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Marcus Williams banned from CBA after testing positive for marijuana

Shanxi Zhongyu’s Marcus Williams has been banned for six months from the Chinese Basketball Association after testing positive for marijuana.

He is the first player in the league’s 18-year history to test positive for drugs.

On his Sina Weibo account, Williams expressed regret for the incident and vowed to come back better from it: “To all the CBA fans, Shanxi fans, sponsors, as well as my coaches and players I sincerely apologize. I have let a lot of people down and I regret it more then anything. I understand everyone’s disappointment and I will do everything to improve and grow from this.

Williams, who had been the league’s leading scorer, was averaging 30.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists for the third-placed Brave Dragons.

The story, however, is not as simple as it seems. Though marijuana use is both illegal in China and in the CBA, both the language inside of Chinese media being used to describe the incident as well as the overall timing come as a bit odd. Media reports have used the word “stimulant” or “performance enhancing drug” (兴奋剂) when detailing Williams’ case, despite the fact that marijuana is not recognized anywhere on the planet as such. And that’s not the only thing that sticks out as strange, as Anthony Tao writes over at Beijing Cream:

Let’s be clear what we’re talking about here: pot. It’s not a performance enhancement drug, and it’s barely illegal in many parts of North America. But one case of it in the CBA and suddenly everyone’s all, We should conduct MORE tests, improve regulations. Why is this a bigger issue than, say, point-shaving, and shitty refereeing?

China Anti-doping Agency agreed that more tests needed in the basketball professional league.

“The truth is there were not many tests done in the basketball league,” said Zhao Jian, vice director of CHINADA, adding that a total of 12 tests were conducted by far this season.

Twelve tests. Total. And the league’s leading scorer on one of the most controversial teams in the league — Shanxi’s owner, “Boss Wang,” is the type to not care about upsetting others — just happens to get caught? Something seems a bit fishy.

This year marked his fourth season in China for the 26 year-old Williams, who has grown into one of the best and most respected players in the league. Revered around the league for being both a good player and a good teammate, he will be missed by both the team and fans of the league.

It was announced today that Williams will be replaced my former UCONN recruit, Nate Miles.

More on this from us later.

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