Did the Ravens’ decision to release offensive tackle Eugene Monroe today have anything to do with his advocacy for the NFL allowing players to use marijuana? The Ravens aren’t saying so, although the article on their website announcing Monroe’s departure seems to be suggesting a link.
“Monroe had surgery to repair a torn labrum (shoulder) this offseason, and used the time off to become the first active NFL player to openly campaign for the use of medical marijuana. The Ravens did not rally behind the cause,” the Ravens’ website says.
After that, the Ravens’ site included a quote from head coach John Harbaugh, saying, “I promise you, he does not speak for the organization.”
When a player is cut, there are usually multiple reasons. In the case of Monroe, one reason is that he was due a $6.5 million salary this year. Another reason is that he has a history of injuries. Another is that the Ravens selected offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley with the sixth overall pick in the draft.
But it wouldn’t be surprising if Monroe’s advocacy of marijuana is one reason for his departure. NFL teams are image-conscious, and marijuana is a banned substance in the NFL.
If it is a part of the reason Monroe lost his job, that’s a shame. Players should be free to speak their minds on matters of public policy, and just because they’re not speaking for the organization, that doesn’t mean it should cost them their position within the organization.