This past Thursday, suspended defensive tackle of the Dallas Cowboys, David Irving, announced that he is quitting the NFL. Irving, 25, made the announcement as he filmed himself in a video on Instagram Live, less than a week after the league suspended him indefinitely for violating its substance-abuse policy for the third time. This brings up the controversial topic of marijuana use in pro sports.
Irving went on to talk about how he believes that weed could be beneficial to some players health if used properly. “If I’m gonna be addicted to something, I’d rather be addicted to marijuana, which is medical — it’s a medicine; I do not consider it a drug,”Irving said.
Another point that he brought up is the use of weed in other sports. “How many NBA players you see getting in trouble about this? How many coaches you see getting in trouble about this? How many baseball players? How many UFC players getting in trouble?” Irving said.
Marijuana testing is different in all sports, and so are the penalties that are handed out if a player gets caught. The NFL is the most strict of all professional American sports leagues when it comes to handing out punishments.
Many other professional athletes, as well as Irving, see weed as a type of medicine. Former NFL running back Ricky Williams used it as a pain reliever and mood stabilizer. Former NBA player Chauncey Billups also thought about it that same way. “I honestly played with players — I’m not going to name names; of course I’m not — I wanted them to smoke. They played better like that. Big-time anxiety, a lot of things can be affected — [marijuana] brought ’em down a bit. It helped them focus in a little bit on the game plan,” Billups said.
With laws changing, and more research being done, it could be time for professional sports leagues to look at and reevaluate their stance on the use of medical and recreational marijuana in sports.