While there's slowly been a growing and serious discussion about marijuana and its legality in this country, we've hardly seen any such talk in the NFL. The substance has been somewhat of a taboo subject in league circles, with league officials hardly even entertaining discussion about changing their stances on marijuana in football.
Ravens' tackle Eugene Monroe is trying his best to initiate some conversation about players using marijuana for pain relief. In a story published on CNN.com, the veteran lineman offered some very valid points from a players' perspective about legalizing weed use for the purpose of pain relief.
"Your job automatically gives you the symptom of chronic pain," said Monroe, "You’re hitting each other as hard as possible every single day in practice. Your body is in pain a lot of time."
Monroe and other players believe that cannabis is a much better alternative to the league-approved opioid and anti-inflammatory painkillers. Prescription painkillers have come under fire recently for being both abused by physicians, and for being incredibly addicting. A recent lawsuit filed against the 32 NFL teams was recently filed by a group of former players alleging that staff and coaches forced players to take painkillers. Monroe himself also expressed concerns about these medications.
"All over our country people are addicted [to painkillers], and that's happening in our locker rooms,"
The league maintains that their anti-dope policy is for the safety of its players, but that seems rather hypocritical if there is indeed rampant and unchecked painkiller use in the sport.
There's still a ways to go for marijuana in the league, and even Monroe concedes that ample research must be done before any action is taken.
"The NFL will need to have legitimate information before they remove marijuana from the banned substance list and ultimately not hurt their product in the field," Monroe said. "But there’s opportunity in that space also, for the NFL to get involved and maybe lead efforts."
While the future of marijuana in the NFL is very hazy, one thing is for sure, Eugene Monroe is probably going to get a "random" drug test pretty soon.