Nate Jackson played in a state where it’s now legal to smoke marijuana.
And he thinks the NFL would be better off if it followed suit.
Granted, Jackson was speaking at the Cannabis Business Executives Breakfast in Denver when he said it, but he was upfront that he smoked during his career rather than rely on painkillers.
“It kept my brain clean,” Jackson said, via the Associated Press. “I feel like I exited the game with my mind intact. And I credit that to marijuana in a lot of ways and not getting hooked on these pain pills that are recklessly distributed in the league when a guy gets an injury.”
Jackson played six years in the NFL (2003-08), and said his self-medication was easy to pull off since the league only tested for street drugs once a year. To his view, that makes the league at least willing to look the other way, if not complicit.
“They’re aware that probably over half of their players smoke weed,” Jackson said. “They’ve been doing it since they were teenagers. The fact that they’ve been doing it that whole time and still made it to the NFL and are able to satisfy the demands of very, very strict employers on a daily basis means that their marijuana use is in check.
“Marijuana is not a problem in their lives.”
Jackson said the league’s biggest problem is players “smashing their skulls over and over and over again.”
He said allowing marijuana would be a “compassionate” move by the NFL, to help many former players deal with the pain inherent in being a former NFL player.
As you might imagine, the league isn’t necessarily eager to declare itself pro-weed.
An organization as image-conscious as the NFL isn’t going to start marketing Broncos-logo bongs or Seahawks-brand rolling papers anytime soon (although the revenue possibilities might be the thing that changes their minds). And a league spokesman noted it consulted with its medical experts, who didn’t suggest allowing marijuana as a pain-management option.
But the reality is a large portion of the league is already smoking, and it apparently isn’t hurting the popularity of the game, or the athletic abilities of those using.
“Michael Phelps is the best swimmer that the Earth has ever produced by far,” Jackson said. “And he smokes weed. That should tell us something.”
Totally, dude. Somebody call Peyton. We need a pizza.