Mark Brunell: NFL needs to crack down on marijuana

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As American attitudes toward marijuana change, the NFL is no different: Players have come out recently to say it’s time for the league to stop testing them for pot, and although NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell isn’t ready to go that far, Goodell did open the door to the possibility of players using marijuana for medicinal reasons.

But not everyone in and around the NFL is on board with relaxing rules against reefer. Former NFL quarterback Mark Brunell, now a commentator for ESPN, said on SportsCenter today that far from allowing players to smoke pot, the NFL needs to be cracking down on them.

“I believe it’s harmful,” Brunell said. “I believe it has a negative effect on not only NFL players but anybody that does it. . . . Testing should be increased.”

With some NFL players saying it’s easy to beat marijuana testing, Brunell said that proves the NFL has to make that testing more stringent.

“I think if you’re going to test for marijuana, it needs to be random, it needs to be often,” Brunell said. “It has to be stricter, just like the performance-enhancing drug testing is going to be strict.”

Most of the players who have spoken about marijuana testing have taken the opposite view. But Brunell’s view may be the majority view among NFL owners. Which means the players have an uphill battle if they want to see the rules of drug testing change.

134 responses to “Mark Brunell: NFL needs to crack down on marijuana

  1. Shut up
    Denver fans are depressed, smoking mad weed

    Seattle fans are really happy, smoking mad weed

    I love America

  2. This makes him sound ignorant. Why exactly does he believe it’s harmful when there is a mountain of evidence that suggests the exact opposite? Brunell is probably as good at making rational decisions regarding marijuana as he is at making astute financial decisions.

  3. Total hypocrisy. Lemme see if I got this right: a man should be allowed to hammer his brain off the inside of his school for years playing football, and that should be allowed because it is the man’s choice. But the same man should be prevented from smoking marijuana because the weed is just TOO harmful. Riiiiiight. Got it.

  4. Oh please Brunell this isn’t 1948 go walk off a cliff you mediocre scrub,I remember when he was the backup for Sanchez when he was 48 years old with his respirator on the sidelines

  5. This coming from a guy whose probably never even tried it. Yet, we’re supposed to care that he thinks it’s harmful??? Research the dangers of alcohol and then let us know what you think by comparison. Then do the same thing with pain killers.

  6. This just in…. Cannabis is a harmless plant that trillions of people enjoy with ZERO issues. The Nixon and Reagan era old fogeys need to get over it. People want weed and they’re going to get it. Just accept it and enjoy your life.

  7. Totally agree with MB.
    The people who want to be able smoke pot already smoked weed and are looking for an easy way to get and smoke more of it.
    If anyone says it helps their body deal with the pain… they were already using it illegally… and just trying to play the “medicinal card”. It’s garbage.

  8. He’s right. Smoking marijuana makes you do dumb things like personally guarantee tens of millions of dollars of shaky real estate deals in Florida. Oh wait he was sober when he did that. Just imagine what would have happen if he was stoned? Thanks for looking out for everyone Mark Brunell.

  9. I’m not gonna take advice Or anything from mark brunell serious

    He is not a dr

    It’s harmful if u smoke it up for hours then get behind the wheel and drive. U are high and can make poor choices

    So I say let the players take it don’t test for it but if u get into trouble with the law because of it and injure sum1 we have the right to release u out of your contract and recoup signing bonus. I bet players won’t agree to that

  10. The military has came out and said that “cannabis” is proving to help those with head injuries recover.

    Sorry Mark… The truth is out of the bag.

  11. Mark Brunell, the guy who lost all his NFL money in an investment scam? He should spend more time worry about his own decisions and less about other people’s.

  12. As a Husky Fan this guy has turned into an embarrassment to UW. All of the sudden he has become prominent on ESPN, for what? He is an ESPN puppet, and looks like a fool on there. Can he please go back to where he crawled out of and shut up? Except, please keep picking the Hawks to fail, it worked out well for us.

  13. To people who toe the line, and are disciplined, and who prove who they are by doing the right thing, Marijuana is Poison. The poison of choice for those stalwart citizens is Booze and Vicodin. Hypocrisy is rampant.

