NFL’s current drug war

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In sports drugs can be huge career killers, sometimes just as devastating as injuries.

From the 1970s to early 1980s the NBA was dealing with cocaine. The MLB dealt with the steroids era from the late 1980s to the mid 2000s.

Today the NFL is dealing with rampant use of marijuana and synthetic marijuana.

In 2015, 19 NFL players were suspended because of a substance abuse policy violation.

Of those 19 players, Josh Gordon was suspended the entire 2015 season because of his third violation.

This year, as he applied for reinstatement he failed his fourth drug test. Gordon was supposed to be the next great wide receiver in the NFL. He is now in jeopardy of never playing in the league ever again.

“NFL players live in a great deal of pain on a daily basis, and marijuana helps with that… teams pass out opioid painkillers, which are highly addictive,” said former Broncos tight end Nate Jackson to the Washington Post. “And that can affect a player long after they are done playing. Marijuana doesn’t have those types of effects.”

I am an advocate for marijuana as a medical use or recreational. NFL players at times need it for the chronic pain after every game. Players submit themselves to high collisions and life altering injuries.

However, in the NFL it’s illegal to use it for any reason. We have to listen to the rules our employer gives us. This is especially true as a professional athlete because it can ruin the season for teammates and fans.

As a Pittsburgh Steelers fan this especially hits home because two players last season were suspended because of marijuana possession. Le’Veon Bell was suspended two games and Martavis Bryant was suspended 4 games. Bell ended up getting injured just a few games after the suspension. Bryant finished out the season.

Bryant is now suspended next season because he failed another drug test. Bryant was expected to have a break out year as the Steelers potential Super Bowl chances have been slightly hurt.

Players have long been advocating the use of medical marijuana for injuries and other related problems.

HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” reported an estimated 50-60 percent of NFL players regularly use marijuana, many for pain management.

However, until the substance is federally legalized the NFL will have to continue its suspensions of its players.