The Weekly Take

We have seen the downfall of many athlete’s careers due to substance abuse. As marijuana inches its way toward complete legality a question is raised — are professional athletes allowed to indulge?

Alcohol is legal and if we saw Tom Brady having a celebratory drink after the Super Bowl, we would raise our glass for a cheers.

In every baseball clubhouse after the World Series, the winning team is drenched in champagne. We can’t help but giggle at the childish antics and wait for them to pop another bottle. Now, if a player rolled a celebratory joint, I don’t know what would be worse: How the league would punish him/her or how the fans and spectators would treat them. An article on WikiLeaf explains that the MLB quite frankly does not care about cannabis. Routine drug tests stop after the minor league level. If there is no suspicion of steroids no one is peeing in a cup in the major league.

Matt Barnes had a 14-year NBA career. He said on a podcast that all of his best games were won “medicated.” From the start of his career until the end, Barnes smoked before every game and does not seem to hold a single regret.

Something that we refuse to talk about is weed for medicinal purposes. Professional athletes are playing nearly every day during the regular season, whether it be practice, games or training. Their rest days are consumed with traveling and no one likes to sit on an uncomfortable bus or airplane. These players are bound to feel an ache and pain. Trainers are handy but athletes are always expected to rebound and make an appearance at the next game. To work through these shoulder pains and knee injuries, they are prescribed painkillers that lead to addiction and drug problems.

A study conducted by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, found that from a sample of 644 former NFL players, 52% used prescription painkillers during their career. Of that same group, 71% admitted to the misuse of the prescription drugs.

If weed was legalized in professional sports, the opioid crisis could be lessened. Talented athletes and their careers are being thrown away because of addictions.

The secrecy of weed in sports needs to stop for athletes to get healthy. If marijuana was legalized, it does not mean that the entire team would pass a blunt in their stretching circle after practice. It merely means that those who feel they need a tension release and not an opioid addiction wouldn’t get shamed.

Sports fans hold players to such a high standard and watch a carousel of players drop in and out of leagues.

The ones dealing with their pains and stresses illegally by smoking weed are looked down on by the community. But the ones who are doing it “legally” are winning a prescription drug addiction and losing their careers.