  14. He’s got it all wrong. If more people smoked marijuana maybe his Whataburgers would’ve had more customers and maybe he wouldn’t have had to file for bankruptcy.

  15. He sounds like he just finished watching Reefer Madness in 1940. Alcohol and cigetattes are harmful, yet legal.

  16. if they really wanted to do something about what the players take in their bodies they wouldn’t allow them to drink alcohol, during the season . there would be no dui arrests and at least one cowboy player would be alive today . the players now a days just don’t get it . many believe they are above the law. if they allow them to drink let them smoke pot . pft are you going to delete my post again ????

  17. Mark Brunell is on a much more dangerous drug than marijuana – religion. The NFL needs to crack down on that as well, so in the future we won’t be burdened with the likes of Tim Tebow.

  18. Dang, guys it’s just a drug, not a miracle substance. The way some of you talk, it should be a crime NOT to smoke it. Like you’re too good or semthing…

  19. Giving 3/4s of the players in the league the kinda money theyre getting is more harmful than pot. Marks harmful claim makes about as much sense as the media getting the opinions of the forgotten.

  20. Ok here’s how you tell if he’s right or wrong. No knee jerk reactions but think about this.

    If the NFL allowed it and you saw constant images of Cam Newton or Drew Brees or JJ Watt smoking and encouraging your kids to do it, would you still want it?

    So many people want to say its harmless. Maybe it is in some instances. But people steal to buy it. People rob and kill others to sell it. It impacts your ability to drive. It might be harmless for adults to do once a month in their homes but its never going to be just like that.

    I’m a live and let live guy. I really don’t care if you smoke it or not. I will never argue with you if you vote to legalize it. But I don’t want anyone else telling or influencing my kids that this illegal act should be romanticized my athletic heroes.

    My two cents.

  21. Brunell is right!

    Doesn’t take a doctor to know that our lungs were not meant to inhale smoke (of any kind). That’s why you choke when your lungs inhale smoke…seriously does anyone really believe inhaling smoke doesn’t harm the body? lol

  22. Have a relative with cancer.
    It helps with the effects of chemotherapy.
    Also if you compare it to the legal drugs (tobacco and alcohol) it causes far less problems than either.
    No reason not to legalize it.

  23. Hypocricy. What about the thousands of idiotic beer comercials during nfl games? If you smoke herd and your mind is weak, then yeah youll become a useless stoner. Alcohol is 20 times more dangerous and harmful than herb.

  24. I have never smoked dope, or even a cigarette in my life (thank God). I have never done any illegal drug, either. I drank alcohol moderately when I was a young man, but rarely do that at all any more.
    I have always been steadfastly against drugs. I’ve seen first hand how they can ruin a person’s life, not to mention his or her families’.
    So –I cannot understand for the life of me what makes people want to do this crap. I don’t even like taking medicines.
    But here’s where I am now because I’m so sick of what pro and even college and in some cases, high school athletics have become.
    Let the pros all do whatever they want. Let them take HGH, steroids, and do drugs and alcohol as much as they want. If a few of them die and a bunch of them turn into addicts, who cares? Put beer in the dugouts and on the benches. Let them go in at halftime of games and get high.
    I honestly couldn’t care less any more. They have long ago stopped trying to set a good example for kids, and that’s what I had in mind about anything regarding their actions. I happen to believe that kids do look up to athletes and athletes should realize they have an obligation to those kids.
    But let’s face it. We now have half naked girls we call cheerleaders, but look more like streetwalkers, the players are all blown up on PED’s, and it’s obvious a great many of them are doing dope. Many of them blow the millions they make by the time they are retired, and have many kids by many women.
    I am sick of most of them. But get one thing straight. The drug dealers who are selling them marijuana are likely pushing heroin and cocaine too, and would sell it to a kid in a heartbeat.
    Is this really how far our morals have sunk in this country? Based on what I’m hearing and seeing, the answer is yes.
    I hate to see it, but I couldn’t care less any more. It’s like the death of the actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. I do not feel one bit sorry for him. I do feel sorry for the people around him who loved him and probably tried to help him kick that stuff. But he started doing that stuff, and no one put a gun to his head, as far as I know. So — he got what he asked for, in my opinion. Don’t make him out to be some kind of hero. Because he is a loser of the worst kind. He lost at life.
    And that goes for the next pro athlete who ends up the same way. Too bad for him or her, but they should have thought about that when they started doing this crap.

