Chris Long points to NFL’s “arbitrary” and “silly” marijuana testing

Getty Images

At a time when the NFL appears to be willing to liberalize its approach to marijuana, one of the game’s ambassadors admitted that he was a frequent user, and that the league’s testing program isn’t really designed to catch people.

During an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, retired defensive end (and former Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year) Chris Long admitted that he “enjoyed my fair share” of marijuana during his playing career.

“We should be headed to a place where we allow players to enjoy what I would not even call a drug — it’s far less dangerous than guzzling a fifth of alcohol and going out after a game,” Long said, via Yahoo Sports. “Chances are the player won’t even make it to the club [laughs] to do this sort of thing that we all kind of wag our finger at when we hear about a guy getting in a fight or getting a DUI, you’re never going to read about him sitting on the couch and binge-watching ‘Game of Thrones’ again.

“I think from a standpoint of what’s safer for people and the player, certainly people in the spotlight, it is far less harmful than alcohol, it is far less harmful than tobacco, and at various points in the league’s history, they have engaged in partnerships on different levels with those respective industries.”

Long’s not the first to point that out, and the fact the league does business in a number of precincts with varying levels of acceptance of marijuana makes it harder for them to continue to deny its use. Long also pointed out the ridiculousness of the league’s testing policy, in which a player can pass one test a year (during a period which begins on April 20, of course), and be clear for the rest of the season

“I think testing is arbitrary. The league, speaking plainly, knows damn well what they’re doing,” Long said. “Testing players once a year for ‘street drugs’, which is a terrible classification for marijuana, is kind of silly because, you know, players know when the test is, we can stop, and in that month or two that you stop, you’re going to reach for the sleeping pills, you’re going to reach for the pain killers, you’re going to reach for the bottle a little bit more.

“On the weekend you’re going to have a few more drinks, and a few turns into a few too many. . .  It’s just not the same. If you’re serious about players not smoking, you’d be testing more often. I hope they go the opposite direction and kind of realize how arbitrary doing that one test a year is.”

The league moving at all on the issue may be the surprise, though they’re leaning on the medical and pain-management perspectives for now. Long’s comments — particularly coming from a respected member of the league establishment — should open more eyes to the larger issues.

50 responses to “Chris Long points to NFL’s “arbitrary” and “silly” marijuana testing

  1. if its that easy to get away with it, then you have to wonder how stupid the people getting caught really are.

  2. There is no logical reason to be for alcohol but against marijuana. Those against marijuana don’t use much logic though.

  3. I don’t care about it being illegal as not all laws are good laws. Slavery was legal at one point, just to give an extreme comparison. Anyways it’s silly to have marijuana testing, but to then prescribe countless amounts of painkillers, some that are derived from opium, and can be incredibly addictive. The NFL and a good portion of the country are backwards on this mindset.

  4. The reality is that the public sentiment is for legalization to be universal in the USA. It is just a matter of time before this happens. The NFL should just stop testing for it–they do not have to state a policy of acceptance.

  5. Only the fog-headiest of pot heads get caught for this in the league, apparently. I mean the tests are on 4/20!

  6. A person is far less likely to act dangerous while under the influence of marijuana than other drugs, especially alcohol…but over and over I keep hearing this crap about smoking it is less harmful…for the love of God a can someone correct these marijuana advocates that smoking causes cancer…and smoking causes global warming…healthwise there is absolutely nothing less harmful about smoking weed versus drinking alcohol or taking a tylenol…

  7. Obviously, with some of these posts, there’s still folks living in 1950. People have problems with change.

  8. Like any other drug. In moderation. Otherwise, you become.. at least a little.. addicted.

  9. People really need to educate themselves. Smoking weed is still bad for the body and getting high can always have consequences. I expected Long to be smarter than this but I guess not. And yes Chris… it is a drug!

  10. Alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceuticals have killed or permanently injured infinitely more players and people in general than marijuana has or ever will.
    When the Big Pharma or Big Tobacco industries become NFL sponsors then pot testing will mysteriously become a thing of the past.

  11. Hi, I’m your school bus driver. I promise your kids will be OK. Surgery will be fine. I only burn one to ease the pain. Never ever before I work. I’m responsible. Yeah right. Logical huh.

  12. I work in construction and I know several people who smoke weed throughout the day. I know guys who get squirly if they don’t smoke. I’ve literally told guys “go smoke and come back normal” .. some people actually need weed to function properly.

  13. I think the reasoning behind the NFL not changing the pot rule is for fear of losing sponsorships. There are major businesses that have a strong stance against marijuana.
    It’s all about money. Personally, just don’t test for pot. test for the other stuff.
    Out of sight,… out of mind.

  14. Matt dog from C-town says:
    May 22, 2019 at 6:29 pm
    weed is very addictive …anything that alters your mood basically trains you to be unhappy without it

    —–

    Huh? Did you just say anything that alters your mood trains you to be unhappy without it? It looks like that’s what you’re saying.

  15. I don’t have a dog in this hunt, don’t care. My only question is that everybody gets all worked up about cigarettes and vaping, but every pro weed post advocates how safe smoking pot is.

