A member of the sports community believes that with marijuana being legalized in a growing number of states, while gaining unprecedented public acceptance throughout the entire nation, that perhaps the time has come for the NFL to reconsider its ban on cannabis.
In a recent article published in ESPN magazine, senior writer Howard Bryant writes that the only way to truly appreciate the game of football is to witness the aftermath: players wrapped in blood and dirt disguised as athletic tape; showing up the next day for practice in an understated condition of battered and bruised.
“Pain is the singular constant of the NFL,” writes Bryant. “Maintenance of that pain is as vital to players as mastering the read-option; whether through cortisone, painkillers or drugs and alcohol, they have always self-medicated to heal from the game that breaks their bodies.”
However, NFL officials seem to be perfectly content with athletes risking addiction and death in the grips of hard liquor and prescription medication. Reports indicate that the league has no immediate plans to put the medical marijuana debate on the table, and “no player in the league has received an exemption to use pot for medicinal purposes.”
“So marijuana appears destined to join Sudafed in the gray area of sports: a legal substance that athletes are banned from using,” writes Bryant. “It doesn't have to be this way.”
Unfortunately, while it appears that the NFL has the opportunity to be a forerunner in the discussion of medical marijuana as pain management in sports, there is simply too much corporate politics surrounding the issue for the organization to give weed an honest day in court.
In the article, Bryant suggests that regardless if the issue involves the military, a construction worker, or someone that earns a living taking brutal hits for the Indianapolis Colts, the real concern is vastly superior to popular culture or politics -- it’s about pain.
“Marijuana is a legitimate pain reliever -- and is far less dangerous and potentially addictive than, say, OxyContin,” he writes. “It is almost immoral to deny players the right to use it.”
Bryant poignantly closes his article by arguing that the league has a responsibility to the well-being of the players battling out on the field. “If the NFL is serious about making the game both safer and better to play, it should be a leader on a difficult topic, to contribute to an honest dialogue and, more important, to make life a little more comfortable for its broken warriors.”
Mike Adams writes for Playboy's The Smoking Jacket, BroBible and Hustler Magazine. Follow him: @adamssoup; facebook.com/mikeadams73.