  25. When people smoke, they are bringing pollutants into their lungs.
    Smoke is smoke.
    If smoking tobacco causes cancer and other health problems, why would anyone assume that smoking weed is safe?

  26. Mark, if weed was fully legal like booze 50 million dollars invested into Whataburger would have made sense.

    Now you’re broke and on TV talking like it’s the 80’s and the general public isn’t informed.

  27. There are a lot of people that like to smoke weed and claim it is harmless. To those people, I have a question. Would you care if your surgeon was a stoner? If you say no then your argument is fundamentally invalid because some negative effect influenced that answer. I am not comparing players to surgeons. Simply pointing out the fallacy of the argument. BTW, statistics have shown an increase in drug related vehicular homicides (most were weed) and if the trend continues they will surpass alcohol related deaths within 10 years.

  28. Mark, in order for “testing to be increased” the federal gov’t has to remove Marijuana from Schedule I, which it won’t do because of the lack of testing that they won’t allow.

    Once again, the people will have to lead the way.

  29. Has Mark Burnell ever smoked weed? Shouldn’t we ask people that smoke weed regularly what the effects are?

  30. “I believe it’s harmful,” Brunell said. “I believe it has a negative effect on not only NFL players but anybody that does it. . . . Testing should be increased.”
    The smartest thing Brunell ever did was retire.

  31. When I tore my meniscus in rugby pain killers like vicodin made me sick. That night, I smoked some weed and I was so pain free I kept forgetting I was injured. Marijuana was very helpful that night and assisted me in my time of recovery. Just the right amount can be a God send.

  32. That’s not the only thing Brunell “believes” that has no basis in reality.

    He’s made himself look ignorant by making blanket statements about something he clearly knows nothing about.

  33. Huge Brunell fan from back in the day…hell one of my prized possessions is a signed helmet of his but this guy is turning out to be one of those that should just keep his mouth shut on topics not X’s and O’s related. He is totally clueless once again

  34. Why are people like Brunell given this type of platform? He clearly knows nothing about the effects of marijuana. ESPN should be held responsible for idiots like these talking non sense on a national stage.

  35. I’m old enough to remember threading Reefer Madness through the projector for the PTA back in the 6th grade. Mark Brunell isn’t old fashoned, he’s just an idiot.

  36. Come on now…

    The NFL looks the other way on all this stuff.

    PED’s, a slap on the wrist.

    DUI, run a man over and kill him and play in the leauge a little while later.

    Smoke weed… happens all the time by so many in the league.

    The league does do a bit to confront this but they have not done anything to seriously stop these things.

    To them, if it isn’t broke, there is nothing to fix and with revenues continuing to climb year over year and now over $9 billion, well the National we make tons of money Football league is doing great so let’s not rock the boat…

  37. Really a crazy comment. Pot is basically a non performance drug. I doubt many NFL players use it before a game. It just makes you lazy and not emotional, or pumped up.

    NFL teams should test for it, because players that are using it, don’t have the drive or passion for the game. I would never draft a player if they had a history using it.

    Look at Rickey Williams. The guy was the next coming of Earl Campbell, but the smoke made him a joke. He had no passion for the game, even though he loved it.

    It is not cocaine, heroin or anything close, but it is a mind altering drug, and athletes that use it and abuse it, will never reach the top of their game.

  38. “I believe it’s harmful,” Brunell said. “I believe it has a negative effect on not only NFL players but anybody that does it

    Simple fix Mark Brunell. If you think its harmful, then dont smoke it. Thats your opinion and thats fine.

    Other people feel otherwise, and they should have the freedom to make that choice for themselves.

    This is a “free” country supposedly. If people choose to unwind and heal with marijuana, then so be it.

  39. The NFL has much bigger issues like dui’s and maybe trying to not completely destroy the game that the fans love. I don’t get why disagreeing with someone’s opinion has to turn into ripping them personally. He’s paid for his opinion. He didn’t piss in your cheerios, although I’m just assuming that.

