As the 2018 NFL season comes to an finish, we method the holy grail of the sport, the Super Bowl. The 53rd installment of the “most high-priced ticket in town” will function the Los Angeles Rams vs. New England Patriots, on February three, 2019 in the gorgeous residence of the Atlanta Falcons, Mercedes-Benz Stadium. No matter whether you are tuning in for the commercials, the half-time show or the actual game, you ought to be in for a treat.

Following the Super Bowl, the offseason starts, and for the players who have been piling up the injuries all season extended, the off-season proves itself to be the time for recovery, receiving the physique prepared to do it all more than once again come September. With all of these injuries come an immense quantity of discomfort, so what’s a player to do if they do not want to take prescription tablets? What is their option? Can a player, searching to combat their discomfort, use marijuana?

As the United States moves forward with their drug laws, and particularly marijuana, we are starting to see a adjust in the landscape. There are at present 10 states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, when 33 states have legalized the health-related use of marijuana in varying types.

The NFL and Marijuana

Each and every NFL group resides in a city that has legalized marijuana in some capacity at the state level. Having said that, according to the Controlled Substance Act, marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug and is federally illegal. Successfully, the NFL is saying that their “workers”, the players, are unable to participate in a state legal activity, no matter the cause, due to their stringent drug policies.

The NFL, via their collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”), particularly states that, “the illegal use of drugs and the abuse of prescriptions drugs, more than-the-counter drugs, and alcohol is prohibited for players in the NFL. Players will be tested for drugs coinciding with the NFL Drug Panel like, cocaine, marijuana, amphetamine, opiates, opioids, PCP, MDMA and alcohol.”

All players who are below contract with an NFL Club will be tested after for the duration of the period, starting on April 20, continuing via August 9. Primarily based on the benefits, they are either totally free to go about their business enterprise, not getting tested once again till the following season or, upon a failed test, are placed into the NFL intervention plan. By means of the intervention plan, a player who tests optimistic for a drug on the NFL’s banned substance list will undergo testing at a frequency so determined by either the Health-related Advisor or Health-related Director. If when in the intervention plan a player once again has a failed test, they will be topic to stage two or 3 of the plan, whichever is applicable. A player who enters into stage two will be topic to unannounced testing at the sole discretion of the Health-related Advisor. If, when in stage two, a player once again tests optimistic for a drug on the NFL drug panel, they will enter into stage 3 of the therapy plan and once again undergo unannounced testing at the sole discretion of the Medial Advisor. Even though in stage two or 3 a player who is getting tested may perhaps not be tested much more than ten (10) instances in a calendar month. A player who tests optimistic in stage 3 of the intervention plan will banished from the NFL for a minimum period of one particular (1) calendar year.

A player who has tested optimistic will be topic to a fine or suspension dependent upon the quantity of optimistic tests. The fines come in the type of 11.76, 17.six or 23.five % of the player’s annual salary (two, 3, or 4 game checks) and suspensions can be 4, six or ten games, unpaid. The strongest of disciplinary actions for repeat offenders will be either an unpaid, one particular-year suspension from the league or an indefinite ban topic to a formal proceeding and a required reinstatement into the league.

The NFL Players and Marijuana Use

Numerous players have faced fines or suspensions due to their use of marijuana, no matter the goal of their consumption. In 2018, the NFL levied virtually $four,000,000 in fines associated to substance abuse.

Josh Gordon, a former New England Patriots wide receiver, has a properly-documented substance abuse dilemma. However for him, his marijuana use has occurred prior to a reform in the NFL drug policy, which is probably to take place when the CBA is renegotiated in 2020. Martavis Bryant, faces the identical dilemma, regularly operating into complications with marijuana and how the NFL CBA and Drug Policy treat the use of the plant.  Although these players are in violation of the existing NFL CBA there are a lot of players who would advantage from a adjust in the policies.

Seantrel Henderson is one particular such player. Henderson, who played the 2018 season with the Houston Texans, was diagnosed in 2015 with Crohn’s illness. Medical doctors advisable that Henderson use marijuana to treat the discomfort as an option to prescription tablets: Henderson stated that he hoped the NFL would comprehend that he was a human, “I’ve got physicians telling me this is the No. 1 medicine that would aid your illness,” Henderson stated, “You attempt to inform that to the league and it appears like they didn’t care as well substantially.” In the end, physicians removed roughly two ½ feet of Henderson’s massive and smaller intestines. For the duration of recovery, his physicians once again advisable marijuana as the supply of discomfort relief alternatively of prescription tablets and Henderson took their suggestions. Henderson notes that he believed his playing profession was more than due do the surgery so he made use of marijuana for the discomfort, “At the time, I believed I was carried out playing,” Henderson stated. “I didn’t feel I was coming back. At the time, I was utilizing that for pain” Henderson was initially suspended for the initial 4 games of the 2016 season for his marijuana use. He was then drug tested often in accordance with the league drug policy which he was located to be in violation of once again shortly following his initial suspension, resulting in a 10-game suspension. All in all, Henderson was suspended 14 games for the duration of the 2016 season and fined $523,580 for following his doctor’s suggestions.

