NFL player Eugene Monroe, who plays for the Baltimore Ravens, has been on a mission to change the NFL's harmful policy on marijuana. I say it's harmful because marijuana prohibition in the NFL is limiting the forms of treatment and medicines that players can use. Instead of being able to use medical marijuana, which is now legal in 25 states (many of which have an NFL team), players are pressured into using harmful painkillers that often lead to addiction, are harmful to a person's body, and often times aren't effective.
That's not to say that if a player wants to avoid using medical marijuana, and prefers painkillers, that they can't use them. I'm not advocating for allowing medical marijuana, but prohibiting other medicine in the process. What I'm saying, and what I hear Eugene Monroe saying, is that players should be able to choose for themselves. There should be no taboo when it comes to cannabis, and considering the promising research that is already out there, the NFL should be at the forefront of cannabis research to see how it can help players.
That message appears to resonate with at least one other current NFL player. DeAndre Levy, who plays for the Detroit Lions, had the following to say about medical marijuana research for NFL players, per Detroit Free Press:
And more recently, Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Eugene Monroe has shined light on the issue by advocating for the use of medical marijuana as a substitute for opioid drugs.
"I think it's something that needs to be addressed," Levy said. "I know players, former, current and it was a time where it was very, very easy to get as many painkillers as you needed, as many sleeping pills as you needed. And if we're talking about the health of our players, past their playing career, I think it's definitely something that needs to at least be acknowledged and something looked into as there's a lot of viable and growing body of research supporting it."
Levy has been outspoken on a number of social issues since his injury, taking aim at the NFL for the way it's handled concussions and penning an essay for The Players Tribune on sexual assault and the objectification of women.
I hear a lot of pundits, and even some current players, applying a lot of marijuana prohibition tactics to the NFL medical marijuana debate that have been used in the political sphere for a long time. The most common one is 'there is not enough research.' That statement is completely ridiculous. There is more research for marijuana than there is for many substances that the NFL allows, many of which don't provide much benefit other than getting the user addicted to them. I tip my hat to DeAndre Levy for speaking up and supporting Eugene's mission, which should be the mission of all NFL players. Because after all, it's their health and well being that Eugene is fighting for!