The Dallas Cowboys were the most valuable team in professional sports in 2016 according to Forbes, being valued at roughly 4 billion dollars. With some young, talented players on their roster, the Dallas Cowboys are likely to be worth even more in the future. The Cowboys are often referred to as ‘America’s team’ due to their popularity, and for NFL fans, you likely either love the Cowboys or you hate them.
The owner of the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones, is one of the most high profile figures in the sports world. Mr. Jones has always been very outspoken, and never been one to shy away from controversy. Jerry is a larger than life figure and has been a staple of the NFL community for a long time. His opinion carries a lot of weight in the league. So it was a pleasant surprise when news broke early last month that Jerry Jones had expressed strong support for ending cannabis prohibition in the NFL.
Few details emerged from the meeting in which Jerry Jones had expressed support at, other than that it was a meeting for team owners, and that Jerry seemed very passionate about the need to reform the NFL’s cannabis laws. The news led to a lot of speculation and discussion, some constructive and some not. Clarification on the matter came today when Cowboys Vice President Stephen Jones made extensive comments about the need to ‘heavily scrutinize’ the league’s cannabis policy and look for ways to better handle cannabis use by players. Per Dallas News:
“I think Jerry’s opinion, my opinion, is this program, this system has been in place for a long time. I think it needs to be heavily scrutinized in terms of its results.
“Is it helping players in terms of their accountability? And, obviously, addiction is a sickness and you want to make sure — obviously, there’s accountability but it’s also a program that helps players get better. I think personally, I know Jerry and I think that it might could be done better and we just need to take a look at it. Like I said, it’s been the same program that’s been in place for many, many years and I think all things to do with the NFL, we should all want the very best for our players. We should want the very best for our organizations and we should want the very best for our fans, and that’s anything that has to do with the NFL.
“In my opinion, we should take a long hard look at how we’re doing this and see if there’s a way, a better way to do it. What that is, I don’t have the answer. But we have a lot of smart people that can get in there and analyze something and really make some good decisions and see if there need to be changes.”
“When you re-look at the whole program, I think you should take a look at every aspect of it. From the testing to the discipline to the amounts, anything to do with this. At the end of the day our goal should be to help players who have sicknesses and addictions and make them better people off the field, and then how we go about that I think is what needs to be looked at and make sure we’re doing everything the best way we can do it. Obviously, when you look at something like that you have to look at, ‘How do we do it in society right now? How does that affect the way a player sees his situation in that lens?’ And then make decisions based on that.”
Cannabis prohibition has been in place in America since 1937. Use has not been eliminated, not by a long shot. The same is true in the NFL and other leagues that prohibit cannabis. Players are going to use cannabis, and rightfully so (assuming they are 21 or older). Cannabis is safer than alcohol, is safer than opioid painkillers, possesses numerous medical benefits, and has been studied more than Hydrocodone, Toradol, and Tylenol – combined.
Cannabis is legal for adult use in 8 states and Washington D.C.. Vermont is on the verge of legalizing cannabis for adult use via the legislative process. More states are gathering signatures for ballot initiatives for the 2018 election, such as Michigan. The NFL has a cannabis testing threshold that is more than four times as strict as the Olympics. Meaning that someone like Usain Bolt, who has tested positive for cannabis in the past, could have four times as much cannabis in his system as an NFL player and be fine, but the NFL player would be suspended even if the consumption was completely legal by some state’s standards. How does that make any sense?
The Uncle Cliffy team is hopeful that the conversation will continue, and that more professional sports teams’ leadership will step up in support of cannabis reform as the Dallas Cowboys have done. Cannabis prohibition doesn’t just harm the players, it harms the teams too. Fans want to see their athletes in competition, and not serving a suspension because of an outdated policy based off of the failed political views of the past. Obviously there is a better way. Free the plant!
image via ATTStadium.com