Is the NFL Getting Ready to Finally Unban Marijuana?
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the world’s top athletes have been using cannabis for decades now. It’s seen in almost every sport, from cricket to basketball to Olympic swimming, with athletes estimating as many as 80 to 90 percent of their contemporaries use marijuana regularly. They use it to relieve sore muscles, chronic pain, or just to unwind after a stressful game. Because of its wide range of uses, coupled with the fact that medical and recreational cannabis use is gradually becoming legalized in more and more states, the NFL’s hardline stance against marijuana as a banned substance is becoming more and more ridiculous.
An Inflexible Start
At a press conference regarding the NFL’s drug policy and possible adjustments to it earlier this year, Commissioner Roger Goodell was very clear about his reluctance to lift the marijuana ban anytime soon. He is quoted as saying, “we are not restricted obviously by the state laws. It’s an NFL policy and we believe it’s the correct policy, for now, in the best interest of our players and the long-term health of our players. I don’t foresee a change in that clearly in the short term but we’ll continue to be in touch with our medical personnel. If that changes, we’ll discuss it.” but now, with a little luck, it seems like that change is finally coming.
Athletes Speak Out
Though many active players have chosen to take a back seat on the issue out of fear for their careers, Ravens tackle Eugene Monroe has made it his mission to speak out. He has become one of the only athletes in the NFL to publicly call for the removal of marijuana from the league’s banned substances list. Why is he risking it all? Because he believes, like many researchers and medical professionals looking into the same issues, that marijuana use can be used to treat many of the injuries and chronic pain that go hand in hand with professional football, and even reduce the NFL’s well-known reliance on opioid painkillers.
The Beginning of the End?
Even though they seemed unwilling to change their minds in February, the tides seem to be changing now. Just this week, a pair of the NFL’s top medical professionals participated in a conference call with medical marijuana researchers to learn more about how cannabis use could potentially help their players. If they can just keep an open mind and listen to what the researchers have to say, we may see marijuana coming off the NFL’s list of banned substances very soon.
What do you think, will the NFL finally unban marijuana? And what effects would it have if they do?