The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA)’s recently proposed taking a “less punitive” approach to players’ “recreational” cannabis use, DeMaurice Smith astutely points out that a player’s cannabis use should not simply be assumed to be for “recreational use.” In a recent survey, 42% of surveyed NFL players stated they knew a teammate who became a painkiller addict and 59% said they worry about the long-term effects of painkillers. When asked if fewer players would take painkillers if marijuana were an allowed substance, 61% said yes. In other words, cannabis would (and already does) make for an excellent substitute for prescription painkillers.
As such, the NFL needs to look at cannabis as an option for its players. A number of NFL players have spoken out about their own medicinal marijuana use and called for the NFL/NFLPA to remove marijuana from its list of banned substances. Eugene Monroe, whose website is dedicated to the issue, is a prime example of this. Another is former Chicago Bear, Jim McMahon, has talked about how medical marijuana helped him stop using the prescription narcotics he was given to cope with debilitating health problems stemming from his NFL career.
It just seems cannabis would make for a terrific option for players who participate in such a rough and injury prone sport.
What do you think? Would you be comfortable with NFL players using marijuana medicinally? Recreationally? Does trying to distinguish between medical and recreational cannabis make sense for the NFL? Does it ever make sense?