Sure, the narrative of the two states in the country to legalize recreational marijuana has become a witty pun for the Super "Bowl", but all joking aside, could marijuana become legal in the NFL's not-too-distant future?
According to this story by Sports Illustrated, the answer is yes!
"I'm not a medical expert," Goodell said, according to USA Today. "We will obviously follow signs. We will follow medicine and if they determine this could be a proper usage in any context, we will consider that. Our medical experts are not saying that right now."
Whether or not marijuana actually helps you recover faster from concussions, or whether or not it helps prevent them has to be explored further. One thing is certain: Roger Goodell will do whatever he can to decrease head injuries.
I do have one simple question though. If/when marijuana is removed from the banned list, what will they do with all the players in their substance abuse program who are in there for smoking weed? Will they be removed from the program immediately? Would they or should they have their game checks refunded to them?Should they stay in the abuse system?
Honestly, I could make a case for each scenario, so do you know what? I think I will.
Should all marijuana-only substance abuse program players be immediately free?
This is the one that I think should happen even though it is a slippery slope - but I'll talk about that later. Personally, I think that Goodell should free all these players from the program because it would be counter-intuitive to keep a player in a program for smoking something that is now legal. "I did my time, and now that I'm allowed to do the thing that landed me in here, can you please set me free?"
Should marijuana-only program members have their game checks refunded to them?
I'm sure there will be many lawsuits to the NFL regarding this issue. Players will argue that they should get their suspended game checks refunded to them on the basis of marijuana being legal. The problem I have with this stems from the simple fact that it was a banned substance when they got caught, so whatever game checks were missed wouldn't be refunded. This stance makes sense to me only if the players are allowed to be removed from the program. But to refund game checks for violations that they previously done just doesn't hold water. It isn't like they were wrongly accused of a crime and falsely imprisoned. They did the crime and were fined for it. Just set them free, and all shall be forgiven.
Should marijuana-only program members stay in the program regardless?
Just as I can argue that the players should be released from the program, I could just as strongly argue that they should remain in the program. They violated the leagues substance abuse policy which means that they knowingly took banned substances. Just because they are no longer banned does not forgive the fact that they violated the league's rules. If you do the crime, you have to do the time, and the punishment for violating that policy is automatic entry into various stages of the substance abuse program. I'm sorry, but once in, it clearly states that unless you get out after stage 1, you are in for good. Sorry, but you do not pass go and you do not collect $200.
What do you all think about it? Sound off in the comments. It might be the first time that marijuana is actually a relevant and encouraged topic for discussion.