In Defense of Ricky Williams: The NFL's Flawed Drug Policy

Chris RadezSenior Writer INovember 15, 2007

Icon Sports MediaOn December 14th, 2006, Tank Johnson was arrested after police raided his home in Gurnee, Illinois.

Prosecutors said officers found three rifles, three handguns, and assorted ammunition. Johnson was charged with 10 counts of possession of firearms without a state gun-owner identification card.

Less than two months later, he played in Super Bowl XLI.

Ricky Williams, meanwhile, was reinstated by the NFL earlier this week after an 18-month suspension for violating the league's drug policy.

He tested positive for marijuana.

Hang on a second...marijuana?

I'd be surprised if you could find one person who'd say smoking pot will enhance a person's ability to perform on the football field, or someone who thinks carrying a pigskin while high is a threat to public safety.

If nothing else, it's obvious that Williams' sin was far less grievous than Johnson's.  

So why the draconian penalty for Ricky?

I understand that Williams is a multiple offender, but smoking dope isn't even a misdemeanor crime. And if you're gonna go there...shouldn't painkiller addicts and alcoholics be reprimanded as well?

Brett Favre admitted to having a painkiller addiction back in 1996. Where's his suspension?

More to the point, does the NFL really even have any business at all testing for a drug like marijuana?

The NFL doesn't rule on other crimes committed by football players until court decisions are handed down, and the Commissioner generally isn't in the business of running random background checks.

Why should Ricky Williams get harsher treatment?

I struggle to see the logic—especially given that Tank Johnson is currently a Dallas Cowboy.

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