HairOnFire Posted May 24, 2007 Report Share Posted May 24, 2007 Weeding through NFL pot policyBy Mark Kiszla Denver Post Staff ColumnistArticle Last Updated: 05/23/2007 11:53:04 PM MDTLet's be blunt. If the NFL suspended every player who smoked marijuana, then on any given Sunday the number of athletes making touchdowns would be reduced significantly by the blunt-burners sent home to bake brownies. In a game smeared with too many ugly headlines involving lawyers, guns and bail money, doesn't the league have worse things to worry about than if a player is using marijuana? "It's crazy," Broncos running back Travis Henry said Wednesday, sitting comfortably on a picnic table at team headquarters and talking frankly about being suspended four games by the league in 2005 for smoking pot. "My opinion on it? I think a lot of people do it. A lot of people do it, but if you get caught, that's who is going to get fingered and pointed out. They're going to make an example of you." NFL commissioner Roger Goodell seems bent on cleaning up his game, booting players who are not good Boy Scouts. Bravo for him. But if the league wants to wage a war on drugs, let's concentrate on steroids or human growth hormone and not worry about spilled bong water. Unless a linebacker is plopped on the couch and listening to Radiohead, it's hard to imagine marijuana as a performance-enhancing drug. In dangerous times, when Chicago Bears defender Tank Johnson was allowed to travel to the Super Bowl after being accused of storing a small arsenal of guns under his roof, should big brother really be concerned about which NFL players are blasting the chronic? "C'mon, let's be serious," said Henry, who believes NFL officials know player use of marijuana is far from uncommon. "I know they know." Of course, marijuana is not legal, despite what your nostrils might have suggested the last time you attended a concert at Red Rocks. But in an era when baseball cannot pin steroid use on Barry Bonds and there's tainted blood staining the Tour de France, it seems maybe football should view Ricky Williams and his ganja habit as a dopey joke rather than a serious threat. We bring this up because, fair or not, our local NFL franchise has marijuana issues of its own. The Broncos might not be America's team. More like Jamaica's team, if you ask the hecklers destined to serenade Denver's arrival to stadiums across the country with renditions of "Legalize It." In addition to showing Henry the money as a free agent, coach Mike Shanahan also drafted Florida defensive lineman Jarvis Moss and Marcus Thomas, who both got in trouble with marijuana as members of the Gators. In a country where studies suggest more than 50 million Americans have tried marijuana, I say let the first baby boomer who has never inhaled cast the first stone. But I also hear the complaints of concerned parents who think football heroes should be held to a higher standard. "In my case, I got caught. So I'll deal with it. Gotta walk a straight line. I'm with it. I love football so much as to not (smoke). I'm not bitter," said Henry, who has lived for two years under the scrutiny of the NFL's substance-abuse program, which carries the real threat of a harsher punishment for a repeat offense. "Life ain't fair. But I'm not hating on nobody. I ain't mad at 'em. I made my bed. I'm laying in it. I know this organization is counting on me to walk that straight line. Shanahan went out on a limb for me." Trouble seems to be stalking the Broncos of late. Or has the team taken too many foolish risks? After Denver receiver David Kircus was charged with second-degree assault for allegedly beating a man during a party at 3:20 a.m., there will be no rush to judgment here. But it was a sad reminder. Did the murder of cornerback Darrent Williams not teach the Broncos it's dangerous out in the street? Might be safer for a football player to stay at home, lock the doors and burn a blunt. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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