Tennessee Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan wants the NFL to spend more time researching medicinal marijuana and the potential health benefits it could provide players.
“I feel like the NFL has a responsibility to look into it, to delegate time and money to research this for its players,” Morgan told Yahoo’s Katie Couric. “Given how much influence that the NFL has on society, I think it would help the greater good. There’s a lot of people suffering and a lot of people that can benefit from cannabis as a medical treatment.”
Morgan’s statement is a little confusing.
First he said the NFL should “delegate time and money to research [pot] for its players.” And then he said, “a lot of people that can benefit from cannabis as a medical treatment.”
So do they need to research the substance or allow its use immediately?
It sounds like Morgan already has his mind made up that marijuana can help NFL players.
“In thinking of the benefits that will come from spreading the awareness and the knowledge about this substance I think greatly outweighs any backlash or ramifications that might come about it,” Morgan told Yahoo.
— Derrick Morgan (@dmorg91) June 23, 2016
The NFL’s pot research doesn’t seem to be as far along as Morgan’s. While Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana, that hasn’t altered the NFL’s stance, which bans their rank-and-file from using the substance.
“Yes, I agree there have been changes, but not significant enough changes that our medical personnel have changed their view,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in early February. “Until they do, then I don’t expect that we will change our view.”
The NFL randomly tests its players for pot from April 20-August 9. If you pass the test, you aren’t tested for the rest of the season. Once you fail one test, you are tested regularly. The NFL fines player for the first two failed tests; a third test lands you a four-game suspension; a fourth gets you 10 games; a fifth knocks you out for a year.
Morgan joins former Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Eugene Monroe in advocating for the NFL to lighten up their rules on lighting up. Monroe feels that medical marijuana can help deal with pain better than opioid drugs tteam doctors offer.
“We now know that these drugs (opioids) are not as safe as doctors thought, causing higher rates of addiction, causing death all around our country,” Monroe told the New York Times, “and we have cannabis, which is far healthier, far less addictive and, quite frankly, can be better in managing pain.”
Monroe, a UVA graduate, also believes pot can help players with concussion issues.
“I’m not here advocating smoking weed for recreational purposes,” Monroe tweeted in March. “However, smoking weed just may protect your brain. Even our government recognizes marijuana has medical benefits. If you’re a player and you see this, you better stand up. It’s about damn time. It’s a shame that Roger Goodell would tell our fans there’s no medical vs recreational distinction. If I’m a fan, I’m pissed at the time I wasted listening to Goodell lie to me at the Super Bowl. Do you really care about players health?”
The Ravens didn’t support Monroe’s position when he went public in March.
“I promise you, he doesn’t speak for the organization,” said coach John Harbaugh.
On June 6, the Ravens released Monroe. Was it due to his strong position on pot? We will never know, but they did pick Notre Dame left tackle Ronnie Stanley with the sixth pick of the 2016 draft, and he does play the same position. Perhaps both factors contributed to Monroe getting fired.
The New York Giants are reportedly interested in Monroe’s services. What do they think of Monroe’s position on marijuana?
“I haven’t done any research, so I don’t have a great answer for you there,” said Giants coach Ben McAdoo. “That’s probably more of a political question, something I’m not necessarily willing to jump into at this point, or ever.”
But Monroe and Morgan are willing to jump into this debate, and they feel the NFL is behind the times.
“It’s about not only us, but former players, future players, and more so society as a whole,” Morgan said.
But the NFL clearly isn’t ready to go to pot at this time.