A NFL GM recently made the public proclamation that roughly 30-40% of players in this year’s draft class partake of the green ganja. The GM also opined that this year’s class was pretty much in line with the rest of the NFL when it comes to pot. This is of course big news, especially considering the illegality of marijuana when it comes to playing in the NFL. But should it be such a big deal?
Can anyone really claim that marijuana is a performance-enhancing drug? To be sure, it has some pain-relieving properties, but so do many of the drugs NFL players take — drugs specifically administered to them by their team trainer. No one claims that a shot of cortisone in someone’s knee is a performance-enhancer, but somehow a player relaxing at home with a few bong rips or a cannabis cookie is a major problem.
Of course the NFL takes its lead from the U.S. federal government, which says marijuana is bad, mmkay? As the reigns loosen nationwide on cannabis prohibition, there has been some talk of the NFL changing its stance, and there has even been some slight advancement in that direction. But until marijuana is treated just like alcohol by the powers that be in the NFL, the policy is pointlessly destructive.
Many players have said that cannabis helps them with their pain and with the consequences of multiple concussions (concussions being a very common injury in the NFL). But unfortunately major sports are slow to change — just look at the Major League Baseball steroid issue. How many more players will the NFL feel the need to make an example of when it comes to weed?
Cannabis becomes more mainstream every day. It’s time that organizations like the NFL do what they can to keep up with changing times.