Former Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long is once again speaking out in favor of legalizing and destigmatizing marijuana.
Long recently admitted to marijuana use and admitted to taking steps to beat the NFL’s recurring drug tests during his ten-year-football career. This week, Long added that he hopes the NFL will remove pot from its banned substance list and that he hopes society comes to accept the intoxicating drug.
“I think the reaction has been interesting because even people that support you, it just shows the stigmatization is so ingrained,” Long explained. “A lot of people like now are tweeting at me and every tweet is like, ‘hey man, are we gonna spark one up dude?’ I’m like, ‘Chill with the stereotypes.’
“Marijuana is a part of people’s lives,” Long added. “It’s not their life. And obviously, then you have the minority, which is less than 10% of the responses I’ve seen, which are like, ‘that stuff’s the devil.'”
The two-time Super Bowl champion also insisted that the media is focusing on the wrong thing concerning his revelation of long-term drug use.
“The lead was not that I smoked marijuana. The lead was that I talked about trying to destigmatize it. And hopefully, the NFL will hear some of their players talk — former or current if you have the balls — to say, ‘something needs to change,” he said.
Long, who was appointed the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in 2018, also offered mild praise for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as someone who tries to “get out in front of things.”
“We’re dealing with a generational stigma, so you’re used to your fans being old guard people who bought into that stigma,” Long explained. “I know some people struggle with it because marijuana, all the stereotypes are lazy, deviant people only smoke marijuana. Well, if NFL players who are active in their community, are hard-working, they go absolutely nuts on Sunday, and they play the game with violence and energy for three hours, that kind of challenges your stereotype. And it challenges the stereotype of football.
“I think at the end of the day, I would hope that they would consider lifting that kind of arbitrary ban. You’ve got one test a year, if you get tested more than that it’s because you failed the test,” the number 2 overall 2008 NFL Draft pick concluded.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.