Skip to content

McMahon suggests Ditka was aware of Bears’ marijuana use

53212810 Getty Images

The NFL began testing for marijuana and other substances of abuse in 1982, the same year quarterback Jim McMahon arrived in the league from a Mormon university that frowns on various behaviors far more innocuous than smoking weed. Long retired from football, McMahon relies on marijuana for medicinal purposes. Recently, he suggested that he and other Bears were smoking it while playing — and that the team’s legendary head coach knew it.

“Mike Ditka would say, ‘Oh, all you guys, you pot smokers,’ That’s what he’d call us. ‘You pot smokers,'” McMahon said Sunday at the Southwest Cannabis Conference and Expo, via Ryan Osborne of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “We’d say, ‘It’s better than being drunk out here. We’re still functioning.'”

On one hand, the NFL shouldn’t care what players do away from the workplace when it comes to smoking marijuana, as long as players don’t get arrested for it. On the other hand, the NFL had a clear policy against it in the 1980s, and Ditka’s apparent knowledge of it coupled with his failure to do anything about it makes him an accomplice of sorts to rampant violations.

He wouldn’t be the only coach who knew his players smoked pot and did nothing. For years, PFT has heard stories of that unmistakable smell of burning body odor wafting through the hallways of team hotels. As long as players can manage to avoid smoking after testing positive enough times to face a suspension, most coaches and teams don’t care if players do it.

Ditka apparently didn’t like it. But he also apparently opted for inaction, since he only would have been hurting himself by making players unavailable to play.

Permalink 40 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Chicago Bears, Home, Rumor Mill
40 Responses to “McMahon suggests Ditka was aware of Bears’ marijuana use”
  1. 87hollywoodhorn says: Feb 29, 2016 8:26 PM

    man i think poor mcmahon says himself that he has poor recollection of things. i hope this wasnt some senile rambling that the journalist took and ran with

  2. key2heat says: Feb 29, 2016 8:34 PM

    Nobody cares what McMahon says or does.

  3. raydahhs75 says: Feb 29, 2016 8:43 PM

    We’re talking about an era when Lawrence Taylor would snort coke before games, and at halftime, and become the most celebrated player in the league. Even for those times – marijuana???? Relax, chief. Might as well have been Popeye cigarettes.

  4. sfm073 says: Feb 29, 2016 8:44 PM

    Seriously what’s the point of this? Are you suggesting that he should of said something or somehow tried to stop his players?

  5. godenbroncos says: Feb 29, 2016 8:46 PM

    Man, I love living in Denver:)

    GoDenBroncos

  6. finchy74 says: Feb 29, 2016 8:50 PM

    A family member just celebrated his 23rd year working for an NFL franchise. He was out for my parent’s superbowl party this year and after chatting for a while this subject came up.

    He estimated that at least 75% of the players in his organization regularly use marijuana. Based on conversations with front office members of other teams, he stated that his team is probably on the low side relative to the rest of the league.

    These guys aren’t dumb. They know that opiate addiction is a nightmare. I would never argue that marijuana is a harmless drug, but it’s a far better choice to manage long term pain than getting hooked on vicodin.

  7. leftypointspread says: Feb 29, 2016 8:53 PM

    McMahon might have kept playing if his joints had held out…

  8. ttommytom says: Feb 29, 2016 8:55 PM

    And???

    Dumbest law of all time.

    Natural plant vs the synthetic crap that big drug companies make money off of at the expense of mankind.

    There is a place for drugs but Big Drug Co’s can’t exploit us and therefore they lobby against it.

    Imagine billions of drug money not being spent and in return billions of profits for the Govt? THAT is how BIG the drug companies are. Fk them…

    This debate rages on and we all pay because of big business. Again, dumbest law ever…

    PS

    I don’t smoke pot and I was paid millions to fight the ‘drug epidemic’. Complete waste of so many talented cops…

  9. abninf says: Feb 29, 2016 8:56 PM

    McMahon relies on marijuana for medicinal purposes.
    ===================================

    *wink wink*

  10. patsfan says: Feb 29, 2016 9:01 PM

    more a commentary on the times than on Ditka.

    you could write the same about each team in those days with regard to concussions, steroids, hydration, or any other or today’s hot button issues.

    Not to say it was right then, but more that it is unfair to look at it through the same lens you use to judge today.

  11. doe22us says: Feb 29, 2016 9:15 PM

    Oh my they smoked some Mary Jane, strip them off their ring. Come on now.

  12. PacificNWMark says: Feb 29, 2016 9:20 PM

    Except Coach Ditka had his share of troubles with the bottle, including a well-publicized DUI. Maybe his laissez faire attitude was in part because he didn’t feel the need to be a hypocrite. It’s not as if his team was underperforming.

  13. topcide says: Feb 29, 2016 9:22 PM

    Within 2 miles of my house there are 3 bars & 4 restaurants that serve beer, wine, and hard liquor. There is also 4 liquor stores, and 4 grocery stores that sell at least beer. One of them is even a Whole Foods that you can literally get a beer and drink it while you shop.

