the testing or treatment of any NBA player in the program, other than to announce suspensions or dismissals from the league.

The NBA added marijuana to its list of banned substances for the 1999-00 season.

NBA players who test positive for marijuana must undergo a mandatory counseling program. A second positive test brings a $15,000 fine, and any third or subsequent positive test results in a five-game suspension.

Penalties for such illegal narcotics as cocaine, heroin and PCP are much more severe. A positive drug test _ or a conviction or guilty plea to a crime involving one of those drugs _ can lead to disqualification from the NBA.

Williams, known for his spectacular passes, averaged 12.3 points and 7.3 assists last season, his second in the NBA.

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