  40. Shut up, Mark. You know nothing about it. If they crack down on MJ, then they should crack down on alcohol too, since it causes much more damage than MJ. Like to see how the league would handle that, given who it’s sponsors are.

  41. Smoking weed can cause COPD and lung cancer, and it decreases REM sleep. Ingesting weed would be the least harmful way to get high. It will still decrease your REM sleep though.

  42. Mark Brunell was a Quarterback in the National Football League. How does this make him a good representative for the illegal and dangerous uses of Marijuana? That’s like asking a random guy off the streets if he likes hot dogs.

  43. I’ll never understand how the NFL is so against marijuana, but they’re okay with the players being fed pain killers like Vicodin, Percocet, etc. nonstop. Most everyone I know that’s ever taken pain killers has needed professional help or rehab to quit. Including myself. Pain killers pretty much ruined my life, and many others. I was lucky enough to have some support around me.

    On the flip side I have been smoking marijuana for quite a while now. And it doesn’t have any of the harsh side effects that poppin pain killers does. Pain killers are opiates which put them in the same family as heroin. So obviously the NFL doesn’t really care about their players health. It’s just all politics.

  44. Ok, ok, everyone just settle down, take a deep breath, and inhale pot smoke. Now. See how much better that is?
    Cannabis>Mark Brunnel

  45. If a player smokes the crap for medical reasons then keep it between you and your doctor . Do not use your status as a big kid overpaid football player to influence our mind numbed youth of America….next well see players smoking on the sidelines as a touchdown celebration.

  46. Everyone knows that marijuana does terrible things to the brain. It causes deterioration of brain function, depression, suicide, even homicide.

    Oh, wait…that’s football, not marijuana.

    Kind of explains his “thought” processes, I suppose… getting his head slammed on the ground on a regular basis.

  47. The owners can and will use this issue to leverage something else from the players. That’s how unions work. The owners number one concern is profits……bottom line.

  48. I can’t believe how clueless people are who are making comments saying Brunel is ignorant, besides reading about the pros of marijuana read the cons too, inflammation of the brain, how can something that puts pressure on your brain help if you have a concussion? Short attention span, how can that help if you need to concentrate? You can go on and on, bottom line is, it’s banned and should stay banned.

  49. Our morals have decidely been on a down-turn for decades. Things which would have not even have been thought possible are now a reality. How about stupid reality shows, for instance?
    Just look at the kinds of people the networks can’t wait to give reality shows to. And look at the shows they put on.
    There is a show where they drop a naked man and a woman in the middle of a jungle and tell them to survive. Did they really need the nudity angle? Yes, because otherwise no one would watch it. Think about it. They have a camera crew following them. Does anyone really think these two people are in danger?
    I call the 21st century the Jerry Springer century. Springer’s show one of the trashiest pieces of garbage ever put on tv, yet it was very popular among young people. It was an example of how far we have gone in terms of what we accept as normal.
    I am a history fan and I know this. Throughout history, when societies gave in to decadent behavior, their structures began to crumble. I can see many cracks in ours today. I am glad I will be long gone when this once great country is destroyed. And make no mistake, if we continue to lower our morals and our standards, it most certainly will be destroyed.
    I drive a school bus and I am astonished at what I see and hear on a daily basis from young people. It never would have happened when I was growing up. But today, it’s accepted as normal.
    So — all you defenders of marijuana — maybe you should take a look at your children or grandchildren, or little brothers or sisters and ask yourselves what kind of future you want for them. If that doesn’t change your viewpoint, you have proven my point.

  50. Brunell is right. I smoked weed for almost 15 years (although not daily) and I know what it does to you when you are fully healthy. Makes you lazy, takes away your motivation to get things done, and I’ve seen where if used in excess it really makes you STUPID! And for all those medical marijuana supporters I’ll say this. I am awaiting a 3 level disc replacement surgery in Germany (currently spend 21 hrs day in bed) so I know PAIN. Marijuana may help cancer patients but id does NOT help pain sufferers – in fact it makes your pain worse. It makes me think more about my pain – thereby making it worse. I could go on and on. The NFL should prohibit it’s use. However as a society it should be legalized for a variety of reasons. But the penalties for driving while impaired should be ultra severe. Any one in public transportation should be tested often.But football players should not be smoking weed during the season – if they want to burn up their brain cells in the off season the so be it.

