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Dungy explains league’s concern about players who use marijuana

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We’ve wondered for years about the league’s decision to ban off-field marijuana use (on-field use would be interesting, to say the least) among its players.  We asked former Bucs and Colts coach Tony Dungy, now of NBC’s Football Night in America, to explain why the league is concerned about the issue.

“Well, number one, Mike, it’s against the law,” Dungy said.  “So, if you are found with marijuana in your possession, you’re going to have some legal consequences.  So if I’m a coach, I want to be careful about drafting guys who I know are going to have marijuana in their possession.”

Dungy also explained that marijuana can lead to other types of drugs.

The broader point is that teams need the information, and that they then can factor it into the decision regarding whether to draft or sign a player who uses marijuana.  “It is just another indicator,” Dungy said.  “It’s not the be-all, end-all.”

Our entire visit with Dungy, who talked at length about the Scouting Combine and about safety Bob Sanders, the Hall of Fame process, and Mike Vick’s decision not to go on The Oprah Winfrey Show, can be seen at the PFT Live home page.

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55 Responses to “Dungy explains league’s concern about players who use marijuana”
  1. baseballstars says: Feb 22, 2011 4:12 PM

    I’m sick of hearing about how marijuana is a gateway drug. IF that’s true, then it’s because the government made it into a gateway drug. Usually drug usage either starts with cigarettes or alcohol, then marijuana. A lot of people eventually try pot, then find out that it’s nowhere near as big of a deal as they were lead to believe. They realize it’s just propaganda, then decide to try other drugs. Maybe one day those who purposely skew the truth to keep the tobacco and alcohol lobby happy will die off and sanity can return to our society. Anyone who says alcohol is safer than marijuana is a fool of the highest degree.

    Saying marijuana is a gateway drug is like saying milk is a gateway to alcoholism.

  2. njsteeler says: Feb 22, 2011 4:17 PM

    I could be wrong, but I think the first thing most people start off with is the alcohol in their home, or a friends house. Stop calling weed the “gateway drug”. That title should go to alcohol in my opinion.

  3. mickmars says: Feb 22, 2011 4:26 PM

    From upon high, if Saint Tony sayeth, therefore it must be true

  4. giablommi says: Feb 22, 2011 4:29 PM

    “Well, number one, Mike, it’s against the law,”
    ^^^^^
    You have to love how something that grows from the ground, is completely NATURAL and which is a proven MEDICINE which provides therapeutic relief to folks suffering from a wide variety of diseases and symptoms (cancer, glaucoma, nausea, the list goes on and on) is illegal.

  5. dgforreal says: Feb 22, 2011 4:30 PM

    I’m sick of hearing about how marijuana is a gateway drug. IF that’s true, then it’s because the government made it into a gateway drug. Usually drug usage either starts with cigarettes or alcohol, then marijuana. A lot of people eventually try pot, then find out that it’s nowhere near as big of a deal as they were lead to believe. They realize it’s just propaganda, then decide to try other drugs. Maybe one day those who purposely skew the truth to keep the tobacco and alcohol lobby happy will die off and sanity can return to our society. Anyone who says alcohol is safer than marijuana is a fool of the highest degree.

    Saying marijuana is a gateway drug is like saying milk is a gateway to alcoholism.

    Well said.

  6. yahmule says: Feb 22, 2011 4:34 PM

    Tony Dungy is an agenda driven idiot on a plethora of subjects. Funny looking, too.

  7. jlb10 says: Feb 22, 2011 4:39 PM

    curious how they would explain it away if the player lives somewhere such as denver where medical marijuana is legal and the player actually had a card/prescription? then it is no longer legal what then tony?

  8. rooster1975 says: Feb 22, 2011 4:40 PM

    Dungy failed to address the root cause of the league’s marijuana ban, which, like the CBA negotiations, comes down to money.

    Internal studies on the impact of marijuana use by players conducted by several teams projected an unacceptable increase in food expenditures during the season. For example, snack expenses for the team charter would have skyrocketed, trailing only jet fuel as the single biggest cost item for road trips.

  9. hobartbaker says: Feb 22, 2011 4:44 PM

    Tony handed Mike a copy of “Reefer Madness”, asked him to watch it and draw his own conclusions.

