Like most of society, the National Football League’s views on marijuana may be changing. Every year around this time, marijuana and football become intertwined in a predictable manner—failed drug tests.
At the NFL Combine, future potential players compete in various athletic and mental tests to document up close their value for teams’ front offices. They also submit to a drug test and someone notable fails ever year. Because players know it’s coming, teams consider the drug test as an “unofficial intelligence test.” The thinking goes: Basically you’d be an idiot to fail, so if you do fail…
But teams may be changing their stance. According to Bleacher Report, many teams no longer regard marijuana usage as the detrimental character issue they once did. Just last year, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones privately advocated to end the league’s prohibition on marijuana.
“We just don’t care as much about marijuana as we used to,” a longtime AFC team official told Bleacher Report, adding:
Instead, several team officials said they are putting far more emphasis on domestic violence and other severe criminal acts.
A player that fails a combine drug test for pot will still be flagged, and his draft value will diminish. Just not as much as it did in previous years.
As society has shifted its views toward marijuana, including legalizing it in several states, and become less tolerant of violent abusers, the NFL is slowly reflecting that societal shift.
What’s important to remember here: Though the NFL’s chief medical officer has stated marijuana research is “really important,” cannabis remains on the league’s banned substances list. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, whose contract was recently extended, has also spouted some misinformed opinions regarding cannabis and its medicinal values.
Don’t expect a wave of support from front offices and executives any time soon essentially. It’s progress that players entering the league seemingly won’t be punished for cannabis usage like they once were, but it still isn’t anything resembling honest change.