In a January interview with The New Yorker magazine, President Obama now famously stated, “As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”
Since that interview, ESPN sent a reporter into NFL locker rooms across the league asking 100 professional football players whether or not they agree with President Obama’s comments. The players’ replies are not very surprising, but unfortunately, neither is the NFL’s reaction to just blow it off.
Of the 100 players that were anonymously polled, 82 of them elected to weigh in on the president’s take on weed. Of those 82 who were willing to answer, 75% of them said that they agree with President Obama that marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol.
Currently, cannabis use is totally banned in the NFL. The league sees no medicinal value to the plant, and just one positive test lands players in a league-mandated drug rehab program. In its entirety, the current NFL drug policy spans 32 pages.
At the end of July, we reported that Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon’s last line of defense when facing possible suspension due to another failed drug test was his claim that he only failed because of second-hand pot smoke.
This week the Pro Bowl caliber deep threat was told that his appeal was denied and that he will not see a single snap in the 2014 NFL season. A full year of his career lost because the league is so far behind society on the issue of cannabis use.
You’d think that they may have gotten the message when last year’s two Super Bowl teams hailed from states where every adult fan in attendance is allowed to smoke some weed, but the players on the field could lose their job over it.
The league, however, has some political cover in the matter. They are quick to march out a January poll conducted by HBO’s Real Time Sports in concordance with Marist College that showed that 6 out of every 10 sports fans surveyed said that marijuana should be completely banned from all professional sports. So Frisbee Golf should be safe…for now.
Josh Gordon being benched for a year over some weed while Ray Rice misses two games after physically abusing his fiancee may seem a bit ridiculous, but what the league is doing to Matt Prater of the Denver Broncos may take the cake.
Prater was charged with a DUI in 2011 which landed him under the watchful eye of the NFL’s substance abuse program. Since then, the 30-year-old kicker has become one of the top players in the league at his position. Last season he made 25 out of 26 field goal attempts for the Broncos.
But as we reported on Monday, he will miss the first four games of this season due to suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy again. It wasn’t another DUI, but quite literally a few beers in the comfort of his own home during the offseason that got Prater busted.
Reportedly, the league wanted to suspend him for a full year as well, but they instead “settled” for “just” four games.
ESPN has reported that the league is hinting towards reforming its drug policies, specifically in regard to weed.
They say they will raise the allowable threshold for THC in the blood stream – a threshold currently lower than that of the U.S. Armed Forces.
They say that they plan to lower the penalties for those who are still in violation.
In the meantime, the closest that Josh Gordon can hope to come to the Super Bowl this season is watching it from home as millions of dollars of alcohol-related halftime commercials splash across the screen.