What would the league look like if the use of opioids was less and the ban on marijuana was lifted? There would be fewer suspensions for sure.
Baltimore Ravens tackle Eugene Monroe wrote in a first person essay for The Players’ Tribune that the league should allow injured players to use medical marijuana instead of opioids. “The NFL relies heavily on opioids to get players back on the field as soon as possible, but studies have shown medical marijuana to be a much better solution,” wrote Monroe in “Getting off the T Train.”
If you have been keeping up with my blog from the start I have written two articles about this very topic. In the last few years it seems as more and more players are being suspended for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Most of the players are testing positive for THC, which is the main chemical in marijuana. The question comes into play if players should be able to use marijuana for medical reasons because it is safer and less addictive than opioids or drugs like Toradol.
As Monroe stated in his essay that at least half of the players in the NFL have been on the “T Train” at some point of their career. He explain the “T Train” as a life of players before every game that line up for their shot of Toradol.
Monroe points out that the NFL and the NFL Players Association should change ban any use of marijuana. He says it’s time for that stance to end, and he calls for the league and union to:
- Remove marijuana from the banned substance list
- Fund marijuana research – especially as it relates to the brain dieses CTE
- Stop “overprescribing addictive and harmful opioids.”
He made it clear that he doesn’t think it is okay for players to just get high in parties and break the law but it should be used for medical reasons. Among other points he made where:
- Every team that has won the Super Bowl since 2012 is in a state where the legislature has passed “some form of progressive marijuana legislation,”
- The U.S Department of Health and Human Services holds a patent that labels the cannabinoids in marijuana “as both anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective, two things that are crucial to the health of the NFL players bodies and brains.”
- The hurdle: The DEA says marijuana has no currently accepted medical use, which the NFL and commissioner use to base their position.
I’m not here to choose a side but, I do think the league should look further into the pros and cons of medical marijuana. There has to be an answer to help players with their bodies and minds even after their football career.
Players have not only had trouble with the substance abuse policy but also some players have had problems with PEDs. The league and players need to find a way to bridge the gap and come to some type of agreement. Football is a very hard sport that can cause lifelong injuries to the body. Drugs are not always the answer to the problem.
“The answer can no longer be pills and more pills,” Monroe wrote. “Every NFL player rides the T Train at some point in his career. But we need to be able to get off.”