Current National Football League regulations prevent even players living in states with legal medical marijuana from using the plant. Even though policies were loosened last year, consuming cannabis during the NFL season is still a violation of player contracts, and can lead to permanent termination and hefty fines both from the player’s team and from the organization at large.
While the NFL discourages use, many players have admitted to currently or previously using marijuana to help ease pain from the often debilitating, and sometimes permanent, injuries suffered during the course of their NFL career.
In recent months, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell made statements that if the medical community produced evidence that medical marijuana was able to help players cope with injuries sustained during the game or was prescribed legally, he would consider lifting the ban on medical marijuana for players in the league. Now, as more states approve medical marijuana for sports related injuries, players have called for Goodell to make good on his promise to lift the ban.
As players have pointed out, there is substantial evidence to suggest that medical marijuana eases the pain of injuries and over 70% of the American public supports marijuana reform in the United States.
Just as Jake Plummer came forward last December, three former NFL players, Marvin Washington, Brendon Ayanbadejo and Scott Fujita, made a public plea to Goodell, in a recent interview with Huffington Post, to reform the NFL’s marijuana policy.
The players call for reform in the NFL’s medical research funding policies to allocate additional money to marijuana research, as evidence suggests that marijuana may be useful in treating and even preventing brain damage while slowing the rate of onset of concussion-related symptoms.
As an organization whose livelihood depends on players putting themselves at risk for potentially life threatening injuries, Fujita, Washington and Ayanbadejo insist that the NFL’s anti-drug policies need updating to keep the players and game current.
As an organization that fosters role models for youth, the players believe that the NFL should not only take a stance on players’ uses of medical marijuana, but also widen the conversation about teenage marijuana use and education, as many players have influence on public opinion.
photo credit: cdn1