    Not to mention the $9 beers they sling left and right at NFL stadiums, and the million beer commercials on during games.

    But, pot is bad.

  14. cinzano08 says: Feb 29, 2016 9:25 PM

    McMahon is a brain dead imbecile, always was and always will be

  15. JaminJake says: Feb 29, 2016 9:29 PM

    Ditka is a crazy Republican too. Just goes to show two things.

    1. Laws regarding drugs have been antiquated for some time.
    2. Weed apparently gives you amazing defenses.

  16. fumblenuts says: Feb 29, 2016 9:30 PM

    Ditka: Get off my lawn you friggin’ pot smokers!

  17. hahalolrofl says: Feb 29, 2016 9:33 PM

    One look at McMahon back in the day and you just knew that guy took big bong rips

  18. charger383 says: Feb 29, 2016 9:38 PM

    we have too many dumb laws!

  19. dontouchmyjunk says: Feb 29, 2016 9:40 PM

    It’s High Time cannabis is taken off every list of illicit substances. It’s a proven pain reliever. If I played football I’d be high all season. And hell yeah, coaches should be okay with it. Better than having half your team addicted to Vicodin.

  20. thenoshows says: Feb 29, 2016 9:46 PM

    I think LT had Gatorade cups with coke in them on the sideline so he was using as often as he could. Pot had been portrayed for generations and generations to be just like hard drugs which is so crazy, so much safer in my opinion than booze.

  21. sigbouncer says: Feb 29, 2016 9:47 PM

    But he also apparently opted for inaction, since he only would have been hurting himself by making players unavailable to play.

    _______________________________

    Maybe Ditka opted for inaction because he didn’t think what they were doing was hurting anyone.

    Ever think of that?

  22. maverick2560 says: Feb 29, 2016 9:48 PM

    Every modern coach is aware of pot use by many of the players. The NFlPA and NFL need to find some common solution to rampant use
    by today’s players. Somehow I don’t see Goodell willing to publicly
    admit the obvious ….a lot of players smoke pot just like many in
    our society today.

  23. corporatemediaprostitute says: Feb 29, 2016 9:57 PM

    A substance of abuse? Ha!

  24. sod61 says: Feb 29, 2016 10:01 PM

    30 years ago. WHO CARES

  25. VenerableAxiom says: Feb 29, 2016 10:11 PM

    In the late 70’s and early 80’s, everyone knew everyone toked. It was all cool.

  26. chesswhileyouplaycheckers says: Feb 29, 2016 10:14 PM

    30 years is the equivalent of an NFL century ago. Heck, it was so long ago even the Dolphins were relevant

  27. TomsulasMustache says: Feb 29, 2016 10:21 PM

    Put him in prison in the cell next to Brady

  28. vancouversportsbro says: Feb 29, 2016 10:31 PM

    Just like Belichick razzes his players for being cheetahs.

  29. bencoates57 says: Feb 29, 2016 10:51 PM

    Put an asterisk on the 85 Bears. First painkillers and now this. They certainly played like they didn’t feel any pain. What an advantage that must have been.

  30. bsaleen12 says: Feb 29, 2016 11:00 PM

    I knew those moves in “The Super Bowl” shuffle were to good for someone not on the green stuff!

  31. grandstandrice says: Mar 1, 2016 12:00 AM

    By now most people know marijuana is less harmful than alcohol. Guess our government prefers that we use the drug that makes us violent and stupid for some reason.

  32. bigblu73 says: Mar 1, 2016 12:18 AM

    finchy74 says:
    Feb 29, 2016 8:50 PM
    A family member just celebrated his 23rd year working for an NFL franchise. He was out for my parent’s superbowl party this year and after chatting for a while this subject came up.

    He estimated that at least 75% of the players in his organization regularly use marijuana. Based on conversations with front office members of other teams, he stated that his team is probably on the low side relative to the rest of the league.

    These guys aren’t dumb. They know that opiate addiction is a nightmare. I would never argue that marijuana is a harmless drug, but it’s a far better choice to manage long term pain than getting hooked on vicodin.

    ******************************************************************************************************************

    You are 1000% right. I too KNOW FOR A FACT that the MAJORITY of NFL Players smoke marijuana. Anyone else wonder why we never hear about MLB “weed suspensions”? Do you think that MLB Players don’t smoke or that MLB just DOESN’T CARE? Just about the ENTIRE NBA smokes cannabis and that is why they are SMART enough not to test for it, PERIOD.