  51. 1) Alcohol can have devastating effects on people (alcoholism, driving drunk), yet the NFL doesn’t mind making millions of of beer companies.

    2) Making players play 2 games in a 5 day span is more dangerous than recreationally smoking pot.

    3) Players needing prescriptive pain killers just to play on a weekly basis is more detrimental than marijuana. We know what an addiction to prescription drugs can do to a person.

  52. No one has ever overdosed on cannabis. Cannabis has proven medicinal benefits. Cannabis doesn’t harm yor liver like alcohol. You’re a bankrupt, washed up former NFL player and that’s all you’ll ever be. Leave cannabis alone and go shill for reverse mortgages.

  53. 1. Pot gives you cotton mouth.
    2. Pot gives you munchies.
    3. Cotton mouth makes you drink water
    4. Munchies makes you eat.
    5. Drinking water and eating food are essential for life.
    6. Pot is essential for life.

    Just follow the logic.

  54. 1) Alcohol can have devastating effects on people (alcoholism, driving drunk), yet the NFL doesn’t mind making millions of of beer companies.

    This is true of abusing alcohol or any other substance. All of the comments comparing marijuana to alcohol ignore the side effects of marijuana and project the side effects of alcohol abuse. You smoke weed to get high, not everyone drinks alcohol to get drunk. You can have a few drinks with dinner and not get drunk.

  55. I don’t know 1 pothead who isn’t the laziest person in the world. you have no ambition when smoking pot. also for the idiots who say pot has killed any1. there have been thousands of people who have died because of a some1 high on pot while driving. last thing I want is a burnout on my team.

  56. Damn, and I thought I would hate Mark Brunell because I was a Redskins fan, but this is a much better reason. Terrible logic from someone who lets a lack of logic drive their life.

  57. Medicinal purposes – my a$$. 95% of people who use it for ‘Medicinal Purposes’ are frauds. That’s how they try to justify being a lazy pothead. Let me repeat – It does not help chronic pain! at least pain that is spine related. I can’t speak for cancer. I’m not one who has never used it, I know how it destroys motivation. Some of the comments here in support of it are just so fricking stupid. Oh yea, it must be because you are pot smokers and your brain cell count is dwindling down and making you stupid!

  58. bypedal says:
    Feb 7, 2014 8:09 PM
    Total hypocrisy. Lemme see if I got this right: a man should be allowed to hammer his brain off the inside of his school for years playing football, and that should be allowed because it is the man’s choice. But the same man should be prevented from smoking marijuana because the weed is just TOO harmful.

    …spike the ball. argument over. bypedal wins.

  59. Anyone saying its harmful and it kills brain cells is obviously ignorant on the subject. I don’t smoke it because I wouldnt risk losing my job for it. When it becomes legal through state and federal laws then I will. These are professional athletes saying they smoke it They train everyday and they play at the highest level of their sport. So there goes your lazy theory. Bottom line it doesn’t take weed to make you lazy and not goal driven there are plenty of sober people who are fat, lazy, all around unhealthy. If you don’t believe in its cures that’s fine keep taking medicine that des in the US prescribe. Pain killers are completely healthy for you. Watch Dallas Buyers Club which is based on a true story

  60. It’s marijuana people calm down… My dad broke his neck and is a cancer survivor, he is a medicinal marijuana advocate. He uses it because Marijuana helps him more than morphine, vicodin and oxycotin. He can smoke weed and be relieved of his chronic neck and back pain without the terrible withdrawals from these drugs the pharmacy is giving him. He’s almost died from oxycotin withdrawls. Marijuana is a much better and safer alternative than pain killers. AND when he had cancer he said it was the best thing ever. He could eat again, and it helped during his chemotherapy. Marijuana is definitely good for medicine.

  61. It’s a mood-altering substance that shouldn’t be legal, besides for the the people that seriously need it. Coming from a former pot head, trust me it’s a hard habit to quit. Player’s are setting horrible examples for the young kids. Life isn’t all about fun and doing whatever you please, it’s about making the right choices which ultimately leads to happiness. Wake up America.

