Other stories filed under Op-ed
The NFL must accept marijuana use amongst its athletes
June 26, 2014
The NFL is certainly dealing with an image crisis, and it is definitely taking a toll on how players and fans are viewing marijuana use in a sport that is so closely tied to American life and has millions of fans.
The league makes billions of dollars off of the athleticism of young men, and it seems as if the players keep bringing in the money, the league allows the players to get away with multiple legal issues.
I can see why most football athletes would use marijuana to help with their physical pain, stress, and anxiety.
But this makes a difficult decision for the mothers and fathers of the young children who are fans of these players and look up to these players as role models.
Late last year, NFL superstar Dwayne Bowe of the Kansas City Chiefs was pulled over for speeding. While the cop approached the car, he smelled marijuana, searched the car, and found over 10 grams of marijuana in containers labeled “Fire 0.6, and Bubba Kush.”
This resulted in Bowe getting arrested for marijuana possession but later receiving bail. This all happened the week of the Chiefs’ biggest game against their division rival the Denver Broncos.
Even with his arrest, Bowe participated in the Sunday matchup, which started a debate about how the league rules coincide with the U.S. laws. How could this man who was just charged with drug possession, play in one of the biggest games of the year only days later?
It seemed that the NFL just brushed this issue off until the game was over Sunday night, and finally made a comment on the arrest.
The NFL culture remains unchanged from 30 years ago, but the league is finding out that the world has changed with the view on marijuana use.
There are more and more NFL players receiving suspensions for frequent failed drug-abuse tests.
A reason why this is happening is because football is one of the most violent and brutal sports.
With NFL’s main focus on player safety with the recent collective-bargaining agreement that includes new rules about how much contact is allowed in practice.
Players experience a serious amount of pain and it eventually takes a toll on their body. Always dealing with pain and injuries from the rough contact of hitting another person at full speed for a living.
There is really no such thing as a pain-free NFL player. This is why painkilling shots and pills have been a part of the game’s culture.
According to former NFL lineman Lomas Brown who is now an ESPN analyst, more than 50 percent of NFL athletes say they use marijuana. They probably use it to deal with the pain that they endure from games, which is a better alternative then taking painkillers that are highly addictive.
According to Sam Mellinger, writer for the Kansas City Star, “In one corner (we could call it the green corner) is a number of players who say marijuana has a medical purpose similar to painkillers, only without as much risk, as well as a needed stress reducer.”
There seems to be a growing acceptance in sports. The World Anti-Doping Agency, which “promotes, coordinates and monitors the fight against doping in sport in all its forms,” increased its acceptable level of THC to better distinguish recreational users from cheaters.
Mellinger stated that, “Texans owner, Bob McNair, would never allow a persistent user of drugs on his team, adding, “I’m not talking about someone who smoked marijuana.”
Some owners of NFL organizations know even before they make their picks in the NFL draft that that certain players smoke marijuana. Most college athletes inform teams that they use marijuana during the NFL combine, according to a report from the NFL.
In the 2012 season, three players for the Detroit Lions were charged with marijuana possession, and failed the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Former Lions player Lomas Brown made headlines by saying, “at least 50 percent of NFL players probably smoke marijuana.”
About 70 percent of prospects at the draft combined admitted to using the drug, according to an ESPN survey, and football players are the most frequent marijuana users in college sports, according to an NCAA report.”
The NFL has a big problem because these men are representing this league as a business and employees. If your employees keep getting suspended for drug abuse, how would that effect the people they influence.
I see that marijuana is growing in acceptance in America with the legalization in Colorado and Washington, but is it accepted in America’s Game?
The NFL either has to allow this drug for players who only use for pain-free purposes and not recreational or they have to cracked down on this acceptance and use of marijuana in the league.
I feel that the NFL should just accept marijuana for medical reasons only. Allow the players to use marijuana to deal with their pain and anxiety, rather than have players use vicodin or other painkillers that are offered.