Should the NFL Allow Players to Smoke Pot? Writer Thinks So

Sheldon Richardson AP

FLORHAM PARK, NJ—Defensive end Sheldon Richardson returned to the Jets Monday following a four-week suspension for a failed NFL marijuana test.

Breitbart Sports asked Jets coach Todd Bowles if Richardson has learned his lesson about pot.

“I wish I could answer that question for you,” Bowles said. “When I see him in the building, he’s not doing anything. He’s kept his his nose clean. It’s an ongoing process, I don’t think you learn a lesson over a month or so. I think it’s an ongoing deal that won’t be answered until later on in life.”

Dom Cosentino, a reporter for, took umbrage with the question.

Cosentino tweeted on Monday, “Actual question to Bowles: “Do you think Sheldon learned his lesson about marijuana?” Better question: When will NFL stop testing for it?”

Like the global warming cult, marijuana advocates have determined for all of us that the debate is over, and there is no downside to lighting up a doobie. The NFL says, not so fast. Even with Colorado and Washington legalizing the substance in 2012, the NFL’s not thinking about changing their policy banning the drug.

“I’ll try to be as clear as I possibly can,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said last year. “It is still an illegal substance on a national basis. It’s something that’s part of our collective bargaining agreement with our players.”

And the commissioner isn’t convinced the drug is as safe as the Marijuana Lobby would leave you to believe.

“It is questionable with respect to the positive impact but there is certainly some very strong evidence to the negative impacts, including addiction and other issues,” Goodell said.

In 2011, more than 450,000 people were rushed to US emergency rooms due to adverse effects of marijuana abuse. Symptoms included intense anxiety, panic attacks, and violent, continuous vomiting.

According to, “[Smoking marijuana] does irritate your lungs—which is why regular pot smokers are more likely to have an ongoing cough and to have lung-related health problems like chest colds and lung infections.

“Other physical effects of marijuana include: Dizziness, shallow breathing, red eyes, dilated pupils, dry mouth, increased appetite and slowed reaction time (If you drive after using marijuana, your risk of being in a car accident more than doubles.)”

There are some in the medical community, including Harvard’s Dr. Lester Grinspoon, who believe that smoking marijuana can help the brain heal from concussions.

The NFL doesn’t think this is settled science.

“We’ll continue to follow the medicine,” Goodell said. “Our experts right now are not indicating we should change our policy in any way, we are not actively considering that at this point and time.

“But if it does down the road some time, that’s something we would never take off the table if we could benefit our players at the end of the day,” Goodell explains. “I don’t see any change in the near future.”

In other words, if players want to smoke pot, perhaps they should choose another line of work.


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