Despite a push from Jerry and Stephen Jones to reconsider the league’s outdated marijuana policy, the league isn’t likely to do it unilaterally because the issue resides squarely in the gears of collective bargaining. In turn, the NFL Players Association doesn’t expect the league to suddenly abandon the push-and-pull, give-and-take that requires the players to give something up if they want something back.
“That has not been our experience with the league or the Management Council unfortunately in most cases,” NFLPA spokesman George Atallah said on Monday’s PFT Live. “This is clearly one that falls into that health-and-safety space. We know exactly how players feel after the games, what their career are like, and what their lives are like after they’re done playing football. It’s incumbent upon all of us to take the hard look and see how we can help players. And it’s a little bit challenging at times to feel like the only entity who cares about these players as human beings, as men, as family men, when they’re facing health and safety issues. And clearly we’ve made some significant advances over the last six-to-eight years, but on this particular issue I think it’s incumbent on the league office to, and pardon my pun, keep up with the Joneses.”
Atallah nevertheless welcomes the fact that the two Joneses recognize that the time has come to revisit the marijuana policy.
“It’s encouraging to see someone from management who’s interested in a more progressive viewpoint,” Atallah said.
Where it goes from here likely depends on further legalization efforts and medical research demonstrating that the supposedly “unhealthy” and “addictive” substance is less “unhealthy” and/or “addictive” than the medications players currently take in order to play with pain.