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Hudler Wants Second Chance

September 17, 2003|Larry Stewart | Times Staff Writer

Angel TV announcer Rex Hudler, commenting at length for the first time since his arrest on drug charges in Kansas City on Aug. 31, said Tuesday he has been an occasional user of marijuana.

"I want to be accountable, I want to stand up for my wrongdoing," Hudler said. "I used marijuana very infrequently and only to help me sleep, since I'm so high-wired.

"I was ashamed for doing it, and I never did it in public. I was always by myself. I knew it was wrong."

If Hudler completes six months of drug counseling, which he will do in Orange County, and also does 15 hours of community service in Kansas City, the arrest will be expunged from his record, a Kansas City court ruled Friday.

Hudler was charged with marijuana possession and possession of a marijuana pipe after his suitcase was X-rayed at the Kansas City International Airport before his flight home from a three-game series between the Angels and Royals.

He was subsequently suspended indefinitely by the Angels. Owner Arte Moreno said Monday a decision on Hudler's future with the team would made after the season.

"I hope they give me a second chance," Hudler said. "I think I deserve a second chance. Hopefully, they see me as their broadcaster of the future."

Tim Mead, the Angels' vice president of communications, said Tuesday that the court decision in Kansas City was "encouraging news."

"It's time to look forward," he said.

Hudler made an appearance Tuesday at a charity luncheon in Anaheim, where former Angel pitcher Jim Abbott was honored. With team officials in attendance, Hudler was introduced as an Angel broadcaster. He then introduced Abbott.

The charity, Amigos de los Ninos, presented Hudler with a $10,000 grant for the foundation he and he wife have, Team Up for Down Syndrome.

One of their four children, Cade, 6, has Down syndrome.

Hudler spoke to The Times later in the afternoon.

He said he has not used marijuana since being arrested and believes he will never use it again, even without the counseling. But, he said, "I'm looking forward to my six months of substance-abuse counseling and educating myself.

"I will grow from this experience and I hope I can help other people who have experienced the pain of having their skeleton exposed to the world."

Hudler said he is also looking forward to his community service and that he and Jennifer plan to use the time to spread the awareness of Down syndrome in Kansas City.

"Faith, family and friends have carried me through this," Hudler said.

He said his wife was aware of his occasional marijuana use but he kept it a secret from everyone else.

He said he has gotten calls of encouragement from hundreds of friends, including players and former players and other broadcasters.

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