  10. dilberry says: Feb 22, 2011 4:44 PM

    milk is a gateway to chocolate milk

  11. hobartbaker says: Feb 22, 2011 4:45 PM

    Tony couldn’t come up with strong scientific evidence about harmful effects of the drug, but he didn’t approve of it because “It’s so 70s.”.

  12. Darth Goodell says: Feb 22, 2011 4:48 PM

    Hah, everyone knows the real gateway drug is caffeine. Every degenerate drug addict I’ve seen was into Pepsi-Cola or coffee before anything else.

  13. giablommi says: Feb 22, 2011 4:52 PM

    “curious how they would explain it away if the player lives somewhere such as denver where medical marijuana is legal and the player actually had a card/prescription? then it is no longer legal what then tony?”
    ^^^^^
    Tony doesn’t believe in that “marijuana is medicine” hype.

    What Tony would say is that all you need is the lord Jesus Christ in your life. He will heal all that ails you.

    After all marijuana is illegal, and if it’s illegal, then it must be immoral.

  14. lunarpie says: Feb 22, 2011 4:57 PM

    Tobacco, alchohol. Weed is nothing compared to those two killers!

  15. geeeeemen says: Feb 22, 2011 4:58 PM

    marijuana usage should be mandatory for all college students

  16. macker1283 says: Feb 22, 2011 5:00 PM

    Why do sports leagues always feel like they have to create more problems for themselves? Why do they even need a “drug program?” Most private employers don’t have a drug program. If someones drug problem is bad enough that it effects their employment(play on the field), then nobody will hire them, or they will get fired, and the situation will work itself out. Its not like Nascar or something, where drug use could result in your death or someone elses death while playing the sport. What, they might drop a couple passes that they would ordinarily catch?

  17. simmnuts says: Feb 22, 2011 5:00 PM

    What about the dangerous painkillers that most coaches probably advocate for?

  18. chargerdillon says: Feb 22, 2011 5:06 PM

    Things done by NFL players that are against the law: Raping women, drinking and driving, vehicular manslaughter, Assault.

    All of which could’ve been avoided if they were busy relaxing and getting high.

  19. graphx14 says: Feb 22, 2011 5:08 PM

    This site truly is “ProFootball Girls Talk.”

  20. thegreenviking says: Feb 22, 2011 5:11 PM

    Marijuana is NOT a gateway drug. It’s irresponsible to report it and irresponsible for Coach Dungy to say so. There have been numerous large studies that disprove mj being a gateway. If I were an NFL owner would I rather have a boozer player that goes to night clubs and gets in trouble or a stoner who stays home giggling at the stupidest little thing?

    Adrian Peterson has been caught a couple times speeding way over the limit. Would his illegal activity keep Dungy away from having him on the team even if he’s one of the most beloved sports figures in Minnesota?

  21. pervyharvin says: Feb 22, 2011 5:15 PM

    Imagine how good Tom Brady could be stoned on marijuana. I was stoned as hell and broke the all time Asteroids and Space Invaders records at a bar back in the day. Was deadly accurate. Did however provide gateway to 4 chili foot longs and made me puke…

  22. jpmelon says: Feb 22, 2011 5:18 PM

    and in other news, the sky is in fact blue.

  23. chucknoll says: Feb 22, 2011 5:23 PM

    milk is the gateway drug to cereal

  24. JSpicoli says: Feb 22, 2011 5:24 PM

    I’d rather have 53 stoners than 53 drunks on my team.

  25. johnnyshore says: Feb 22, 2011 5:24 PM

    @baseballstars,

    “Saying marijuana is a gateway drug is like saying milk is a gateway to alcoholism.”

    How is this in anyway a logical comparison? I am not arguing for or against marijuana, but in regards to what you said, marijuana gets people high, as do other drugs. Milk is not intoxicating, alcohol is. There is clearly a flaw in your argument. If someone wants more of a high than marijuana is giving them, maybe they will reach for harder drugs. If someone loves milk, his search for more dairy products will not lead him towards alcohol.

  26. JSpicoli says: Feb 22, 2011 5:25 PM

    baseballstars says:
    Feb 22, 2011 4:12 PM
    I’m sick of hearing about how marijuana is a gateway drug. IF that’s true, then it’s because the government made it into a gateway drug. Usually drug usage either starts with cigarettes or alcohol, then marijuana. A lot of people eventually try pot, then find out that it’s nowhere near as big of a deal as they were lead to believe. They realize it’s just propaganda, then decide to try other drugs. Maybe one day those who purposely skew the truth to keep the tobacco and alcohol lobby happy will die off and sanity can return to our society. Anyone who says alcohol is safer than marijuana is a fool of the highest degree.