  62. You know what’s also harmful? Not paying your loans you wannabe investor loser. “I can throw football! I is businessman!”. Then he has to come back and beg for a charity roster spot. What a waste of time.

  63. Um… if it was so negative a thing, how are there so many pros that do it?

    I think that the actual reason is that if we admit that it doesn’t really have much of a negative effect then one of the fundamental lies of the drug war, that pot ruins your life, it out there on the table for everyone to see. And that might make the people, God forbid, think for themselves.

    If it was so negative, then why do you need to send out the urine gestapo to determine when people are doing it?

    Who really cares anyway, though? All this flurry of 1930’s style anti-pot propaganda is just the last gasp, the pitiful swan song, of dying political beast.

    This is not the rhetoric of a healthy movement. No, this sounds much more like Archie Bunker.

  64. I personally don’t have a problem with what people do to themselves but the people that I know who smoke it up are a bit lazy and cloudy upstairs.

  65. @wholelottaawesome – I respect what you said but seriously, if pot were legal, that stuff wouldn’t happen. People would be able to buy it anywhere, thus lowering the robbery, theft, and murder rates and what not.

    My stance on reefer is this… Hang on, it’s about to get real up in here.

    1. We have legal things in this world such as alcohol and cigarettes that are well known for killing people. But do you ever hear about weed killing people? No, and if you do it’s never about a health reason.

    2. It’s been proven that more people these days are for the legalization than against it. Weed has become a socially accepted thing over the past few years and is growing further and further in popularity.

    3. It’s only a matter of time before it is fully legal. With the amount of youth these days that are for the legalization, one of these days after all the old fogeys who keep it illegal are all 6 feet under, who do you think will be in office taking their places? It’s already begun.

    4. Weed is a plant, not a drug. Drugs are man made, plants are natural. Sure, it has physical effects when consumed but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. Some people can handle it, some can’t. That doesn’t mean it should be illegal.

    5. This country’s laws are based on what it’s people want. That said, more people want weed legal than not, so why is it still illegal? I have a theory on that. The amount of money that the legal system makes from it is more than they care to lose by legalizing it. Money is what it boils down to, not what the people want like it should be. What they fail to realize is that by legalizing it, other illegal drug activity is going to rise because lets face it, a good chunk of people do drugs because of the thrill of it being illegal. If it is legal, it will be boring to those people and they’ll move onto other drugs to get that thrill back, thus generating money to partially cover the loss the justice system would take by legalizing weed. The other portion will be covered through taxes. They won’t lose much at all.

    6. Just like alcohol, responsibility must be used when consuming weed. Don’t blame weed for people’s mistakes when they smoke it, blame the people for failing to smoke responsibly.

    7. There are hundreds of thousands of people who drink alcohol simply because weed is illegal. Legalize weed and they will be the happiest people on the planet, and I am willing to lay odds that the drunk driving and alcoholism rates will decrease.

    8. There are more benefits to weed than not. It has been proven and new finding are still coming in.

    Don’t you think it’s time to let go of this silly illegality and give the people what they want? I’d like to see a legitimate reason why weed should be illegal that can’t be trumped by everything I just mentioned here. I’m sure I left some stuff out, but you get my point I’m sure.

    Also, this Mark guy is more than likely someone who has never tried it before. But then again, being against weed is also the perfect cover for a smoker. Maybe the NFL should test all these guys that are so against it too, and not just the players.

    I’m just saying…

  66. Yeah, stay away from that harmful weed that may make you misplace your car keys. Just take the Oxycodon from the team doctors and end up hooked on smack.

    Brunell is an idiot.

  67. The irony- US prosecutes people for use and sale all the while the same US govt has a patent on mj for brain injuries.

  68. Need to start cracking down?????????????/
    Brandon Browner would say his 1yr suspension , wasn’t enough ???????? How much stricter Mark?

    Thurmond Thomas served 4 games… and it’s legal in Wa.
    I understand it’s a rule violation, but I think it’s already started and Browners suspension could end his career…. and what ^%of people born after 1960 havent done it? More testing? It shows on test 30 days after use.
    I guess alcohol is ok since thats the NFL’s best sponsor.

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