The NFL has a drug problem, but it might not be the drugs that you expect.
Three NFL players talked to Fusion's Chief Cannabis Correspondent, Ryan Nerz, about the widespread use of marijuana and pain killers in the league. Six-year NFL veteran Tank Johnson said that the percentage of players using weed is "seventy to eighty percent. I hate to say that as if it's a bad thing but I think that would be about accurate."
The players also described their numerous, grisly injuries, and the side effects of painkillers given to them by team doctors.
When asked if he had any side effects from painkillers, New York Giants cornerback Walter Thurmond responded, "I remember getting double Percocets. It put me in a state of having nightmares at night, that's how crazy it was."
Though NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has paid lip service to the possibility of allowing players use medical marijuana, that reality seems so distant that it's barely worth discussing. Meanwhile, five-hundred retired NFL players are suing the league, claiming that it created a culture where team doctors doled out pain pills, without discussing possible side effects...and sometimes, without prescriptions.
When asked to respond to the fact that some players were in favor of decriminalizing marijuana and even legalizing it for medicinal purposes in the NFL, the league responded with the following statement: "The commissioner is not a physician or an expert in substance abuse and cannot rule out where medicine may take us in the future. At this time, the medical advisors to our drug program tell us that there is no need for medical marijuana to be prescribed to an NFL player."
Credit: Ryan Nerz, Ade Mangum, Sebastian Perry, Omar Michaud, and Darwin Phillips