Professional Sports Need to Continue to Say Yes to Cannabis

A lot has happened in the last week in regards to the overlapping of professional sports and the marijuana scene. One week ago Major League Baseball (MLB) removed marijuana from the “drugs of abuse” list, and added opiates, cocaine, fentanyl, and synthetic THC.

The MLB took huge steps in the right direction with this decision. Some people are saying that the drug of abuse list was altered in lieu of the 27 year old Los Angeles Angels’ pitcher Tyler Skaggs death earlier this summer. His autopsy found high levels of opiates and fentanyl present. Its also noted that his death was an accident.

Earlier this week Josh Gordon of the Seattle Seahawks got suspended indefinitely for violating the leagues policies on performance enhancing drugs/ drugs of abuse. As soon as the decision was made by the NFL the Seahawks had to cut ties with him and aren’t allowed to be any sort of communication. Radio hosts on 710 ESPN Seattle throughout the week have been commenting on the story with some interesting theories.

Most are revolving around the truth of the fact that Josh Gordon has agreed to be in a profession that doesn’t allow marijuana use and he has continued to use it. This creates the idea that a lot of the personalities on 710 ESPN Seattle have been touching on regarding this topic, addiction, and that they hope Gordon gets the help he needs.

This bodes the question, Can one be addicted to marjiuana? I’ve thrown this question around in my head a lot over the years. I think that an addiction is more of a case by case basis especially when talking about marijuana. I think if someone is taking steps backward in life financially, professionally, or socially to use marijuana than they may have and addiction and should seek help.

NFL players agree to follow a strict set of rules and in doing so the majority eventually get paid millions of dollars. Not smoking marijuana is one of those rules and for Josh Gordon he has had many opportunities to not test positive and has failed. Josh Gordon has let down many fans, coaches, and organizations. He has been been suspended five times since 2013 for some sort of substance abuse. In Josh Gordon’s case he definitely needs to seek some help and if he wants to continue playing in today’s NFL he needs to save the marijuana for retirement.

According to an article by Brandon Gustafson on 710 Sports Russell Wilson had talked with Josh Gordon and had this to say, “He said, ‘This is the place I want to be and the place that has helped change my life a little bit and I’m getting better,’” Wilson recalled Gordon saying. “You hope that he can come back to us and play with us, but more importantly it’s about him, it’s about his soul, his life, it’s about all the things that we all have to go through and overcome.”

Even though Gordon is suspended indefinitely, there is always a chance that he appeals the process, seeks help and or probation, and can come back to Seattle or somewhere else, given the NFL allows it.

And to close ill let a little bit of my inner Seahawks fan out. If the NFL could pull their heads out and learn a little from their older cousin MLB, Seattle would be better off in their post season run with a piece like Josh Gordon on our side.

In all seriousness, I think the future of the NFL and their players would be better off if they didn’t get reprimanded for having THC in their system. Being able to seek relief through marijuana could help the longevity of the players and the league in a number of ways.

NFL, NHL, MLS, (insert any other organizations Im forgetting), YOU NEED TO LEGALIZE CANNABIS!

NFL’s stance on Cannabis: No

Football season is finally upon us, for all of us die hard fans our time to rejoice is now! Personally, the nostalgia and joy I get from the NFL season, rivals that of a Christmas morning for your average child. Between the fantasy football, the pig skin pick ‘em leagues, or just watching my Hawks battle it out every week, I freaking love the NFL. Some may call that a little bit immature and you know… I’m okay with that.

What I’m NOT okay with is the stance that the NFL has repeatedly taken on the topic of cannabis. Year after year the NFL is forced to take stances on issues that come up in the media’s spotlight.

Whether it’s the league ambivalently taking sides on social issues like what Kaepernick was kneeling during the national anthem for, or the league straight up enforcing penalties on players for actions in their personal lives.

With Kaepernick, teams around the league boycotted him as a player and wouldn’t roster him even though he was good enough and better than many players around the league. They didn’t want him to use the NFL stage as an outlet for the social issues he was advocating.

On account of this being a weed blog I’ll pump the brakes and get back to my element… cannabis. The NFL in the past, has been notorious for enforcing harsher penalties to players that test positive for marijuana, then athletes who have committed violent crimes.

Martellus Bennett, a retired NFL player, recently went on a Bleacher Report podcast and said that he thinks 89 percent of active NFL players smoke weed.

“There are times of the year where your body just hurts so bad,” Bennett said. “You don’t want to be popping pills all the time. There are anti-inflammatory drugs you take so long that they start to eat at your liver, kidneys and things like that. A human made that. God made weed.”

Andrew Brandt, writer for Sports Illustrated had this to say about the NFL and cannabis testing, “It is not a drug test; it is an intelligence test. Players who have not previously tested positive are only tested once a year, and only during a four-month offseason window that begins on April 20 (yes, 4/20, maybe the NFL does have a sense of humor) and ends on August 9.”

Nate Jackson, another retired NFL player, was interviewed on Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel and said that he thinks 50% of players in the NFL locker room smoke weed. When asked on his personal consumption of cannabis in the NFL, Jackson said, “I weeded as needed.” He then went on to say how viable cannabis has been to him as a medical alternative to painkillers.

I may disagree with the league in the stance they take on various issues but I’m not going to lie, they have a goddamn awesome product and I subscribe to it religiously. But hey at least I stream my gameday bootleg-style on the internet.

Happy first week of football ya’ll, GO HAWKS!!!