The NFL has always had a problem with drugs, but players have remained as quiet as they could regarding the unpleasant subject. Ryan Clark of the Pittsburgh Steelers broke that silence a few days ago when he said that he is aware of the fact that most players smoke marijuana. You would wonder what would make him come out and say such a thing, but it was necessary, especially since marijuana has been a hot topic in the NFL over the past few years. Commissioner Roger Goodell even said he would not be against players using the drug if it helps treat concussion symptoms.
Not everyone will agree with Clark’s decision to draw unwanted attention on the players, but it could open up some eyes. Here are some of Clark’s comments:
“I know guys on my team who smoke,” Clark said. “And it’s not a situation where you think, ‘Oh, these are guys trying to be cool.’ These are guys who want to do it recreationally. A lot of it is stress relief. A lot of it is pain and medication.
Clark has very good points here, such as players smoking to relieve stress instead of taking prescription medication with dangerous side effects. Marijuana is clearly the more healthy choice, and there is no debating that. The drug has just caught a bad rep over the years, and that is what makes the topic so touchy in sports.
Honestly, we all know these guys smoke weed on a regular basis. Although players have different reasons for use of marijuana, it doesn’t affect their ability to play football at a high level. People need to be sure they understand that players have valid reasons for using the drug. The NFL would be better if they accepted the drug for medical use. Any player should qualify, because they are all in pain and at risk for injury in every game played.
The politics surrounding the issue will be the only thing to keep this from happening. The NFL will not put their reputation on the line just to make marijuana use okay in football. Deep down the big guys in the NFL know what their players do, and that is why drug testing procedures aren’t that stiff. They give their players a little breathing room, because if the rules were stiff then half of the league could be facing suspensions on a regular basis.
It will be some time before any change comes over the league, but players and fans alike are happy to see the issue brought to light rather than shoved aside. It would be great if the NFL can find a way to throw out fines and suspensions related to marijuana use, but for now those are the rules. Players will have to abide by those rules regardless of what gets talked about, but that should not put a damper on hopes of brighter, lighter future in football.