Will Legalization Of Marijuana Impact NFL Free Agency?

By Tyler Fenwick
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

One of the hottest offseason topics in the NFL will be the legalization (or lack thereof) of marijuana. It’s also a steaming issue outside of the sports world, but with pain and suffering becoming a serious problem in the NFL, how far will some players be willing to go in order to get access to marijuana?

The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks both reached the Super Bowl this past season, and both states have legalized marijuana use. I’m not here to make a bad “Super Bowl” joke, but I think we have an interesting question to address: will there be players looking to sign with either of these teams because the state allows the use of marijuana?

First of all, let’s clear something up: I think the stereotypical thug image should be tossed out the window for this debate. As pointed out by some former players on ESPN over the last couple days, most of the guys using marijuana are not doing it to fit in with a certain crowd or because there’s an addiction they can’t break. Many who use the banned drug do so because they’re picking the lesser of two poisons when it comes to dealing with injuries and pain. On one end lies marijuana; on the other lies prescription drugs like Oxycontin and Vicodin.

Commissioner Roger Goodell has recently said that if experts find medical marijuana to be useful in dealing with head injuries, he would consider allowing it. I think I’m alongside many players and critics, however, when I say I don’t believe this process will be taking any significant steps forward.

Findings will either be inconclusive or not compelling enough for Goodell to jump on board with it. The NFL has millions of dollars invested in the research of injury treatment and prevention. They’ll want that money to do its job before they jump ship to something as controversial as marijuana.

That’s why I think as the months and maybe even years go by, you will start to see players who try working their way into an organization like Denver’s or Seattle’s because they know it will at least be easier for them to wiggle around under Goodell’s thumb. The longer this process goes on, the more likely it is that other states will legalize the drug, encompassing more NFL teams.

I know it seems like a stretch right now, but you have to understand that these players are looking out for their own health. With more and more frightening statistics about head injuries surfacing what seems like every day, why wouldn’t a player invest in their own health and get themselves in a position to treat themselves? Put yourself in that position.

Players will slowly be looking to sign with teams like the Broncos and the Seahawks because those states allow marijuana use, and they know what could possibly be on the line.

Tyler Fenwick is a Big 10 writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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