If you’ve been to a professional sporting event in the last century or so there is a likely chance that you’ve also encountered a beer-based, hot dog chunked vomit spewing “fan” acting like a jerk. It’s to be expected and unavoidable. There is nothing to be done except pray that a loudmouth doesn’t invade your section and ruin the event. Good luck with that.

A culture that romanticizes knocking back a few cold ones and better living through chemistry while demonizing the cannabis plant is hard to take seriously. Sportscasters, talk-radio hosts, Internet personalities and every other schmo with an opinion can’t help but drop into a Jeff Spicolli impersonation when commenting on some athlete who has been suspended after providing urine with an inappropriate level of THC metabolites as set forth by a collective bargaining agreement. It’s predictable and unimaginative.

The crop of on-air talent is getting hotter, younger and more liberal by the hour but their thoughts are stagnated. Participation trophies still on display at their parents’ homes have encouraged their voices to be loud and opinionated but stifled critical thinking and analysis. Pandering to a crowd is one thing but being uninformed removes credibility.

Unsurprisingly, the four major American sports leagues (Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and National Football League) wholeheartedly support lucrative marketing deals with official beer sponsors while imposing harsh penalties on players for using cannabis. The institutional view that ganja has no place in sports is supported not by fact but rather draconian principles, endorsement dollars and television broadcasting rights.

The NFL and its leadership is particularly dense and grossly incompetent when it comes to the matter of marijuana policy. The same rich white ownership and management of the league that deny the impact of concussions and force feed opiates to their employees making sure they can go to work on Sunday’s earnestly believe that a player who kills a pedestrian while white girl wasted deserves a lesser suspension than a player that uses cannabis.

Let that sink in.

You can kill somebody and spend 30 days behind bars then only get suspended for one year then be welcomed back to work like nothing happened but if a player smokes weed on the regular it’s possible they won’t be allowed to play for three years. Players punished for cannabis consumption have drawn stiffer penalties and more residual pushback than those involved in sexual assault accusations, domestic violence cases, child abuse scandals and dogfighting rings. These are troubling precedents being set.

There is no shortage of former professional athletes speaking out on the benefits of cannabis. Eugene Monroe, Kyle Turley and Ricky Williams all former NFL players have been making the rounds on the cannabis conference circuit lately while WWE Hall of Famer Charles Wright aka Papa Shango aka The GodFather floods his Instagram with dab videos advocating the benefits of cannabis. Stephen Jackson smoked herb pregame before lacing them against Lebron, Dirk and the Black Mamba and averaged 15 points per game over the course of his career. Even a couple of the rich white owners of NFL franchises are moving towards a more reasonable approach for dealing with cannabis use.

For fans there is little recourse to take against the slights perpetuated and enforced by the suits that enjoy our hard earned dollars—which pay salaries, build stadiums and line the pockets of owners and strategic partners. Sticking it to them in little ways is all we can hope for. Every dab taken in a stadium bathroom and or joint roasted in the upper decks is a small victory on the way to acceptance.

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