We hear about it all the time. Another NFL player suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. More often than not, it’s because the player tested positive for marijuana. Most people will argue that those players are pretty stupid to risk all of that money just to smoke some weed. And I tend to agree. I’ve dabbled in the wacky tobaccy but you better believe if I was risking that much money, I would be putting my bong away until my playing days were over. But just because I would adhere to the rules, does that necessarily make the rules right? I think it’s high time that the NFL joined the 21st century when it comes to its stance on marijuana and here’s why.
The tide is turning
The days of Reefer Madness are over. No longer is the ‘devil weed’ something that turns our sons and daughters into murderers and sex-crazed lunatics. Luckily, the early 20th century propaganda has been dispelled and disproven. Society has come to realize that marijuana isn’t as harmful as the powers that be have led us to believe. Since 1996, proposition 215 has given doctors in California the right to prescribe medical marijuana to their patients. Since then weed has hit the mainstream and society at large has adopted a more common sense attitude towards it.
There are now 23 states around the country that have legalized medical marijuana, and 3 states that have gone fully legal for recreational use. The country has begun to realize that the War on Drugs is a resounding failure and a drain on society. People have starting questioning why something that seems relatively harmless to the individual is being demonized by the government. When you look at the wide variety of legal harmful substances that people are allowed to consume, it just doesn’t make sense. It’s time for the NFL to get on the same page as the rest of the country and stop penalizing players for something that everyone is doing.
Not a PED
Maybe if weed had the potential to enhance performance, like say amphetamines, then I could understand the banning of it for players. But you won’t find anyone out there who thinks that ingesting weed makes you more athletic or provides any type of competitive advantage. I’m not saying that it is necessarily a disadvantage either, but there’s no performance based reason that players should not be able to enjoy marijuana like other responsible adults.
Better than booze
Let’s face it. Weed is pretty safe. You never hear about someone getting all hopped up on grass and getting into some bar fight. You don’t hear about people who smoked weed crashing their car into a building or causing some horrific multi-car accident. It’s much, much safer than alcohol. And the league has no problem with its players or patrons consuming alcohol. It just doesn’t make sense that the NFL should have such an anti-weed position, even if the team owners are a bunch of old lame people.
This is perhaps the strongest argument for why the NFL should change the way it looks at the herb. Playing football is very hard on your body and mind. The aches and pains associated with playing the game for a prolonged period of time are well known. Plus, we are finally getting a clearer picture of what the affects of repeated head trauma really are. The NFL’s answer to these kind of things has always been prescription medication, usually in the form of opioid-based pain killers. The problem is that not only are they very hard on the body, but they are highly addictive. Nobody wants to have to pop a handful of pills every morning with their cheerios if it can be avoided.
That’s where the weed comes in. Many retired players have admitted to using weed for medicinal purposes during their playing careers. Whether after games to recover from soreness and bruises or to help deal with the pain of concussions. The fact is that it makes them feel better and helps them avoid the negative effects of pain killers. It’s very well documented that marijuana can be used for a variety of medical purposes and that’s why we see a wave of states passing medical marijuana laws. It’s only a matter of time before the federal government changes their position, so why shouldn’t the NFL be ahead of the curve? Weed is an all natural medicine that eases the pain of players, so let them smoke a jazz cigarette every once in a while if it makes them feel better.
So come on NFL, get with the times. Let your players use marijuana, whether for medical or purely recreational purposes. The whole world is changing their views on weed as we begin to put the drug war behind us and exercise sensible drug policy that doesn’t criminalize something that’s less harmful than alcohol or tobacco. Your players deserve access to something that can ease their pain and maybe even keep them out of trouble.
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