While smoking a joint and streaming live on Instagram Thursday night, David Irving, defensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys, announced that he is quitting his job with the National Football League (NFL).
“Basically, guys, I quit. I know they’re talking about a suspension and all this other nonsense. I’m out of there. I’m not doing this sh** no more,” Irving said during the video stream on Instagram Live.
Irving completed the live stream in response to being suspended indefinitely by the Cowboys after his urine tested positive for the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) metabolite again. This is the third time he has been suspended in four years for failing to abide by the league’s outdated drug policy.
“Everyone questions my commitment to football,” he said. “But let’s it straight…I love football…However, I don’t love the NFL. The NFL isn’t football.”
Like many others, Irving has expressed many times that he believes NFL players should be permitted to medicate and treat injuries with cannabis instead of opioids if they choose. He supports the #plantsoverpills movement with the hashtag proudly displayed at the top of his Instagram page. He also repeated the statement multiple times during the nearly 20 minute Instagram Live video stream.
One thing was made clear during the stream: Irving thinks it’s bullsh**.
“We got this opioid thing going on and I’m prescribed all that bullsh**, and I just think it’s bullsh** that we’ve got to deal with that policy,” he said during the Instagram Live stream. “Everyone thinks it’s about smoking weed. It’s not about smoking weed. It’s much bigger than that. Much, much bigger. Hell, I have concussions every day. I get to see around the office how that f—s your head up and I feel it.”
“How many NBA players you see getting in trouble about this? How many coaches you see get in trouble about this? How many baseball players get in trouble? How many UFC players getting in trouble? How many actors? Not many, but you do see us football players,” Irving said.
While some are saying that Irving is quitting the NFL solely because of it’s cannabis policy, he insists that is not the only reason.
“If I’m going to be addicted to something, I’d rather it be marijuana, which is medical,” Irving continued. “I do not consider it a drug, rather than the Xanax bars or the hydro[codone] or the Seroquel and all that crazy sh** that they feed you. Like I said, it ain’t about smoking weed.”
While his point is valid and worth noting, some criticize the way Irving went about delivering the message. It is possible that it could have been more well received by a larger audience if he had expressed his views in a different manner.
Irving has joined the ranks of so many other NFL players, both active and retired, who have spoken out in support of using cannabis to treat symptoms caused by injuries sustained during games, like concussions, muscle tears, and broken bones.
NFL players can only be drug tested from April through August. If a player does not fail his drug test the first time, it will be another year before he can be tested again. This is how some players are able to medicate with cannabis during the season, assuming they are able to pass the drug test the first time.
At only 25 years old, Irving was a promising player in the NFL when he was able to stay on the field. He made four tackles and one sack in the only two games he played for the Cowboys during the most recent season. The season before that, Irving sacked the quarterback seven times in eight games. He was about to become a free agent, but apparently he no longer has any interest in exploring his options with the NFL.
What will Irving do next if he isn’t going to play football? He says he has big plans for the future, and that they will be revealed soon enough. Perhaps Irving will follow in the footsteps of other ex-professional-athletes like Tiki Barber and Ricky Williams by launching his own cannabis brand or investing in an existing cannabis business.
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.
Injuries are part of the job for players in the National Football League. Many players are injured every season. Often, those injuries result in severe pain, and for some it becomes chronic, life long suffering. The NFL is famous for prescribing pharmaceutical pain pills for such injuries, but many players would prefer a more natural form of pain relief. Should NFL players be permitted to use marijuana to treat injuries now that the plant is legal for medical use in over half of the United States?
The NFL told CBS News that it’s not changing the policy to include the use of medical marijuana because neither the league nor the union have been instructed to do so by medical staff, but it would be considered if it was recommended.
The NFL did loosen the rules for marijuana use a bit in the revised Policy and Program on Substances for Abuse. The allowable level of THC was raised from fifteen nanograms to thirty-five nanograms. One nanogram is one billionth of a gram. A player used to risk being suspended for an entire year if he tested positive for marijuana during the yearly drug test. Under the revised policy, the suspension time is reduced significantly. Now, players risk being suspended for up to ten games. Policy changed to reflect what the players are asking for, and the movement that is quickly sweeping across the nation.
A revised set of rules allowing NFL players to treat pain and many other conditions with marijuana may be a possibility in the not so far future. Elections this November will be a glimpse into the future of marijuana in the United States. If retail marijuana sales are legal in multiple states by 2016, it will be difficult for the NFL to reprimand players for using it.
photo credit: Doug Pensinger
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