    Saying marijuana is a gateway drug is like saying milk is a gateway to alcoholism
    ————————————————–

    ^^^^this

  27. JSpicoli says: Feb 22, 2011 5:27 PM

    Breast feeding is the gateway to a career in pornos.

  28. knucklebucket says: Feb 22, 2011 5:33 PM

    Gateway drug? Seriously Tony…that’s what you’re going with? Look at the social effects of alcohol compared to pot (regardless of whether or not it is illegal in your state) and tell me your argument holds water.
    As far as I’m concerned these guys put such a hurting on their bodies that whatever they want to do off the field is their own business. I certainly wouldn’t want Saint Tony passing judgement on me as a player.

  29. trabovski says: Feb 22, 2011 5:35 PM

    It’s pretty much a proven fact that marijuana is not a gateway drug. Furthermore, it’s not illegal in some states under a certain amount, and not illegal with a doctor’s recommendation.

    Horse is dead, stop beating it.

  30. juancorsair says: Feb 22, 2011 5:40 PM

    Weed is far worse for your lungs than tobacco ever will be. Don’t think so? Check your BT bottle after an afternoon session and try to convince yourself that thick resin inside it is great for your lungs.

    As someone who smoked his fair sure in his teen years, I can safely say weed is a crappy buzz that makes you paranoid, withdrawn and alienated. I can’t imagine for the life of me how anyone thinks it induces a heightened state of awareness. As soon as I was old enough to get into bars, I dropped smoking that crap and fast. Stoners have to be among the most boring people I ever hung out with. Caveat emptor.

  31. mikemnz says: Feb 22, 2011 5:43 PM

    Everybody here smoke some marijuana and I guarantee you will not want to drive anywhere or beat somebody up. All your gonna wanna do is relax on the couch and watch a nfl game ad snack.

  32. 52crabcakes says: Feb 22, 2011 5:58 PM

    This is just stupid.

  33. onderin says: Feb 22, 2011 6:00 PM

    Chocolate milk is a gateway to chocolate ice cream…

  34. rudegger says: Feb 22, 2011 6:03 PM

    If there is a gateway drug, it is alcohol.
    However I wouldn’t want my players doing it during the season if I was the coach. You need short term memory for remember play calls, and a good attention. Just look at Braylon Edwards. If that isn’t chronically puffing a 1/4 ounce a day I’d be surprised.

  35. b1unt3d says: Feb 22, 2011 6:04 PM

    Tony would prefer you to force dogs to fight to the death than to use a relatively harmless plant recreationally.

  36. insertnamehere2 says: Feb 22, 2011 6:04 PM

    Hmmmn! I would have to assume that the majority PFTers are pro-weed!

  37. baseballstars says: Feb 22, 2011 6:26 PM

    @johnnyshore
    “How is this in anyway a logical comparison? I am not arguing for or against marijuana, but in regards to what you said, marijuana gets people high, as do other drugs. Milk is not intoxicating, alcohol is. There is clearly a flaw in your argument. If someone wants more of a high than marijuana is giving them, maybe they will reach for harder drugs. If someone loves milk, his search for more dairy products will not lead him towards alcohol.”

    Caffeine causes a behavioral reaction. I could have easily used that as an example. To label marijuana as a “gateway” is incredibly stupid propaganda. You could use ANY example you wanted, since almost all drug users have something in common (and drinking milk is one, sans those who were lactose intolerant). Whether or not something is mind-altering or intoxicating is irrelevant, the gateway argument has been proven to be false.

    And this is coming from a non-smoker. I don’t particularly like weed, it makes me feel out of control. I just don’t think other people should use the government as a tool to legislate outdated morality.

  38. worstwebsiteever says: Feb 22, 2011 6:28 PM

    I love how this is the one thing PFT community agrees on.

    Marijuana gets a bad rap due to an aggressive 60 year PR campaign against it, not from any rational arguments.

    My faith in society has been restored.

