In his weekly ESPN The Magazine column this week, NFL commentator Howard Bryant argues that the NFL is in the position to “actually lead, to open a discussion about medicinal marijuana and about the culture of pain maintenance among its players.”
Instead, he says, they’re blowing it like a bad fourth-down, goal-line play with little time left on the clock.
“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,” Bryant writes.
In light of recent studies and publicity around the culture of pain around the NFL – so much so that men are left with severe brain injuries after retiring and live the lives of octogenarians by the time they are in their 40s – Bryant says the NFL should be talking openly about medical cannabis use. He points out that eight medical marijuana states have NFL teams, including California, which has three professional teams.
Like many people who eventually turn to medical cannabis, NFL athletes are often given a barrage of pharmaceutical drugs for pain. Bryant says that allowing players a non-addictive, non-lethal substance the morally responsible thing to do.
“…Because football players deal with pain management more acutely than athletes from other sports, a more virtuous and forward-thinking approach for the NFL would be to stimulate discussion of marijuana use,” Bryant argues. “This is a league in which the locker room culture still demands that athletes play through it all. And given that marijuana is a legitimate pain reliever — especially for the migraines that can be a byproduct of head trauma — and is far less dangerous and potentially addictive than, say, OxyContin, it is almost immoral to deny players the right to use it.”
Read the entire column over at ESPN.com