In a recent interview with ESPN, Jake Plummer and Mark Brunell sat down to share their unique personal perspectives on marijuana use in the NFL and the policy that goes along with it. The two retired Pro-Bowlers have starkly contrasting views on the NFL’s marijuana policy. Plummer says, “I think of it [marijuana] as a medicine more than a drug.”
The NFL recently changed their testing guidelines for marijuana, raising the threshold for a possible test from 15 ng/mL to 35 ng/mL. Those changes could mean that NFL players could slip by a test when they’ve consumed marijuana within the last week. The NFL decided to raise these testing limits because the players union raised concerns over showing false positives due to second hand smoke.
Not only has the NFL relaxed their testing standards, they do not require mandatory testing throughout the regular season. All NFL players must still submit to one test in the three months prior to the start of the NFL season, but are not tested again during the season unless they fail their first test.
Plummer thinks the league is showing compassion by relaxing their testing policies. He says that he used marijuana for pain relief during his time in the NFL and post-retirement to treat his lingering ailments. He mentions the use of marijuana edibles as well as medicated transdermal patches as effective alternatives to smoking marijuana. Plummer said that he used marijuana occasionally before retiring in 2006, but now uses it frequently for pain relief.
One of Plummer’s former tight-ends, Nate Jackson also says that he used cannabis during his NFL career. Among his injuries while in the league were two severe muscle tears and a broken leg. Jackson said, “When I was recovering from an injury I found that marijuana was good.” He says that he didn’t like the pain pills that are commonly prescribed and the way that they made him feel.
Plummer and Jackson both estimate that half of NFL players use marijuana, while Brunell estimates around 75%. Describing marijuana the policy in the NFL Brunell said, “We don’t want you to do that. We don’t want it to have a place in the NFL, but it’s really not that bad.”
Mark Brunell gave a completely different perspective on the issue. Brunell retired from the Jets in 2011 and is now a high school coach in Jacksonville, Florida. He condemns the use of marijuana in the NFL, even for medicinal conditions and pain management. Brunell says, “I think most guys just want a reason and an excuse to use marijuana.”
Nate Jackson speaks toward a stark contradiction saying, “Marijuana is allowing them [the players] to live this life a little more comfortably. Football is the dangerous thing here. Football is the thing that’s maiming people, not marijuana.”
“There are more ways to use it, you’re not going to be a drug addict, you don’t need to go to treatment. You actually feel better.”
See the complete interview: ESPN.com
Detroit Lions defensive tackle CJ Mosley was allegedly caught using marijuana in his downtown London hotel room near Hyde Park this weekend when a disconnected smoke alarm tipped off hotel staff.
The Lions were in London, mathcing up with the Falcons as part of the NFL’s International Series games. After leaving the Pennyhill Hotel complex in suburban Bagshot on Friday, they relocated to London’s Intercontinental Hotel where the incident took place. Lions’ coach Jim Caldwell has reportedly suspended Mosley for two weeks. Officially, the Lions cited “conduct detrimental to the team” as the reason for Mosley’s suspension. Caldwell remarked:
“I think the statement stands on its own. If you take a look at it, read through it and kind of glean from it what you’d like. But we said two weeks and in two weeks, he’ll return.”
Mosley and the NFL Player’s Association filed a grievance against the suspension, aiming to protect Mosley from missing out on the two weeks of pay he could lose during the suspension.
10. Rasheed Wallace
Rasheed Wallace has had quite the NBA career with 15+ seasons, 4 all star games, one championship, and the NBA’s all time leader in technical fouls. Sheed was instrumental in the ‘Jail-Blazers’ nickname given to the Portland Trailblazers after he and Damon Stoudamire were pull over in Portland while smoking.
photo credit: the majors
9. Tim Lincecum
After seeing this picture it’s pretty obvious why Tim Lincecum is on the list. The two time Cy Young winner and bay area favorite has been cited in his home state of Washington (where it’s legal now) for marijuana possession.
photo credit: blogspot
8. Dock Ellis
Famous for pitching a no-hitter on LSD, Dock Ellis was a regular marijuana user during his playing days. Now-a-days the Dock serves as a drug counselor to youth living in poverty.
photo credit: HighTimes
7. Randy Moss
Arguably one of the best wide receivers of all time, Randy Moss has never shied away from his love for the green. While playing for the Oakland Raiders in 2005, Moss told HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel that he “had been smoking since he entered the league,” at that point he had been in the league for 7 years.
