Punishing Athletes for Marijuana Use Foul

Jeremy WContributor IJuly 16, 2010

SEATTLE, WA - APRIL 16:  Karl Farstad of Lab Corp. talks to prospective customers of drug testing kits at the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA) annual conference on April 16, 2004 in Seattle, Washington.  The conference gives the opportunity drug and alcohol testing service providers to learn about new products and see new technologies available to them.  (Phhoto by Ron Wurzer/Getty Images)
Ron Wurzer/Getty Images

In light of North Carolina's Quan Sturdivant’s recent arrest for marijuana, I wondered why athletes are punished for this?

I do not mean punished in a sense of the law.

Whether we agree with the laws of the land or not, they are what they are. I mean punished as in suspended from playing, placed in substance abuse programs, and the like.

Just because a player uses alcohol does not mean he needs rehab or to be placed in counseling and suspended from play.

It is common knowledge across the board to people from different walks of life, that marijuana while illegal, is not really any more dangerous than alcohol, and some would argue safer.

If anything is interfering with someone’s life then they should remove that, be it drugs, alcohol, people, or anything that impedes functioning normally and productively.

If Player A is on drugs or alcohol and it is interfering with his play and it's common knowledge it is becoming a problem, then by all means, act on that person.

If Player B is using the same substances but is performing normally and productively, why should he be subject to the same punishments or treatments as Player A?

It is a walk in futility, like a person who does not have a drinking problem but through a certain series of events ends up in alcohol abuse counseling to satisfy an employer or the courts.

He or she doesn’t really belong in there but there is no other option.

Not everything is black and white; in fact, usually things are different shades of gray.

Quan Sturdivant was caught with marijuana, and he probably does not have a problem with the drug. He could be abusing it, but I doubt it.

He is an All-ACC Performer, Butkus Finalist, and projected to go in the early rounds of next April’s draft.

By all accounts, he is not a troublemaker but still will be considered of questionable character simply because he smokes marijuana.