Former Super Bowl champion quarterback Jim McMahon has been outspoken in his help for a adjust in the NFL’s drug policy relating to marijuana. McMahon, who played for the Chicago Bears, San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers all through his 15-year NFL profession, has dealt with various injuries for the duration of his time in the NFL and has noted how marijuana could have helped him via all of them. He suffered various concussions as a player, and at present battles early onset dementia, serious headaches, depression, vision and speech complications. He was taking virtually 100 Percocet a month to handle the discomfort he was suffering from till he started the use of health-related marijuana, “They had been carrying out much more harm than very good,” he stated. “This health-related marijuana has been a godsend. It relieves me of the discomfort.” McMahon is a prime instance of how the rigors of the NFL can influence a particular person for years following they hang-up their cleats and how the use of health-related marijuana can aid them get via that discomfort.

Influence in the State of Nevada

Nevada is at the forefront of the legalization train getting had health-related marijuana legalized considering that the year 2000 and recreational marijuana considering that 2017. The NFL has shown pretty a bit of like to the state of Nevada in current months, particularly to the City of Las Vegas. Las Vegas is in the headlines associated to their new titles as, the “Future Household the Raiders” and “Home of the 2020 NFL Draft”. The Raiders coming to Las Vegas is huge news for the city. The like affair with the NHL’s Golden Knights has been a sight to see, and the Raiders are developing the identical form of excitement.

With the excitement comes a lot of concerns, will a player in the NFL be in a position to consume marijuana like a resident or tourist or, are they barred by the CBA of the NFL. Following a bit of investigating and understanding of the information pointed out above the answer at the moment is no. There is no constructed-in exception to the NFL’s CBA that has something to do with marijuana consumption in legal states, or the use of marijuana as a health-related option. The NFL merely says no. Players can’t use and they will be fined and suspended accordingly.

By means of continuing education coinciding with the finish of the existing CBA and the negotiation of a new CBA, it is feasible that we will see the NFL move away from their archaic policy, align with the progressive States, and implement a method that permits their players to consume marijuana alternatively of opioids. This stance could be in motion sooner than we feel, as much more info becomes readily out there to each the NFL and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA). In regards to marijuana and the NFL’s stance, Brian McCarthy, the spokesman for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, lately stated “This is an location of investigation we are searching to create additional, along with the NFLPA…to figure out regardless of whether these substances could be made use of as an helpful and protected discomfort-management tool for players.”

The NFL is a enormous component of the sports and entertainment planet and the existing and future overall health of their players is paramount to its continued accomplishment. Conversations discussing how to improved handle the discomfort that this make contact with sport causes will bode properly to seeing that accomplishment come to fruition.

 

CITATIONS

  1. NFL POLICY AND Plan ON SUBSTANCES OF ABUSE, https://nflpaweb.blob.core.windows.net/media/Default/PDFs/Agents/2016SOAPolicy_v2.pdf
  2. NFL POLICY AND Plan ON SUBSTANCES OF ABUSE, https://nflpaweb.blob.core.windows.net/media/Default/PDFs/Agents/2016SOAPolicy_v2.pdf
  3. SPOTRAC, https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/fines-suspensions/
  4. HOUSTON CHRONICLE, https://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/texans/post/Seantrel-Henderson-gets-fresh-begin-with-Texans-13132409.php
  5. ESPN, http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/18147079/seantrel-henderson-buffalo-bills-faces-10-game-suspension-substance-abuse-violation
  6. HOUSTON CHRONICLE, https://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/texans/post/Seantrel-Henderson-gets-fresh-begin-with-Texans-13132409.php
  7. SPOTRAC, https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/houston-texans/seantrel-henderson-14648/fines/
  8. DENVER POST, https://www.denverpost.com/2016/03/03/mike-ditka-knew-his-chicago-bears-players-got-higher-says-jim-mcmahon/
  9. CHICAGO TRIBUNE, https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/neighborhood/breaking/ct-chicago-bears-jim-mcmahon-health-related-marijuana-met-20160128-story.html
  10. BLEACHER REPORT, https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2771410-the-worlds-very best-athletes-smoke-weed-heres-proof-what-now