Another Football Great Gets Suspended for Weed

The NFL's Pot Problem

Baltimore Raven’s tight end Darren Waller was just suspended for at least a year, making him the fourth NFL player this off-season to be shut out for a year, all for substance-abuse violations, all believed to be weed-related.

Waller was suspended without pay after violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy for the second time in as many seasons, the league announced Friday, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Waller, 24, was banned for the first four games of last season last July. He later admitted that he had tested positive for marijuana use.

Several days before the Waller suspension, ESPN reported that former Bill and Steeler Karlos Williams received a one-year ban. Less than two weeks ago, Brown and Steeler Justin Gilbert got the same. Just after the last regular season ended, it was the Cowboys’ Randy Gregory.

These four are added to the list that already includes Josh Gordon, Rolando McClain and Sammie Lee Hill—a list from which the Steelers’ Martavis Bryant just returned.

The Baltimore Ravens, by the way, lead the way in suspensions. Waller’s marks the Ravens’ 13th substance-related suspension since 2010, noted ESPN.

What happens when the NFL suspends so many players that the league starts to lose its appeal? Crazy thought, right?

But, if one stops to think about it, some of the world’s greatest athletes have been sidelined for weed, the vast majority of them football players.

The better question is when will the NFL get with the program and stop making players choose between the game they love and their own long-term health and safety concerns?

Football being the sport with debilitating, often chronic pain at its foundation, Sporting News poses questions that many have been asking for years.

Now that more than half the country has voted to legalize medical marijuana and polls show that national support for MMJ is higher than ever, why can’t football players use it for the conditions that plague them?

Why are players still getting kicked out for an entire year? Or indefinitely?

Last year the NFL suspended Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson for using MMJ to treat his Crohn’s disease. If Henderson fails one more drug test, he could be banned from the league for life.

Why is the NFL making these ill-advised decisions to bench their players over weed and why during the off-season?

If throwing a player out for a year is supposed to be a deterrent, it’s not working—MMJ use is only going up.

As players turn to cannabis for pain, concussion relief or to treat illnesses like Crohn’s, even when it could result in suspension, doesn’t that beg a few questions about the NFL’s ineffective policies on marijuana use?

Shouldn’t the NFL stand behind its own players and change its outdated, unfair and totally erroneous policies about the effectiveness of medical marijuana?

If they don’t, they are planning their own demise.

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