Marijuana isn’t the boogeyman it used to be in society, and the NFL is slowly moving toward the point of admitting they need to research it more.
And stories like Washington tackle Trent Williams‘ should be part of the conversation.
In a long profile by Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post, Williams admits that his four-game suspension for failing marijuana tests came from an effort at pain management rather than recreation.
He said he elected marijuana over the approved pain medications in the past because they had always given him an upset stomach.
“A lot of times, it’s just for that simple reason in itself,” Williams said. “Getting a concussion, dealing with headaches, whatever. Not saying that it was right, obviously I shouldn’t have done it and obviously should’ve chose a different method. But at that time, you’re caught up in the midst of the season and all you want to do is be available. It wasn’t the right decision, but if you’re looking for a reason, it’s just to try and feel better for the next week.”
When Williams was suspended again last year, he said it was for a missed test, and he said he is not using marijuana now. Another failed test would result in a 10-game suspension.
“When you’re staring down a barrel of a gun, you ain’t gonna squeeze the trigger on yourself,” Williams said. “Knowing that that’s what they’re looking for, knowing that they don’t mind ruining someone’s career over something that, I don’t really need no type of intervention or rehab to say, ‘All right, enough’s enough.’ Nah, we ain’t gonna give them no more reasons, so that’s pretty much it. Cold turkey.”
Williams isn’t necessarily advocating here, as a number of players and former players have. But his matter-of-fact admission also points to the need for further research, as pain management is such a huge part of the NFL experience, and doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all answer.