  39. JSpicoli says: Feb 22, 2011 6:29 PM

    Chocolate ice cream is the gateway to Neopolitan.

  40. radrntn says: Feb 22, 2011 6:34 PM

    what worse doing shots of Jack Daniels, or hitting the bong…. if it comes from a seed it can’t be all that bad

  41. r8r4life says: Feb 22, 2011 6:41 PM

    Tony, Tony, Tony, Alcohol, and Tobacco are far worse. They are killers. Marijuana has never been responsible for a smoking death. Nil, zilch. If the good Lord didn’t want you to partake in it, he would not have grown it. And if it was good enough for my Tio Geronimo, well then. All he did was take a few white man scalps, but they deserved it, in my humble opinion…..LOL

  42. opshuns says: Feb 22, 2011 6:45 PM

    Tony, did you play football in college? Of course, and with the big football dudes come the partying, which of course with your attitude you didn’t attend. Quit it. Did you find some misguided epiphany? I have been to the Stoneledge…

  43. timabu33 says: Feb 22, 2011 6:46 PM

    There’s nothing wrong with a little weed except some short term memory. What are we talking about anyway?

  44. thegreenviking says: Feb 22, 2011 6:47 PM

    @juancorsair
    “Weed is far worse for your lungs than tobacco ever will be. Don’t think so? Check your BT bottle after an afternoon session and try to convince yourself that thick resin inside it is great for your lungs.”

    Try again. A recent study by Dr Tashkin has confirmed that even though MJ has more tar then cigs it does not cause cancer, nor does it enhance cancer caused by tobacco. In fact there was a very small decrease in cancer for tobacco smokers who also smoked mj. The statistical significance wasn’t enough to conclude that MJ fights cancer caused by tobacco but the study clearly discovered mj has a statistically insignificant effect on lung cancer.

  45. cw480 says: Feb 22, 2011 6:48 PM

    No way is it a gateway………. Wait. What are we talking about again?

  46. j0esixpack says: Feb 22, 2011 6:56 PM

    College students smoking pot is no big deal

    That being said, if you’re a college student who could make tens of millions of dollars and put that in jeopardy by doing something illegal (even if it shouldn’t be) – that demonstrates poor judgement in the extreme

    I’d guess that coaches besides Dungy view poor judgment as a bigger issue than smoking pot

    Players that can convince a potential coach that, having been caught, will show better judgement in the future might be able to salvage some draft value and dollars for themselves

    Smart coaches know that there’s good value to be found among talented players who have been caught but will be smarter in the Pros

  47. terumiarai says: Feb 22, 2011 7:03 PM

    Gateway is a pc.

  48. insertnamehere2 says: Feb 22, 2011 10:12 PM

    All this BLOGGIN is making me hungry!!

  49. juancorsair says: Feb 23, 2011 10:19 AM

    thegreenviking says:
    Try again. A recent study by Dr Tashkin has confirmed that even though MJ has more tar then cigs it does not cause cancer, nor does it enhance cancer caused by tobacco. In fact there was a very small decrease in cancer for tobacco smokers who also smoked mj. The statistical significance wasn’t enough to conclude that MJ fights cancer caused by tobacco but the study clearly discovered mj has a statistically insignificant effect on lung cancer.

    The problem is that emphysema kills off far more smokers than lung cancer, and the tar in both marijuana and tobacco is the direct cause of it.

    Thank you for proving my point.

  50. jeffz303 says: Feb 23, 2011 5:09 PM

    “juancorsair says: Feb 22, 2011 5:40 PM

    Weed is far worse for your lungs than tobacco ever will be.”

    Does telling yourself that make you feel a little less stupid for using tobacco Juan? It shouldn’t, because your statement is factually completely wrong, and smoking cigarettes is about as healthy as flinging yourself off of tall buildings, it just takes a little longer to destroy your body (but not much).

    Do yourself a huge favor Juan, put down the cancer-sticks, get a good vaporizer, and use as much marijuana as you can–you’ll thank me for it in the long run.

  51. admirebucs says: Feb 24, 2011 5:05 AM

    There are two logics behind the gateway drug label. You try it before harder drugs and pushers sell both marijuana and other drugs so you might be offered other drugs when buying.

    The first one is silly to say the least…..That would make milk or beer a gateway drug as well.

    The second part would stop being a problem with the legalizing of marijuana.

