Always the progressive, it should come as no surprise that Chris Long is sort of ahead of the curve when it comes to the NFL’s accepting marijuana use.
For now, marijuana is banned by the NFL, but the league has recently opened discussions about possibly using it as a pain management alternative. A committee of medical experts appointed by the league and the players union will study marijuana and its effects as an alternative pain treatment.
Long, the recently-retired former Eagle, was on "The Dan Patrick Show" today and — shockingly! — admitted to the world that he used marijuana during his NFL playing career. It’s not that Long was ever one to avoid the conversation. He sent out this tweet in January.
Keep pumping the booze ads, guys. You’re doing great! https://t.co/BpCzBRBjjP— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) January 22, 2019
But now that he’s out of the league, it seems he’s feeling a little more empowered to speak his mind on the topic.
And he makes a lot of very salient points. He’s right — the NFL’s policy and stance on marijuana is as ridiculous as it is outdated.
You can check out the whole thing here:
Based on the NFL’s recent (and late-to-the-table) conversion, Patrick asked Long were he thinks this is heading.
We should be headed to a place where we allow players to enjoy what I would not even call a drug. You know, it’s far less dangerous than guzzling a fifth of alcohol and going out after a game. Chances are the player won’t even make it to the club (laughs) to do this sort of thing that we all kind of wag our finger at when we hear about a guy getting in a fight or a DUI, you’re never going to read about him sitting on the couch and binge-watching ‘Game of Thrones’ again.
I think from a standpoint of what’s safer for people and the player, certainly people in the spotlight, it is far less harmful than alcohol, it is far less harmful than tobacco, and at various points in the league’s history, they have engaged in partnerships on different levels with those respective industries.
Long said he didn’t want to give a percentage of how many NFL players use marijuana but admitted he used his “fair share” of marijuana during his career. He also mentioned a lot of players used it for pain management.
Long wouldn’t give a percent, but based on my time around the league, I’ll tell you it’s a significant portion of players. A big reason for that is the laughable testing policy that allows players to skirt the rules with ease.
In fact, Long called the testing arbitrary and, well, he’s right.
I think testing is arbitrary. The league, speaking plainly, knows damn well what they’re doing. Testing players once a year for ‘street drugs,’ which is a terrible classification for marijuana, is kind of silly because, you know, players know when the test is, we can stop, and in that month or two that you stop, you’re going to reach for the sleeping pills, you’re going to reach for the pain killers, you’re going to reach for the bottle a little bit more. On the weekend, you’re going to have a few more drinks and a few turns into a few too many. It’s just not the same and if you’re serious about players not smoking, you’d be testing more often. I hope they go the opposite direction and realize how arbitrary doing that test once a year is.
I’ve heard many NFL executives and coaches not give a damn about whether or not their players smoke weed. They don’t care. They just care if a guy is dumb enough to get caught because players know the test is coming. Believe it or not, the testing period (incredibly!) begins on April 20 and continues through Aug. 9. That’s when players are tested for what the league calls “substances of abuse” and marijuana is included in that.
So as long as players don’t use marijuana just before or during that span, they’re going to pass with flying colors and then start up right again. There’s some obvious absurdity there that definitely warrants ridicule above and beyond the merits of banning marijuana in the first place.
Now that he’s out of the league, Long feels more empowered to speak up. Good for him.
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