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NFLSports & Politics

When Will Professional Sports Stop Penalizing Players For Smoking Legal Drugs, Like, Oh Say, Weed Maybe?

Mandatory drug testing is meant to do a few things:

- Vet potential candidates
- Check to see if a current employee is using illegal drugs, and thus putting the viability of the company at risk
- Make sure the playing field is level (in the instance of PEDs)

All totally understandable, as an employer is entitled the right to know if someone they’re paying is sabotaging their own ability to be productive by using illegal drugs (or cheating). Makes sense. The thing is, it’s predicated on the assumption that illegal drugs make you less productive (or volatile or disinterested or whatever), while legal drugs — like tobacco and alcohol — while not endorsed by employers, are not, in fact, as viable risk to a worker’s ability to carry out his or her professional duties.

So what happens when a drug is legalized? Does that mean it’s no longer a threat to employers? Does it cease being something that affects a person’s capacity to contribute? When law enforcement authorities stop punishing people for possessing and using marijuana, doesn’t it sort of implore businesses to do the same? Because as far as we’re concerned, professional athletes seem to thrive despite their well-publicized love of weed, and the Colorado ruling that legalized it earlier this month basically gave the Nuggets, Broncos, Rockies, and Avalanche the green light to light up the green.

Or not.

So why are they still under the thumb of a law that no longer exists? Well, for starters, it’s up to their employer to distinguish what is or isn’t acceptable behavior, which also makes sense. At the same time, however, the line drawn at THC seems arbitrary (at best) when you consider the number of alcohol-fueled incidents that occur off the field. Just ask Jacoby Jones how that party bus ride went, when a sex worker smashed him across the face with a bottle of Armand de Brignac. Do they test for alcohol? Do they test for the alcoholism gene? Of course not — because it’s deemed socially acceptable (or something ridiculous like that).

Hey, just saying, you never hear about a player getting smashed across the face with a glass bubbler.

The point is, if it’s legal in one state, it can’t be THAT bad, and, at the same time, shouldn’t be a prosecutable offense if a player is observing the laws while he is in that particular state. Here are a few analogies we think best illustrate the NFL’s current drug policy vis-a-vis the laws of the great state of Colorado:

Punishing those who test positive for THC via legal Colorado marijuana is potentially like…

…suspending players for testing positive for over the counter sleep aid, Melatonin
…suspending players for patronizing prostitutes in Nevada
…suspending players for staying out a bar past 4:00 AM (on an off day)
…suspending a player for driving 79 MPH in Utah, where it is legal to do so on some stretches of highway
…suspending players who are in a same-sex marriage

You may disagree, but enforcing a policy that seems in lock step with the law of some states, becomes vastly more complicated when other states have different standards. Just ask Bill Belichick, who’s already had to address the issue with his team (most notably, LeGarrette Blount).

[NESN] While it seems like it shouldn’t be an issue, running back LeGarrette Blount confirmed that Belichick did talk to the Patriots about weed being legal in Colorado, as the team is preparing to travel to Denver to take on the Broncos in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday. While it’s legal to partake in Colorado, it’s still against NFL rules. “It’s a business trip,” the appropriately named Blount said. “Nobody is going to care about that. Bill told us about it. He basically told us, ‘Don’t go out there and be stupid.’ [That’s] really good advice.” A reporter badgered Belichick during the coach’s press conference Friday about the legal drug in Colorado. Belichick, who was already in a surly mood, put an end to the questioning quickly. “I think we know what the NFL policy is on that,” Belichick said.

We’re not sure what the NFL, or other pro leagues for that matter, will do in the coming years, as perfectly harmless drugs like marijuana are freed from the archaic laws of yester-year. Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how and when the league comes to grips with the fact that many players smoke pot, and it doesn’t impact their lives/work in any discernibly negative way. Will it always be a part of the league’s drug prevention policy, or will they finally chill out? Let us know what you think.

  • Fletch

    I wish people would stop. It is not legal. This state is just choosing to not enforce a federal law. And for the testing…many jobs test for alcohol, which is legal. Legality has nothing to do with it.

  • RN

    Choosing to not enforce the federal law comes into the whole being able to have laws created that support the state. If it is deemed to be in the interest of the people of the state then that is how it is to be, that is democracy.

    The stuff is similar to having an alcoholic beverage in terms of Duration of “impairment”, which of course like all things effect you differently based on body size and inherent chemicals you have.

    When it comes to things like this, it should be how it is done, not what is done. Where has the responsibility of being and adult, and the rewards that come along with it gone?

    Those with addictive natures are going to abuse things, regardless if its one readily available thing or another.

    What the masses need to distinguish is, the difference between the one seeking balance, and the one seeking to escape. The one looking for balance is more likely to be one of moderation, the one looking to escape their problems…. well they dont…. because drugs are but only temporary mental escapes.

    Even still, that in its own (temporary mental escapes), can be beneficial to those suffering deeper levels of physical or mental anguish; cancer, burn victims, people suffering schizophrenia, ocd, unnatural depression/paranoia.

    For those people it becomes more about finding the medicine that will put them self in the most optimal state of mind, which of course for those feeling physical pain would mean less pain, and those of the mind, finding themselves with reduced anxieties.

    Regardless of the law, if you find a medicine that has been repeatedly proven effective, proven to have less side effects (short and long term), then you deserve to have your medicine.

    How can we even begin to imagine a better world, when we cannot even expect our adults to be smart enough to handle their own diet/intake. We are all special in that what may work for one person, may not work for the next. So………. we need to do away with this whole “well these people over here made this decision 50+ years ago based on the effects of suffocating monkeys for 5+minutes(braincells die at that point from oxygen deprivation) on nothing but smoke, so im just gonna go BAHHH I think they follow the law BAHHHH It is not legal BAHHHHHH (im calling you sheep)


    Kid there is much more realer things than “legality”.

    There is Human Right

    Don’t believe me, let us one day find eachother on some deserted island where there is no “law” and we will see true civility; You leave me alone, I leave you alone, you fuck with me, I…… well yeah.

    I wouldn’t be so opposed to the current system….. but those in charge in handling said system….. Dont.

    This is 2014 Two-Thousand And Fourteen….. why the fuck are, after this INSANE—– MAGNIFYING AGE OF TECHNOLOGY, following laws decided based on the BIAS—– BULLSHIT Experiment where they pretty much did “well lets see if instead of breathing air, they can breathing Just Marijuana smoke”— Not take a hit…. see how you feel… take a hit and then done. Fucking minutes of Force-fed smoke through masks.

    We are more fucking Responsible than that, We are Not Children, We are fucking HumanKind, not dogs, not simple apes.

    The longer you continue to believe it is in your best interest to allow others to decide what works for you, despite your experience that says other, and the testimonies of others, well…. before you know it we will all be wearing mandatory helmets or else you dont get insurance or some other bullshit like that: “well you spouse was seen on camera without her walking helmet, which since it would of saved her life in her slipping accident, were not going to provide you with the life insurance as agreed to in signed contract”.

    Things progress forward, they do not stay the same. If you want things to progress in a way that is best for human kind, then I suggest you preach Responsibility for oneself, not of the law, otherwise…. I doubt we will meet kind reception within the stars.

  • lady on the bench

    Many players are daily smokers. Almost the entire starting line up for the Orioles smoke EVERYDAY! And nothing is done about it.

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