    Is there any actual scientific studies that when you light vegetation on fire and inhale it, it is really great for your lungs? So vaping bad- FDA needs to regulate heavily. Pot good – get rid of all these draconian laws and rules. What am I missing?

  16. Having a drug and alcohol abuse counselor in my family would disagree Long’s assessment. States that have legalized weed have scene an increase in vehicle accidents due to the use of weed. Now we have an expert football player speaking on this topic along with individuals who use? Sorry when i.speak with experts they something very different about weed. Finally just because a state needs revenue due to his unhealthy fiscal policies doesn’t make it right.

  17. I guess this is a case again where the NFL is in a lose lose situation. They are heavily criticized for the policy of testing for weed but they have a testing system which pretty much lets you get around the test so you don’t get caught. So they are criticized on both. But maybe there should be an article on how the NFL did it right. Sure they have a policy against the use of an illegal drug but they pretty much don’t enforce it, or let me guess that would be we have to spin it a lose lose I assume. So remember when people come down on thew NFL for having a testing for weed and someone gets caught maybe just maybe that speaks more to the guy that got caught, not the policy.

  18. Why does Chris Long have to give his opinion on everything? I am so tired of hearing from this guy…

  19. u4iadman says:
    May 22, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    It’s a drug, deal with it.

    _________

    Under your logic, our country should ban coffee drinking and classify the coffee plant as a schedule 1 substance effective immediately. And chances are that 85% of us are now officially junkies who deserve to go to prison.

  20. Totally agree that the rules need to be relaxed, but everyone needs to remember that marijuana is still an illegal drug in most states. Yes, these laws are being changed in several states, but it’s still an illegal drug, like it or not. I’m all for making it legal nationwide, but until that happens, people are still going to get busted for pot.

  21. BuckyBadger says:
    May 22, 2019 at 5:11 pm
    There is no logical reason to be for alcohol but against marijuana. Those against marijuana don’t use much logic though.

    ————
    What self-esteem issue must one have to feel the need to ingest a substance to alter their mind to feel good about themselves?

  22. The problem – NFL has to have rules against weed simply because it is still illegal at the federal level, and they don’t want to do anything to jeopardize their sacred anti-trust exclusions. So, their tests are watered down, but they can point to them and say – “Look, we are preventing weed from being used! We are law-abiding billionaires!”

    Society changes rules and customs, but, that does not mean all societal institutions need to or want to stay in step with the times a-changing. If pro athletes find weed useful for pain amelioration, that’s fine with me. I would rather seem them use weed than use opiates or steroids. But, as with any drug, I would rather not see them out and about in a car, under the influence, when I am out and about in MY car. Just sayin’. And, as someone stated, weed being smoked is not great for your lungs. But, that’s up to the individual. Just don’t raise my insurance rates to cover your cancer.

  23. Not addictive. Not dangerous in moderation. Actually heals people from deadly opiate addictions. Source: years as a volunteer drug and alcohol counselor.

  24. truthsayer317 says:
    May 23, 2019 at 10:39 am
    Not addictive. Not dangerous in moderation. Actually heals people from deadly opiate addictions. Source: years as a volunteer drug and alcohol counselor.

    ————

    Can you explain why a person needs to ingest any substance to alter their state of mind? Why can such a person not be happy simply being themselves?

  25. boozygoose says:
    May 23, 2019 at 5:35 am
    I don’t have a dog in this hunt, don’t care. My only question is that everybody gets all worked up about cigarettes and vaping, but every pro weed post advocates how safe smoking pot is.

    Is there any actual scientific studies that when you light vegetation on fire and inhale it, it is really great for your lungs? So vaping bad- FDA needs to regulate heavily. Pot good – get rid of all these draconian laws and rules. What am I missing?
    ———-
    You are missing a lot. First, you are conflating “safe” and “really great for your lungs”. Something can be safe but not really great for you, (e.g., sugar, caffeine, red meat, etc.). Second, you ignore that vaping, like cigarettes, is the ignition of a blend of chemicals and in most cases the ingredients are not listed on the package. I’m not sure why you would not want regulation. Marijuana, as you mentioned, can be purchased as a dried plant with no additives. And in states that have legalized marijuana the industry is heavily regulated.

  26. How many of you “legalize weed” advocates would still smoke it if they took the THC out? Or reduced it substantially. Alcohol is legal, unless you blow a .08,.04 with cdl license. Any alcohol measurement where I work will get you fired. So what is your point. Even nyquil has a warning label on it about driving /operating equipment. Most People drink or take drugs to get high, simple as that. Quit toting the “medical benefits” as the reason for smoking it. Hey Chris, why you smoke it when you weren’t even playing? Ricky Williams is still smoking it, he must hurt alot. Smoke all you want, I will only care, if while impaired, you injure a loved one and then I would not want to be you.

  27. Legalizing a substance in X state does not change the employer’s right to set their own standard. I know many in the NFL, College (any sport) partake, but nothing changes until majority of owners agree that it is “legal”.
    I would rather hear a story of a player smoking the devil’s lettuce vs. drunk, physical or gun violence.

  28. While we are at it, might as well legalize all drugs. We all know that alot of the rich and powerful partake in illegal drugs, look at irsay. Didn’t affect him, he hasn’t failed.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!