USNA player’s failed test causes ‘uproar’ Navy Times By Philip Ewing Wednesday Jan 27, 2010 A Naval Academy football player is being permitted to continue as a midshipman even after testing positive for drug use, according to multiple sources and Web sites that have sprung up to criticize the decision. According to the sources with knowledge of the situation, the player smoked a cigar packed with a mixture of pot and tobacco — also known as a “blunt” — deeply enough for the drug to show up on a random urinalysis test performed in December. But he told Naval Academy leaders he didn’t know what he was smoking was marijuana and is being permitted to continue at Annapolis, the sources said. Naval Academy spokesman Cmdr. Joe Carpenter said he could not comment about disciplinary matters involving midshipmen because of privacy regulations. However, in a written statement, he made clear that the letter of the law states that a sailor or mid must know he’s taking an illegal drug to run afoul of the standards: “The Navy and Naval Academy have a ‘zero tolerance policy’ in regards to drug use, which means that any service member who is suspected of drug use will be administratively processed for separation,” Carpenter said. “This does not mean that there is a policy of mandatory separation — only that the service member be processed for separation. However, the Navy’s illegal drug policy requires the commander to ascertain if a service member knowingly consumed an illegal drug. This aspect is one of several issues that must be established for the commander to determine if the Navy’s drug use policy was violated by a service member.” The board that oversees discipline for drug offenses recommended that the football player be expelled as a result of his violation, but Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Jeffrey Fowler intervened and decided he should stay, according to multiple sources. People with knowledge of the situation also said the player already had three honor code violations before failing his drug test. “This kid should’ve been kicked out a long time ago by anyone’s standards — and now he gets away with a failed drug test? It’s ridiculous,” one person told Navy Times. It was the latest example of what critics have said is a culture of special privilege at the Naval Academy for its star athletes, who are said to escape punishment for the same transgressions that get their classmates ejected. Many midshipmen — including even other members of the football team, according to one source — are “in an uproar” over the situation.