NFL Substance Abuse Policy Under Fire After Broncos Kicker Suspended for Drinking Beer at Home


Toke of the Town.

Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater is being suspended for four games this season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. And though Prater lives and plays in Colorado (where adult use of limited amounts of cannabis is legal) it wasn’t pot that’s got him benched – it’s booze.

According to ESPN and Denver Post sources, Prater is being suspended for having a few beers at his home while on vacation. That normally wouldn’t be an issue, but Prater has been in the leauges substance abuse program since being arrested for driving drunk in August of 2011 after a long, strange night at the strip club.
Since he’s already under scrutiny, the league says they are within their right to punish Prater. It was originally going to be a year suspension, but Prater’s attorney, Harvey Steinberg, says they were able to argue it down to four games.
“No one feels worse about this than Matt Prater,” Steinberg said to the Post. “He feels terribly for his teammates. It’s cost him personally, both professionally and financially. I wonder if we shouldn’t take a second look at the policy when only a couple beers were consumed at home while he was on vacation. Having said that, the NFL under the constraints of the policy couldn’t have treated us better.”
It is unclear how Prater’s home consumption of alcohol even made it to the NFL’s radar. Prater, for his part, seems to have owned up to his “mistake” and isn’t trying to draw any more attention to the matter – though this will no doubt put the league’s strict policy under fire again.
“I’ve made some mistakes,” Prater said. “I’m accepting full responsibility. I’ll learn from it and come back a better person. I want to apologize to my teammates, my coaches, the Broncos’ organization and the fans.”
Last year, several groups including the Marijuana Policy Project pushed the NFL to reexamine their policy on marijuana use for athletes as more and more states with NFL teams adopt medical cannabis laws.