The timing may be wrong, but the NFL honestly finally has it right.
With the leagues latest recommendations to reduce penalties for marijuana, due in large part to players such as Josh Gordon being suspended for an entire season, it’s time to give major props to the NFL.
Marijuana is safer than alcohol, a substance the league regularly turns a blind eye to when players or coaches are arrested for a DWI or face charges surrounding drinking.
Sure, there may be fines and punishments that go on behind closed doors, but for the most part everyone is quick to forgive players or coaches for alcohol-related offenses.
It’s a sad double-standard that has existed in this league since it’s inception.
And it’s time for a change.
Gordon, who attended Baylor University and was hit with major suspensions due to marijuana while an undergrad in Waco, now faces a year-long suspension for the 2014 season for failing a drug test for cannabis.
The league will now be missing out on a high-profile receiver in Gordon due to kicking him out for an entire year for weed.
Is it really worth suspending a player for an entire season for choosing to use a substance that is safer for their body than alcohol?
It doesn’t make any sense in my opinion.
Talking heads on ESPN, such as Stephen A Smith and Skip Bayless on First Take, want to claim things such as addiction or racial prejudice are the real problems behind marijuana use in the NFL.
Let’s address both of those arguments right now.
First of all, marijuana is not “addictive” in the same way as alcohol or hard drugs such as cocaine or heroin.
Those are true addictions.
A major alcoholic gets shaky and could even die if they don’t consume alcohol.
And an individual hooked on heroin is truly a frightening sight to see.
Cannabis doesn’t even come close to those categories.
Marijuana may be “addictive” by definition, but I have never met a marijuana user that has withdrawals or robs people just to obtain some weed.
It doesn’t happen.
Secondly, in regards to the race issue, it’s a fact that minorities are targeted and arrested more often than Caucasians when it comes to the war on drugs.
Just another reason why this failed drug war must come to an end.
However, with that in mind, the league is also comprised of an African American majority; but regardless of being white, black, Hispanic, or any other ethnicity, the punishment remains the same.
I highly doubt that Gordon is addicted to marijuana; he has only smartly chosen a safer substance.
In the same breath, the league has rules in place just like any other job that average Americans work on a daily basis.
And when rules are broken, there are obviously prices to pay — from fines to firings.
We also live in a different world now, with cannabis being legal for adult use in Colorado and Washington (and with more to certainly follow), and with medical use of the plant available in almost half the country.
It’s time to wake up to reality and change when it comes to cannabis, and the NFL is taking the right steps with the latest recommendations.
Lessening marijuana penalties for players in the league will only improve the quality of the game.
Let’s take a moment to applause the NFL for taking an open-minded look at a plant that’s far safer than a majority of “legal” substances in this country.
Here’s to old rules going up in smoke, and a new rule being implemented that will make a major mark in the world of sports and beyond.
Marijuana is safer!
Denton Ramsey, a cannabis columnist and activist for many years, hosts a podcast called CannaTruths (available for free on iTunes) and may be reached via email at CannaTruths@gmail.com