The NFL’s Drug Policy is Outdated
4 Ways We’d Change It
The NFL is getting old.
No, not the players. But everyone else. The coaches are old, the owners are old, a lot of the people watching are old. Even you—yes, you!—are getting old. And so are the NFL’s dated drug rules.
With the United States becoming more and more accepting of cannabis use, the NFL needs to follow suit. That’s why I’m putting my commissioner hat on to make four much-needed changes to the league’s outdated drug policy.
The NFL needs superstars. And they’re losing them faster and faster due to injuries and suspensions. The NFL could avoid losing some stars if they made some changes to their severely outdated NFL Drug Policy. Here are the changes we’d make.
Remove cannabis from the banned substances list
Now if I was the new commissioner of the very lucrative NFL, the first thing I’d do is get rid of “Thursday Night Football.” Oh damn, that was fun. And then my next step to Making the NFL Great Again would be to remove cannabis from the banned substances list. Guys like Josh Gordon and Martavis Bryant—who have been suspended for more than a season’s worth of games for marijuana use—shouldn’t be banned from the league. Guys who endanger others’ lives, whether it’s domestic violence or DUI, should receive the lengthier suspensions.
Update the NFL Drug Policy to modern times
The NFL’s drug policy was first introduced by commissioner Pete Rozelle in 1971, and the structure is largely the same as when it was introduced as part of the 1982 CBA, when the country was going through its infamous “War on Drugs.” That was a loooong time ago, and the “War on Drugs” crashed and burned.
The NFL needs to get with the times, and move beyond their Reagan-era drug policies. The league shouldn’t levy a lengthy suspension for marijuana. That should be reserved for harder drugs, like testing positive for cocaine, amphetamine and MDMA.
Change the marijuana threshold
Recently, the NFL raised the marijuana threshold from 15 ng/ml to 35 ng/ml. A 20 ng/ml sure sounds like a nice jump, but that total is still lower than Major League Baseball (50 ng/ml) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (150 ng/ml). If the Olympics allows 150 ng/ml, so should the NFL. But that would make too much sense.
Don’t test for PEDs at all
This option would cause the most anarchy … and fun! The NFL is suffering from a lack of fun, so why not look to baseball for some much-needed guidance? Remember when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa saved baseball with their epic home run chase in 1998? Testing was different back then, and everyone loved the long ball. With no performance-enhancing drug tests, it would be the wild, wild west of the NFL. And it would be fantastic.