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
The NFL is a billion dollar corporation and as such moves in the bureaucratic pace of a giant conglomerate. Eight years after the last policy change the National Football League is on the verge of approving a new set of drug rules. After much debate between the players union and the owners over issues including the severity and timing of punishment for driving under the influence and the rules governing amphetamines, both sides may have come to agreement.
The new rules may have Peyton Manning throwing to Wes Welker as soon as this coming Sunday. According to policy changes posted at the NFL Players Association website, blood testing for human growth hormone, revised restrictions on marijuana use, and stricter measures for anyone caught breaching the confidentiality built into the league’s drug-testing and arbitration procedures are parts of the new policy.
The Players Union detailed other changes including the League’s treatment of amphetamine use and the appointment of arbitrators in cases where a player challenges a finding. Areas of contention between the Union and the commissioner’s office’s include particulars on drunk driving; the commissioner’s office preferred a two-game suspension for a DUI in effect upon arrest and the Union fought for suspension only upon a conviction or plea agreement.
HGH Testing is a topic the league and the NFL Players Association first agreed to as part of their 2011 labor deal. HGH has been on the banned performance-enhancing substances since then but players until now have not been tested for it. The last three years has been spent ironing out the details of the testing procedure and the testing was kept on hold during negotiations between the NFL and the union. The testing of blood for HGH is a necessity, given the weakness of laboratory detection of the drug.
“We stood up and fought for what was right,” DeMaurice Smith, the union’s executive director, said in a written statement released by the NFLPA. “Twenty-five years ago it was NFL players that set out to make the game clean by asking for and collectively bargaining the first drug testing policy in professional sports. Today, this union and these player leaders have approved a policy that will serve the game well for generations of players to come.”
The change to the marijuana rules is the area where the NFL Players Union seemingly made the strongest gain. Marijuana, an increasingly legal drug across the country, may be popular among NFL players dealing with pain, would be most effected with the policy change. The changes include the altering of the definition of a positive test for marijuana, increasing the threshold for violations to 35 nanograms per milliliter (from the previous threshold of 15ng/ml) and the change in suspension structure.
As soon as the new policy is accepted by all parties and put into place the suspensions of Broncos receiver Wes Welker and several other players who are serving suspensions for drug offenses would be retroactively adjusted to the new rules.
That means Wes Welker could be back on the field this Sunday and repeat offender, Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon, previously issued a 16-game suspension for four violations of the policy on substances of abuse would now only serve a 10-game suspension. The NFL’s new drug policy may be a game-changer on and off the field.
photo credit: Matt McGee, WEBN-TV