The NFL and the the National Wrestling Alliance are at odds on how they approach policies allowing their athletes the use of medical cannabis.
American football and wrestling are two of the most intense physical contact sports in the US. Therefore, both have major concerns when it comes to performance and making sure athletes are taken care of regarding pain, concussions and other injuries.
In a recent appearance, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said no to medical cannabis, for now. "What we do is rely on our medical experts, and we have joint medical experts with the players’ association and the league,” he said at a fan forum just days before the Super Bowl.
“Those medical advisers have recommended that we not change our policy for marijuana use," added Goodell.
Tharpe is one of the first leaders of a major sport to publicly advocate for the use of medical marijuana for athletes.
Tharpe said in a statement, “I think it’s important for the owners of legitimate sports franchises like the NFL, the NBA and the NBL and for sports entertainment groups like the WWE to stand up and take an honest look at cannabis as a legitimate form of alternative medicine."
At the NFL Q&A, Goodell gave a glimmer of hope for his footballers looking to use cannabis as an alternative medicine, according to CBS. “We’ll follow that [research] closely and if for some reason we believe that there’s a change and there’s a [potential benefit to our players] and it’s supported by research and facts, then we’ll support it,” he said.
Tharpe continued to praise medical marijuana in his statement, denouncing the undeserved stigma associated with the plant.
“The negative stigma of marijuana use needs to disappear in this country," said Tharpe,"That’s why the National Wrestling Alliance is taking a progressive public position toward the advocacy of medicinal cannabis use by wrestlers and other athletes for the treatment of pain."