Most NFL players smoke weed. At least the ones that aren’t cornball brothers (still looking at you RGIII). Most NBA players do too. And shit, it probably goes for a good percentage of MLB and NHL players, too. They have figured out the drug testing landscape enough to do something that, for many, is recreational, but for them, has more of an impact. It could help them heal.
The University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins University are funding cannabis research surrounding NFL players, and one NFL player, the Baltimore Raven’s Eugene Monroe, is putting his money behind that research. Monroe has donated $80,000 to that research, hoping that these scientists will offer some empirical evidence that would support what these athletes already know: that weed is way more healthy and way more safe than the pharmaceutical options that these players are left with to manage their crippling pain.
“As a player I’m not allowed to use cannabis, but I’ve been prescribed opioids for various injuries,” Monroe said in an interview Thursday evening. “The opioids work, but they’re very dangerous and highly addictive.”
The history of NFL players on pain medication is hardly a secret. The most famous case was Brett Favre
admitting his addiction while he was still playing, but no shortage of Percocets, Vicodin or Oxycontin prescribed for these players who routinely launch themselves like missiles at other players. Not to mention that these men craft their bodies into the most sculpted, strongest and fastest missile-humans in the world. You’re not just getting tackled by some guy; you’re getting tackled by the 6’5, 290 pound guy who can run a 4.6 40-yard dash and flip an 800 pound tire a million times. That tackle is going to cause a lot of pain. But since the NFL falls under the Reefer Madness
blanket that covers most of America. So, instead of letting these men manage their pain in the way that they see fit, the NFL mandates that you have to take these opioids. Well, that or you could just suffer though the pain.
Furthermore, consider two different hypothetical people: the dude who is “addicted” to weed or the dude who is addicted to oxycontin. Even the biggest, most obnoxious weed-head is just saggy-eyed, tye-dyed and slinging peace signs. But the Oxy-guy? He’s probably robbed you of something to sell to get more Oxys. He’s definitely rifled through every medicine cabinet that he has access to. He probably lies about his addiction, and probably a lot more. The Oxy-addict is clearly a worse person, and it’s because of the strength of the drug for which they are pining. And the NFL wants to create more of these people?
A drug addict with unlimited money is a dangerous thing. These millionaires can’t run out of money chasing their drug addiction. Their rock bottom is not going to be realized because they lose everything physically, but that does not mean that they will not hit rock bottom. It will likely manifest itself in different ways, especially when just the pain is managed, and not the psychological effects; or worse, the brain trauma. That’s why we are seeing such a rash of suicide among former NFL players
. And among those who are still alive, there are shocking rates of depression
. For some players, the money does
run out. If there’s been a pain-induced opioid addiction, where is the money going to come from?
The solution to all of these problems? Weed. It sure as hell would help with these players’ depression. It sure as hell would manage their pain, during and after their career. And after their career, if they have to be addicted to something, wouldn’t it make much more sense if it were the safer, cheaper, more natural option? But as it stands, we have former NFL players like Ryan Leaf, once a top draft pick, going to jail because he is caught stealing painkillers
Marijuana has proven to be a more suitable treatment for pain or other maladies like ADHD
for whatever reason
because of deep seeded systemic racism, weed is still illegal in the United States and thus banned by the NFL. Hopefully, this research at Penn and John Hopkins as sponsored by Monroe will add some logical science to a slowly changing landscape.