photo credit: CBS Sports
6. Michael Vick
Before Michael Vick became a prolific NFL quarterback and subsequently a convicted dog murderer and fighting ring leader, Vick was known to be pretty green friendly. In fact, while awaiting trial for the dog related crimes Vick failed 2 drug tests for marijuana. It’s worth noting Vick has since gone through a complete 180 degree transformation since being released from prison.
photo credit: Philly.com
5. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Before Arnold was Kindergarten Cop or the Governor of Cali-for-nee-ya, he was pumping iron and good friends with mary jane. The picture of Arnold smoking a joint on the set of Pumping Iron (1977) in South America during the apartheid has become a near iconic image for Terminator.
photo credit: SF Citizen
4. Bill Walton
Before becoming the worst NBA commentator in broadcasting history, Bill Walton was sporting dead head tee’s and opting for alternative medicine treatments for his injuries. Although Walton has never been arrested or documented using marijuana, we think the odds are verrry good.
photo credit: flickr
3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
The all time leading points leader in the NBA and one of the top 3 players of all time is a proud medical marijuana patient in California. Kareem is on record stating how the green helps him with his migraines with no side effects. Not known to many, Abdul-Jabbar has been arrested on two different occasions for marijuana related offenses.
photo credit: Shavar Ross
2. Michael Phelps
The most decorated Olympian of all time with 22 total medals, (18 of them gold) was caught at a party on South Carolina University choking on a bong. Unfortunately, Phelps has since gotten two DUI’s and recently entered a rehabilitation facility.
photo credit: jdlasica
1. Ricky Williams
No athlete has been more recognized or associated with marijuana than Ricky Williams. The former Heisman Trophy winner was suspended multiple times for testing positive during his staggered NFL (and CFL) career. Ricky eventually attended a holistic medicine school in California to further his knowledge and practice in alternative medicine.
photo credit: BleacherReport
According to a recent survey conducted by ESPN.com’s NFL Nation, most NFL players and President Barack Obama have something quite interesting in common, they both agree that marijuana is probably no more dangerous than alcohol.
Americans will remember that President Obama first openly expressed that sentiment during an interview that was published in The New Yorker in January of this year. That comment came on the heels of several states, including Washington and Colorado, passing state laws that legalized or decriminalized the use of pot. The survey was conducted amongst 82 current NFL players, of which 75 percent came to same conclusion as the President.
While this may be reflective of current attitudes in the NFL, the fact remains that the league has zero-tolerance for players who test positive for traces of marijuana. Under the current rules based on the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement and contract, players who test positive for marijuana on a first offense are referred to the league’s substance abuse program.
A second offense brings a mandatory four-game suspension, with any subsequent offenses resulting in more severe penalties (on a graduating scale) with a lifetime ban being the most severe penalty available to the commissioner.
It is clear that attitudes towards marijuana use are changing in the American mainstream. As a result of this, there are rumblings around the league that the current drug policy may be revisited when the next collective bargaining session is convened. In order to bring about any change to the current rules, both the NFL Player’s Union and league owners will have to reach an agreement. At this point it is not clear how strong of a position the league will take on this issue.
When asked about any recent discussions related to the marijuana issue, league spokesman Greg Aiello only stated “We and the union are guided by the recommendations of our media advisers to the program.”
Any future discussions regarding controversial issues between the players and owners are sure to draw extra scrutiny from fans and the press. The league has been under a lot of pressure regarding leagues rules and the administration of those rules. Josh Gordon, wide-receiver for the Cleveland Browns, is currently serving a 10-game suspension for violation of the drug policy (marijuana related), a ruling that took a while to come down.
The league is also dealing with a previous week of terrible decisions compliments of Ray Rice’s (running-back for Baltimore Ravens) domestic violence case and Adrian Peterson’s child abuse debacle. League Commissioner Roger Goodell, who until recent past was the NFL’s golden boy has been asked to step down multiple times (by large press outlets) because of his handling of a wide range of NFL disciplinary situations. Most notably, a 6 game suspension and 500k fine for a DUI and prescription pills for Colts owner Jim Irsay versus a whole season suspension for Brown’s wide receiver Josh Gordon, albeit he had multiple positive tests/
Regardless of what has happened in the past, it is clear that the next Collective Bargaining Agreement will need to clarify and establish clear guidelines for the penalties related to any violations of the league’s rules on marijuana and other prevalent substances.