One would think that today, in an age where 33 states and the District of Columbia currently have passed laws broadly legalizing marijuana in some form, that conversation of its consumption wouldn’t break news.
But here we are.
Earlier this week on Wednesday, former Super Bowl champion Chris Long took to Twitter to share his disappointment in having to break to his three-year-old son that he sometimes indulges in, as he wrote, the “devils lettuce.”
“Typical day. Get on an interview to talk retirement,” he starts. Get asked about NFL drug testing and I end up admitting I smoke the devil’s lettuce sometimes. The worst part is my three-year-old son sees it on his timeline before I can give him “the talk.” Emotionally drained,” he tweeted.
Typical day. Get on an interview to talk retirement. Get asked about NFL drug testing and I end up admitting I smoke the devil’s lettuce sometimes. Worst part is my three year old son sees it on his timeline before I can give him “the talk.” Emotionally drained.
— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) May 23, 2019
The interview Long was referring to was from his appearance on The Dan Patrick Show. He admitted he used marijuana during his career, along with other players. Still, he refused to put a number on the number of players in the league that did toke.
“I’m not a dry snitch, I’m not going to put a percentage on how much the league smokes, but I certainly enjoyed my fair share on a regular basis throughout my career,” he said.
“So, you know, and I was never afraid to say that and I’m able to say it more explicitly now: if not for that, I’m not as capable of coping with the stressors of day-to-day NFL life. A lot of guys get a lot of pain management out of it. Toradol did more pain management for me.”
Long went on to say that it’s his belief the league should allow the use of marijuana, which he says is less harmful than alcohol and tobacco.
“We should be headed to a place where we allow players to enjoy what I would not even call a drug — it’s far less dangerous than guzzling a fifth of alcohol and going out after a game,” Long said.
“Chances are the player won’t even make it to the club [laughs] to do this sort of thing that we all kind of wag our finger at when we hear about a guy getting in a fight or getting a DUI, you’re never going to read about him sitting on the couch and binge-watching ‘Game of Thrones’ again…”
Long continued, ‘”I think from a standpoint of what’s safer for people and the player, certainly people in the spotlight, it is far less harmful than alcohol, it is far less harmful than tobacco, and at various points in the league’s history, they have engaged in partnerships on different levels with those respective industries.”
The now retired 34-year old who was the former No. 2 overall pick back in 2008, recorded 70 sacks and won two Super Bowls during his 11-year career, was left defending his mentions Wednesday, all for something that is highly used today.
When did marijuana become "good" for you? Crazy how fast certain narratives move in our society with little or no scientific proof.
Is it better than opioids? Probably.
But let's slow down treating weed like a wonder drug with no downside risks
— Danny Kanell (@dannykanell) May 23, 2019
Maybe if you found other ways to cope than smoking weed, your 3 year old wouldn’t have to see such comments. BTW, there are NO replicable, respected clinical studies that validate the premise that smoking cannabis is effective for pain management.
— George Tvardy (@George_T100) May 23, 2019
Honestly, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. The moment Chris Long retired, he was on the frontlines advocating for the league to allow the use of marijuana as pain medication or to treat stress.
Not to mention, Long was also one of the most woke players in the league using his platform to create positivity in the community. He was even awarded the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for his off the field work.
Additionally, he isn’t the first major-sport athlete to come out and do the same.
Karl Anthony Towns, Matt Barnes, Stephen Jackson and many more have all come out and said they smoked during their careers and that it’s a great alternative to pharmaceuticals when recovering.
Former NBA All-Star, Al Harrington, has even gone as far as to talk to former commissioner David Stern about lifting to ban in the NBA as well as opening his own dispensary.
As this news cycle dies out, the NFL, as well as every major league, still will be presented with the task of how to manage the fast-changing policy on the once completely illegal drug as well as the public’s perception, which has dramatically changed as well.
We’ve seen Ice Cube’s BIG3 become the first pro team to use a marijuana ingredient with success. Plus, the mass legalization of marijuana for recreational use across all states seems inevitable. Still, I’m not quite sure Chris Long’s admittance would cause a stir.
Hopefully, more athletes like Chris come forward in helping destigmatize what athletes feel is good for them.