The National Football League’s (NFL) current policy is such that when a player is convicted of a cannabis possession offense that player is suspended by the NFL. One example of that, as previously mentioned by the Uncle Cliffy team, was Green Bay Packers receiver Geronimo Allison. Allison was suspended by the NFL after being caught with a personal amount of cannabis in Wisconsin.

Had Geronimo Allison been caught with a personal amount of cannabis in Colorado, Washington State, Washington D.C., Oregon, Alaska, California, Nevada, Maine, or Massachusetts he would have been free to go on his way and never would have been suspended. Had Geronimo Allison been a registered medical cannabis patient in the more than two dozen states that have legalized cannabis for medical use and been caught with a personal amount of cannabis, he also would not have received any punishment from law enforcement or the NFL.

But because Geronimo Allison was caught in a prohibition state, he was convicted of a cannabis offense, and then suspended by the NFL. Allison was convicted of violating a public policy (and with it, an NFL policy) that involves institutional racism. As the Uncle Cliffy team has pointed out many times in the past, cannabis prohibition has a disproportionate impact on minority communities.

Another Green Bay Packers player was recently involved in a similar situation as Mr. Allison. Green Bay Packers tight end Lance Kendricks was charged this week with cannabis possession after he was previously pulled over for speeding and the investigating officer subsequently found a personal amount of cannabis in Kendricks’ vehicle.

Kendricks will likely plead guilty to the cannabis charge. As with Geronimo Allison’s situation, had Lance Kendricks been caught with a personal amount of cannabis in a legal state he would have been free to go on with his day. But since he was caught in Wisconsin, which prohibits cannabis, he was charged.

Wisconsin’s cannabis prohibition policy is particularly harmful to the African American community. Nationally, African Americans are almost four times as likely to be arrested for cannabis compared to Caucasians, even though consumption rates are relatively the same between races. In Wisconsin, African Americans are six times as likely to be arrested for cannabis.

If Lance Kendricks does plead guilty to the cannabis charge, he will likely face the same penalty from the NFL that his teammate did. If the NFL suspends Kendricks, it will once again be perpetuating institutional racism. If an African American NFL player (such as Lance Kendricks) is six times as likely to be arrested for cannabis off the field, then he is also six times as likely to be suspended by the NFL because of cannabis.

There is no debating that fact. The math clearly speaks for itself. What is likely to happen to Lance Kendricks (and has already happened to Geronimo Allison and many others), is unacceptable and should not be tolerated. It should serve as an unfortunate example of why NFL players need to demand a complete end to cannabis prohibition in the league, and why athletes in other leagues should demand nothing short of the same thing.