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John Collins apologizes, plans to appeal 25-game suspension

John Collins, Hawks

Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins issued an apology to his team, the franchise, and the fans after being hit with a 25-game suspension after testing positive for Growth Hormone Releasing Peptides 2 (GHRP-2), which the league announced on Tuesday — also planning to appeal his suspension.

“First I want to apologize to my teammates, the Hawks organization, our fans, partners and community as a whole for this situation,” Collins said in a statement to ESPN. “I understand the impact this matter has on what we are trying to achieve together this season, and I am incredibly frustrated and disappointed in myself for putting all [of] us in this position. I have always been incredibly careful about what I put in my body, but I took a supplement, which unbeknownst to me, had been contaminated with an illegal component. I plan to appeal my suspension in arbitration so I can get back on the court as soon as possible and continue to contribute to our 2019-20 campaign.”

Collins’ best argument would be to claim his innocence, but if precedent is any indication — neither Brooklyn Nets’ Wilson Chandler nor Phoenix Suns’ Deandre Ayton have seen their penalties reduced by the league.

Chandler received his 25-game ban on Aug. 29 for testing positive for Ipamorelin, while Ayton received his on Oct. 24 for testing positive for a diuretic.

Collins is one of the Hawks’ cornerstone players along with Trae Young, averaging 17.0 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks through five games in the young season.