  33. elvos123 says: Mar 1, 2016 4:20 AM

    You guys are biased idiots condoning the use of illegal drugs …funny don’t post comments making a good argument against the use of drugs … Do you want your kids to smoke pot to get high …if you do your a true piece of garbage ..so why do you push this bull on the public …liberal idiots or just lemmings following the other idiots off the cliff…how about no drugs or booze ,low life’s stop making excuses because you suck and need to get high , but can’t admit your a junkie .You writers are the biggest TROLLS on here .I’ll leave my comment ,to not get posted , because that’s what liberals do ,state your opinion and block people with anything that disagrees with you,then preach how you are all accepting of others not like you ..wow hypocrite …want your kids to smoke pot wake and bake since you think it’s sooo great….. moron

  34. nyneal says: Mar 1, 2016 4:34 AM

    It’s illegal in most states. So anyone who smokes it outside of those states where it’s legal is breaking the law.
    And more importantly, it’s banned by the NFL. So any player using it should be suspended.
    I am sick and tired of people who defend these guys who break the rules of the NFL and the law. I don’t care if they get arrested for jay walking, if they break the law, they break the law and they deserve to be punished.
    To all you people who condone pot use and use the lame reasoning that it’s no worse than alcohol, all I can say is you are setting a fine example for kids. It’s no wonder kids today have many of the problems they have. They’ve been raised to believe that laws and rules don’t mean anything, that the only thing which matters is what “I” want to do.

  35. nyneal says: Mar 1, 2016 4:50 AM

    thenoshows says:
    Feb 29, 2016 9:46 PM
    I think LT had Gatorade cups with coke in them on the sideline so he was using as often as he could. Pot had been portrayed for generations and generations to be just like hard drugs which is so crazy, so much safer in my opinion than booze.

    _________________________________________

    People who say this (that it’s safer than booze) completely ignore studies which show it has harmful effects on the brain and does increase the chance for cancer. The more powerful weed, called “Skunk”, can also cause psychosis, paranoia and schizophrenia.
    My question is, why do people find it necessary to have to get high in the first place (unless it is for medicinal purposes)? I don’t understand it.
    I’m sure you wouldn’t want the pilot who’s going to fly the plane you are about to get on having a few drinks before he came to work. How about a couple roaches?
    We have come a society increasingly dependent on all kinds of drugs that we “need” to be able to get through our daily struggles. We are bombarded with commercials for everything from antacids to erectile dysfunction drugs, 24 – 7.
    It’s crazy, to me. I wonder how the hell our ancestors ever survived and how we are even here?
    You might disagree with me, but the fact is, I’m right. Using marijuana is illegal in most states and it’s illegal to use it in the NFL. As long as that’s the case, these NFL players need to be punished if they’re caught using it.

  36. steelerdynasty2010 says: Mar 1, 2016 8:01 AM

    our country’s obsession with outlawing a naturally occuring plant is beyond baffling

  37. newsletterczar says: Mar 1, 2016 9:22 AM

    maverick2560 says:
    Feb 29, 2016 9:48 PM

    Every modern coach is aware of pot use by many of the players. The NFlPA and NFL need to find some common solution to rampant use
    by today’s players. Somehow I don’t see Goodell willing to publicly
    admit the obvious ….a lot of players smoke pot just like many in
    our society today.
    —-
    True; but the Management Council of the NFL (the owners) will use this as a bargaining chip during the next CBA with the NFLPA. The reason is to get something (money or some other money making/saving concession) from the players because, you know, billionaires want nothing more than to get more money out there millionaire employees. It may take some dying off from both sides of the aisle to eventually decide “this is stupid and not worth the trouble”.

  38. dabstarblog says: Mar 1, 2016 2:02 PM

    Burning body odor??? LoL What???

  39. youknowiknowitall says: Mar 1, 2016 4:43 PM

    So, I guess all the losers are all clamoring for the added asterisk now – SB XX Champs*. Isn’t that what the losers want?

  40. deweyaxewound says: Mar 1, 2016 5:07 PM

    @nyneal –

    You make a valid point about society’s general (over)dependence on drugs for every tiny little discomfort of life (real or imagined), not to mention the ubiquitous advertising blitzes, aggressive vax & flu-shot campaigns, etc.

    But your argument that pot shouldn’t be smoked simply because it’s “illegal”, and illegal = wrong, PERIOD – is the most dangerously simplistic kind of blind obedience imaginable.

    It’s that exact sort of thinking that allows the worst evils of the world (seriously) – after all, everything Hitler did in Germany at the time was, technically, “legal”, right? You know that whole slavery thing? Legal! (well, used to be)

    We are told that people are bad, so that we need laws (made up by those same bad people) and also other people (also bad, I presume) to govern over them! I mean, if a politician of all people isn’t the ultimate moral authority, then who is, amiright?😉

    But seriously, Thomas Jefferson said something along the lines of: “Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God” – conversely, we actually have a moral duty to DISobey those laws which we find objectionable – morally, practically, or otherwise.

    History is full of moral men taking courageous stands against stupid, unjust, antiquated, onerous, ineffective and evil laws. The senseless prohibition of marijuana is just another like so many before.

    Some day you should listen to a mother tell you about her child – a kid who has a severe and rare form of epilepsy, and how the only thing in the entire world that relieves her child of the constant life-threatening seizures (10+ per day) is a cannabis-derivative – one which, by the way, doesn’t even contain any of the THC (the stuff in pot that gets people “high”)…

    Then I want you to listen to that mother’s plea, look her in the eye, and tell her her son can’t have ANY access to ANY part of that little green plant, and instead her child will just have to suffer and die “because it’s the law”.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!