  52. bucemdown says: Mar 10, 2011 5:30 PM

    Being a BUCS fan I appreciate everything coach Dungy (the goblin) did for the frachise! He is a great coach but is also a sort of “holy roller” who is all about GOD and religion. That being said, I wouldn’t think his opinion on marijuana use would be relevent. I totally agree with the first person to comment, marijuana is not as dangerous as alcohol or narcotics. I have never seen a man beat his wife or crash his car because of smoking a splif! I do agree that it can cause munchies and lazyness and smoke isn’t good for our lungs but that is as far as it goes in my opinion. I think it’s silly that Player get suspended for 4games-a whole season for testing positive for something that is considered medication in many states. Its not a drug that will give anyone a advantage unless the advantage is being funny of creative. I think in this situation the NFL should have some common sense and give us all a break! I don’t know for sure but I believe that marijuana is why Tanard Jackson was suspended for the year, I don’t think that is right!

  53. sammy70 says: Apr 3, 2011 1:09 PM

    I like Dungy, but he is clearly brainwashed. Its illegal is some states, so is running a red light, speeding on the interstate, and sexual assault, but only if you get caught? What else could he possibly say and still keep the checks a coming? You can be a full blown tweaker, pain med abuser, child molester, or alcoholic in professional athletics and nobody cares. Travel across state lines with a little weed and now we have a problem? Marijuana remains illegal, yet it is the single largest agricultural commodity our country produces? After some time in college most people including potential NFL draftees see right through and ignore the hypocrisy. Dungy has no voice, he is being politically correct rather than taking the moral high road. Not the traits of a real leader.

  54. sammy70 says: Apr 3, 2011 1:21 PM

    Juan, due some DD, rather that spouting unsubstantiated drivel.

    If vaporized properly 98+ % of harmful components remain harmless, nearly pure medicine. When ingested, 100% pure medicine and a little fiber. Combustion, the actually burning is responsible for any health risks, yet easily avoided.

  55. jsrdc says: Apr 19, 2012 5:56 PM

    juancorsair,

    What a maroon. You don’t have a point, execpt for the one coming out of the top of your head. Marijuana has minimal tar in it, #1. #2, tar only becomes an issue when you smoke enough of tobacco or MJ to make a difference. smoking 20 J’s a day? Who does that? Plenty of people smoke a pack a day, and that is where the tar comes from.

    MJ is bastardized for ridiculous reasons, and has medicinal uses above and beyond the poisons put out on the market by the “legal” drug pushers. And with little to no side effects, MJ is one of the best medicinal plant drugs out there.

    If the drug companies were able to patent substances that grow in nature, believe you me they would be ALL OVER IT. Luckily they cannot, so that means they will have to continue making poison with dozens of side effects only to mask one particular symptom. I (and many others) know who the true Charlatans are, and that is the drug makers.

    Now to Dungy: Please get of the MJ is a gateway drug argument. Alcohol is the biggest gateway drug there is, kills hundreds of thousands of people more than MJ does, and is legal. Go figure. And btw, because a guy had a history of MJ use in college, your quote of “I want to be careful about drafting guys who I know are going to have marijuana in their possession” is ridiculous. HOW do you “know” they will have marijuana in their possession/ I can guarantee you this, Dungy. MANY of your players from your SB team absolutely used MJ, you just didn’t know it.

    It is a problem if the player continually fails a drug test, and ultimately loses playing time. To my knowledge, the only suspension that I am aware of was Ricky Williams for failing the test 4 times. Many others tested positive for it (Percy Harvin), and Santonio Holmes and Kenny Britt both were arrested for possession. It has its benefits in pain management, and the side effects are a lot less than Vicodin, for example, and it is NOT addictive. MJ is tested for by the NFL between April and August every year.

    If a NFL player can’t stay clean for that period, then it is a potential problem. If it is more important than an NFL career, then it is an obvious issue. It hasn’t been a problem for the majority of teams, and it probably won’t ever be, but addiction to pain pills is a problem (Brett Favre, Ryan Leaf, to name a couple). I am not for making it legal for NFL players, but let’s get of the bandwagon for it being a bad drug. It has benefits, and little to no side effects. It is up to the NFL to make it legal or not, but the politics involved won’t ever allow it to be legalized by the NLF, IMO.

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