Earlier in the week, the historically conservative National Football League announced that it would begin to look into cannabis as a treatment option for pain relief. Under the new endeavor, the NFL and the NFL Players Association would form a pair of joint committees that would focus on pain management as well as mental health and wellness.
Recently retired defensive end Chris Long—a member of the last two Super Bowl teams, the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots—lent his two cents on the matter in an interview with the Philly Voice. While his stance, like many ex-players, was pro-marijuana, the former first overall pick wasn’t shy about his own personal use during his time in the NFL.
Because apparently, it was quite a lot.
Chris Long Admits to Smoking Weed During his Playing Days
“I think — 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. I was never afraid to say that, but I’m able to say it more explicitly now. Listen, 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.”
While Long was coy about his former colleagues’ own usage, his position appears to be one that is shared by the majority of NFL players, both former and current. Most notably, ex-Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman David Irving, who also retired from the league back in March, cited the NFL’s no-nonsense marijuana policy as the driving force behind his radical decision.
While smoking a blunt, Irving took to Instagram to announce that he would, essentially, be choosing weed over football.
“I appreciate all my true fans who appreciate me,” he said on his Instagram live feed. “Football does not define me, I’m still a person. I’m still a human being.
“Plants over pills,” he added before signing off.
NFL Making Concessions?
Under the league’s current CBA, which is set to expire at the end of 2019, cannabis remains on the banned substance list. But league sources believe that the NFL will ultimately give way to cannabis usage amongst players—something that already appears to be underway, given the recent discussions for a pair of joint committees. The early stages of said discussions appear to be cordial on both sides.
Long himself believes that the NFL’s decision should be a no-brainer—especially considering the vast amount of brand sponsorships they’ve received from big-name tobacco and alcohol companies. Most notably, Anheuser-Busch, whose “Dilly-Dilly” commercials have become a staple of NFL Sundays.
“I think, from a standpoint of what’s safer for the people and the player, and certainly people in the spotlight, it is far less harmful than alcohol,” Long said Wednesday. “It is far less harmful than tobacco. And at various points in the league’s history, they have engaged in partnerships with those respective industries.”
And besides, ifAnheuser-Busch can claim a stake in the cannabis industry, why can’t the NFL?