Torch writers debate the issue of marijuana use in athletics

By Justin Aiken and Ben Rettinhouse

With football season well and over with, one controversy still looms over the future of professional football. Medical marijuana.

Pete Carroll, head coach of the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, recently brought forth the idea of exploring the options of medical marijuana for football players. I say, why not?

Medical marijuana isn’t a performance enhancing drug. It isn’t HGH. It isn’t Adderall, which members of the Seahawks’ secondary had been suspended for during the regular season. It’s a drug that can be useful in treating head injuries, body aches, and other such injuries. It’s something that can be used to help the athletes relax and recover from one of the most dangerous sports in the world.

The fact of the matter is some players are going to use marijuana throughout the season to help cope with any injuries they may have. The NFL tests for marijuana usage one time every year, during training camp. It isn’t a drug that is tested for during the regular season like steroids and other performance enhancing drugs are. So again I say, why not give it a shot?

Former players have recently spoken out about the usage of marijuana during their playing career, including former Denver Broncos wide receiver Nate Jackson. Jackson told reporters he had smoked pot as a painkilling alternative during the season. Jackson said his body would start to break down during the long, grueling season and weed helped ease the pain.

The NFL has put much emphasis in the past couple years on player safety. Officials want to make the game safer for athletes in the long run. If former players have admittedly used marijuana as a way to deal with the stress they feel on their body throughout the season, why haven’t officials put more thought into this?

Football is one of the more dangerous sports in the U.S., and the future of the game relies on advancements in medicine. Medical marijuana could be the tip of the iceberg in the progression of player safety. In the end, with testing of marijuana happening one time a year, players are going to smoke weed regardless of the rules and regulations throughout the season. I feel like this is something the NFL should give a shot. What’s the worst that can happen?


The case for the medicinal use of marijuana has been made by several doctors of repute. So I’m not going say I don’t believe them; I’m just a touch skeptical. However, I’ll say I’ve been injured once in my life before and I wasn’t saved by the healing power of pot. My pain was alleviated through modern medicine, not by lighting up.

I’ve found more often than not, that the case for the legalization of marijuana is being made mostly by those who smoke it on a regular basis. This is all good and I have nothing against marijuana, per se, it’s just the lifestyle of those who smoke it. I find most open pot smokers to be the types of lay-abouts who can’t handle the grown up world and so have to “cope” by doing drugs that most mature people stop doing at 17. But hey, whatever works for them.

However, the use of marijuana in sports grinds my gears to an exceptional level. Before continuing with the argument I’ll note that I’m talking specifically about college level athletes, as I know and care very little about professional sports.

Athletes playing for a college team are here almost always with the help of some sort of scholarship. This is fine as sports are a source of pride and we want to collect the best athletes we can. However, those athletes with scholarships that pay for their education should be held to a higher standard than the rest of the student body. If they’re essentially being paid to play for Ferris, then, in my humble opinion, they should focus all their energy on playing, not lighting up.

It is not my intent to point fingers at the various sports teams around campus as if to say, “clearly they’re all smoking weed.” I’m sure we have nothing but dedicated players who wouldn’t dream of negatively affecting their performance with a substance as juvenile and too mild for the risk as marijuana. But on the off chance there is, I urge them to consider this: it’s not worth it.

Marijuana is not a performance enhancing substance; it’s quite the opposite. Furthermore, college athletes risk being kicked off the team and losing their scholarships for smoking. Consider the risk before toking up.