|Former Major League Baseball player Dmitri Young’s McLean County Jail booking photo
Former Major League Baseball star Dmitri Young said he wanted to give fans an explanation of why he was carrying a small amount of cannabis in an Illinois airport Monday morning that led to misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
“Since retirement, I’ve been in a lot of serious pain,” the former Detroit Tigers star told Shawn Windsor of the Detroit Free Press
“From my quads to my back to anxiety from my mother’s death, it takes a toll,” Young said. “I didn’t want to use pills. I had already been to rehab before and knew I didn’t want to be on opiates. So, in talking with physicians, we decided this was the best way to go.”
“I used poor judgment,” Young said. “And I have to pay the consequences.”
Young, who now works as a bench coach with the Frontier League Oakland County Cruisers, said he was leaving his team in Bloomington, Illinois, for a three day visit with his children in Florida this week.
Young said he wanted to talk about his marijuana arrest because he was worried Tigers fans might think he was a “druggie” and that this would undercut his effort to restore his name in Michigan.
Young was released by the Tigers late in the 2006 season “after a series of legal and personal missteps,” the Free Press reports. During his MLB career, he played for the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers and Washington Nationals.
“I felt like I owed the city an explanation,” Young said.
Worried about a news story linking his name with “illegal drugs” and “arrest,” Young wanted to clarify what had happened.
“So it dies,” he said. “People are quick to pass judgment and say, ‘Oh, there he is messing up again.'”
Young, 36, said he is not a recreational drug user.
He said he told the team’s president, Rob Hilliard, that he smoked marijuana to alleviate aches and pains from his playing days, and from his Type 2 diabetes.
Young said he was carrying an amount that would last him while he was on vacation for a week in Florida.
“While we believe Dmitri could have exercised better judgment in this situation, we have been speaking with his physician and are beginning to have a clearer understanding of the circumstances surrounding his health,” Hilliard said. “What we are certain about is Dmitri’s positive impact on players, their approach to the game and their commitment to competing.”
Young said the incident would nbot hurt his quest to help the team and rebuild his baseball life.
“This is not going to deter from what I’m here to do,” he said.
According to Young, he put the marijuana in his checked baggage and the authorities found it as the bag made its way through the security system.
Young said he was detained about an hour, paid $100 bond and caught a later flight to Ft. Lauderdale.
He said that despite his doctors’ approval, he used “poor judgment” and doesn’t think he is above the law.
“The bottom line is: It’s illegal,” Young said.
Young faces an August 18 hearing in Bloomington, Illinois.