WNBA Dismisses Mapp for Drug Policy Violation

Times Staff Writer

Forward Rhonda Mapp of the Sparks has been dismissed from the WNBA and must serve a two-year suspension for violating the league’s drug policy, according to a two-sentence statement issued Friday by the league’s New York office.

Mapp, 33, is the first player the league has ousted for a drug policy violation. She had rejoined the Sparks this season after sitting out last year because of a contract dispute. She appeared in 24 games, four of them starts, averaging 2.6 points and 2.8 rebounds. She came to Los Angeles in 2000, when the Sparks traded Allison Feaster and Clarisse Machanguana to Charlotte for Mapp and E.C. Hill.

Mapp, a six-year veteran who played on the Sparks’ 2001 league championship team, was not at Staples Center Thursday for the game against Minnesota, a league discipline, it was announced after the game. WNBA officials, citing confidentiality, would not comment on how Mapp had violated the drug policy, or when she was tested.


Sources close to the situation said Mapp had tested positive for a controlled substance. She can apply to be reinstated after serving the suspension.

According to the NBA and National Basketball Player’s Assn. anti-drug program, which the WNBA uses as its model, a veteran player can be tested once during training camp. If a player reports during the season or with fewer than 15 days remaining in training camp, she can be tested once during the first 15 days after reporting. All tests are at the discretion of the league and without prior notice to the player.

If the league or players’ union receives information that provides reasonable belief of a player’s use, possession or distribution of a prohibited substance, either organization can request a hearing with the other and an independent expert within 24 hours of receiving the information. If the expert decides reasonable causes exist, testing can be authorized. The league then arranges for testing of the player four times during the next six weeks.

If a player tests positive for amphetamine, cocaine, LSD, opiates or PCP, the player will be dismissed from the league. Mapp reported to the Sparks May 9, seven days after they had opened training camp. Neither Mapp nor her agent, Bruce Levy, could be reached for comment Friday.

Spark General Manager Penny Toler also was unavailable Friday. She and other team officials were in meetings to determine if they could replace Mapp on the roster.