Why is the NFL Still Suspending for Weed?

Patriots DT Alan Branch is now suspended for four games due to testing positive for marijuana use. Let me start off by saying he’s an idiot. It’s not like you get suspended in the NFL for just taking a hit off of a joint. You actually have to fail four, yes FOUR, times before you miss games. Dude, you make millions of dollars. Put down the pipe for a few months. Once you retire in a few years, you’ll have plenty of time to get high. Hell, stay in Massachusetts and you can smoke it legally.

But the NFL is also complicit in this charade. This isn’t a PED. This isn’t cheating. Nobody’s gaining a competitive advantage by doing bong hits. When is the NFL going to wake up and realize that they’re only hurting their product by taking such a hard stance on what is rapidly becoming an accepted recreational practice in the U.S?

I understand that the NFL is concerned with image. What multi-billion dollar corporation wouldn’t be? But at the same time, Major League Baseball doesn’t suspend for weed use (their minor leagues do, but that’s another story for another time), and baseball hasn’t had image problems like the NFL has in recent years. In fact, in the past 10 years baseball hasn’t had really any image issues now that they test for steroids, while the NFL has had problems with domestic abuse, concussions, work stoppage, and cheating scandals to name a few. They’re only drawing more negative publicity for including marijuana in their drug policy.

But I think my biggest problem with it is that these players put their bodies through absolute hell over the course of a 16 game schedule. If they want to smoke some pot to help dull the pain and relax their muscles, then let them do it. Many of them will have brain injuries so horrifying that they’ll be shells of themselves by age 50. Why can’t we just let them enjoy themselves while their young?

My hope is that this issue is resolved during the next CBA negotiations. It will probably be used as a bargaining chip by the league in some crooked way to add 2 more games to the regular season at the behest of the players. Leave it to the NFL to screw up potentially good PR.