Former Denver Broncos tight end Nate Jackson has been a staunch advocate for the legalization of marijuana in the NFL. Jackson thinks the NFL should allow its players to use marijuana for self-medicating purposes.
"I feel like I exited the game with my mind intact. And I credit that to marijuana in a lot of ways and not getting hooked on these pain pills that are recklessly distributed in the league when a guy gets an injury," Jackson said at a marijuana business conference, in remarks reported by the Associated Press.
Jackson is right. We hear of so many stories about guys getting addicted to pain killers and ruining their lives because of it. In 2014, 1,300 former players sued the NFL over teams routinely dispensing pain killers and ruining their lives. We never hear about marijuana killing a player. Marijuana, for self-medicating purposes, should be allowed in the league.
There have also been stories that team physicians have withheld injury information and have just handed out pain pills like they're candy to keep players on the field. Because NFL players are tested only once a year for street drugs, Jackson says the majority of the players already smoke weed.
"They're aware that probably over half of their players smoke weed," Jackson said. "They've been doing it since they were teenagers. The fact that they've been doing it that whole time and still made it to the NFL and are able to satisfy the demands of very, very strict employers on a daily basis means that their marijuana use is in check."
League spokesman Greg Aiello told The Associated Press on Wednesday: "At this time, the medical advisers to our drug program tell us that there is no need for medical marijuana to be prescribed to an NFL player."
If the league is scared that player performance would decrease, Jackson has a reminder for everyone.
"Michael Phelps is the best swimmer that the Earth has ever produced by far. And he smokes weed," Jackson said. "That should tell us something."