DeMaurice Smith Says NFLPA Will Present Player Marijuana Use Proposal to League

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 2017

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 30:  DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the National Football League Players Association, speaks during an NFLPA press conference prior to Super Bowl XLVIII on January 30, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

DeMaurice Smith, president of the National Football League Players Association, said on ESPN's Outside The Lines Wednesday the players' union will discuss with the NFL the possible therapeutic use of marijuana by players. 

During an interview on Mike & Mike, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reiterated his belief marijuana use had too many negative consequences for players to be approved by the league. Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith transcribed Goodell's comments:

I think you still have to look at a lot of aspects of marijuana use. Is it something that can be negative to the health of our players? Listen, you’re ingesting smoke, so that’s not usually a very positive thing that people would say. It does have addictive nature. There are a lot of compounds in marijuana that may not be healthy for the players long-term. All of those things have to be considered.

Smith made a similar stance in March, saying the NFL should consider whether a player is using marijuana for the purposes of pain management or to help cope mentally with the rigors of the NFL rather than recreational usage.

Jake Plummer, a 10-year veteran of the NFL, and Eugene Monroe, who played in the league for seven years, have become vocal proponents of therapeutic marijuana use as an alternative to the opioids team physicians offer players.

ESPN's John Barr cited a study by researchers at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine that included 644 retired NFL players. Among that group, 52 percent admitted to using prescription painkillers during their playing careers, and 71 percent of that group misused the painkillers they received.

The researchers also found "retired NFL players misuse opioid pain medications at a rate more than four times that of the general population," per Barr.

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