NFL Nipping The Bud

February 1, 2013

With Super Bowl behind us, let's talk a little football. Actually, let's talk weed and football. Oh, that got the attention of some of you!  Bob McNair, owner of the Houston Texans, made a statement that "he would never have a persistent user of drugs” on his beloved Houston Texans, but he also said, “I’m not talking about someone who smoked marijuana.” McNair’s statement is more than tacit acceptance of something players have been doing for decades.  It’s related to weed coming out of the cannabis closet, at least in Colorado and Washington where the Broncos and the Seahawks play.

The NFL has made it clear that's just because pot is legal in these states, that excuse won't work in the NFL.  Cannabis remains on the banned substance list for players.  Not only that, the NFL has apparenly handed out a warning about the new laws and how they will not affect the NFL's position on usage of marijuana

An anonymous top player was quoted saying, “I’d rather use marijuana edibles or vaporizer to manage pain over prescription pain pills. Much less addictive and less harmful to kidneys and liver.” The problem is that even by the NFL’s own guidelines, they are not actually true. As Mike Florio on pointed out, “The policy prohibits only the ‘illegal use’ of marijuana. While players may not abuse legal substances like alcohol, legal drugs and alcohol may be used.”

Amidst lawsuits, suicides and documentaries, there is unprecedented attention being paid to the physical toll players have to endure, particularly concussion and brain injury. Medical marijuana is recommended by doctors for headaches, light-sensitivity, sleeplessness and loss of appetite—all of which happen to be symptoms associated with concussions. The idea that the league would deny a player their legal pain relief of choice seems barbaric. It’s their pain and their right to treat it however they see fit.

What do you think about the NFL's policy on marijuana?  Do you think it needs to be amended or do you think marijuana needs to be removed from the banned substance list all together?