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SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 18: Brendan Ayanbadejo #51 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on during his team's 34-14 loss to the San Diego Chargers during their NFL Game on December 18, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Marijuana has been one of the hottest topics of conversation during this Super Bowl week, with both the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks hailing from states where the drug is now fully legal.
Understandably, a lot of folks have written about the topic, and many players, coaches and executives have weighed in with their thoughts on whether or not marijuana should be legal for NFL players to use for medicinal purposes. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said last week that he would be willing to explore legalizing the drug for NFL players to use if science supported it.
Of course, that news is a bitter pill to swallow for guys like Seahawks CB Brandon Browner, who is currently under suspension from the NFL for testing positive for the drug and unable to play in Super Bowl XLVIII. “It totally sucks,” he told USA Today. “If (you thought) I had a problem, you should be helping me.”
The issue of marijuana in the NFL apparently runs pretty deep. On HBO’s “Real Sports” on Monday, a report claimed that over half of NFL players use the drug, but not everyone agrees that the number is accurate. Broncos DT Terrance Knighton said that he thought the figure was “way too high.” He also added “I really can’t speak on that because it doesn’t involve my personal life, so I can’t speak for other guys.”
The issue of marijuana in the NFL was brought even more sharply into focus on Wednesday, when former Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens special teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo said that teammates of his were smoking pot during the week before the Super Bowl. Ayanbadejo played in Super Bowl XLI with the Bears in 2007, as well as Super Bowl XLVII with the Ravens last season, and wouldn’t specify which game he was referring to.
“I’m not going to say which Super Bowl it was, but I just remember getting off the elevator one night – it was early on in the week, just to start the week off – and all of the sudden I just got hit over the head with fumes of marijuana on the entire floor of the hotel that the team was staying on. … I could just imagine there were a few young guys just toking it up in more than one room.”
The players avoided getting caught using the drug because of the security personnel that the team hired, according to Ayanbadejo. “So then I was looking around, and I’m like ‘OK, where is the security?’ I looked, and for some reason we didn’t have regular police. Coach was smart enough to have rent-a-cops on our floor instead of regular police like we usually do.”
These statements from Ayanbadejo are concerning on several levels. Obviously, it’s odd that players would choose to smoke marijuana during Super Bowl week, but it’s even more odd that an NFL coach would know about it, and enable the behavior by hiring security guards to overlook what his players are doing.
At any rate, the NFL is likely going to have to look into its drug policy with states like Washington and Colorado legalizing pot, and we could soon see a league where medicinal marijuana is legal.
What do you think fans? Should pot be legal in the NFL for medicinal purposes, or should it remain a banned substance?