The Super Bowl is mere days away, and the NFL has yet another PR disaster on their hands. After a season where many players, coaches, and pundits have called for lifting the ban on players using cannabis, the National Football League again has egg on its face. The league is now scrambling after an email leak which confirms many critics’ worst fears. Namely, there is a widespread conspiracy within the NFL to keep players on pills and off marijuana.
The Atlanta Falcons, heading to their second Super Bowl appearance this weekend, have filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL. Representatives from the Falcons have reportedly been extremely concerned about Falcons’ player and trainer abuse of opioids for years, dating as far back as 2010.
An email chain which began in 2010 between the Falcons’ top brass was made public. It shows that the Falcons, “spent $81,000 on prescriptions for medications for players in 2009 — nearly three times the league average,” the Washington Post reported earlier this week. The league average is estimated to be $30,000 per team, but who knows how much pill-taking goes on off the official ledgers? Possibly too many to count.
These emails were entered into evidence in a class-action lawsuit by more than 1,800 former NFL players. The lawsuit (Evans v. Arizona Cardinals Football Club), filed in the Northern District of California, alleges that NFL trainers distributed prescription drugs carelessly. It also claims NFL franchises have been doing this since at least 1964. That’s a long time.
The suit also alleges that NFL teams further violated federal laws which detail how to properly store and keep accurate records of such drugs. A similar case (Dent v. 2014) was dismissed in 2014. So this suit is promising at least in the sense that it is making these dirty little NFL secrets a matter of public record via discovery.
The Fight For Cannabis vs. Big Pharma and Big Business
This news, of course, comes in light of a national painkiller epidemic, as opioid-related fatalities have now surpassed automobile-related deaths in America. Pain pills and heroin are killing people throughout the country at historically high levels. It’s nothing short of mass murder via overdose.
Many Americans and American institutions have been considering alternatives to massively addictive painkillers. And many think cannabis could be the panacea. While some professional sports leagues investigate and study alternatives, the NFL is the most draconian and least likely to budge. The NFL will probably not lift the marijuana ban anytime soon. But given enough pressure, they might cave over time.
We’ve previously covered how NFL players are switching to THC en masse despite the ban. And we’ve told the story of how the NFL has suspended players like Seantrel Henderson for using weed to treat Chron’s disease.
But there is some hope that one day we will see Big Pharma lose some of its choke hold on America that is literally killing us by the thousands.
If you think NFL players should be able to use marijuana, you have a few choices. You can email the league office and tell them how you feel. Or find some other mode of delivering that message. Or you can boycott the Super Bowl. Because the league really only cares about two things: ratings and merchandising deals.
From concussions to painkillers to mental health, it’s clear the NFL does not care about the people whose lives are at risk.