Chris Long hopes to remove the stigma of marijuana use

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Recently retired NFL defensive end Chris Long recently created a stir by acknowledging to Dan Patrick that (Egads!) Long smoked marijuana during his playing career.

Long hopes that his candor regarding marijuana use will help remove the lingering stigma regarding a substance that gradually is gaining legitimacy in a growing majority of American states.

“The lead was not that I smoked marijuana,” Long tells ESPN.com. “The lead was that I talked about trying to destigmatize it. And hopefully the NFL will hear some of their players talk — former or current, if you have the balls — to say, ‘Something needs to change.'”

Current players need to tread lightly when it comes to acknowledging marijuana use, because even without a positive test a public or private admission of marijuana use land a player in the drug-testing program. But there’s nothing wrong with players standing up and saying that there should be no impediment to doing what people in most states can do for medicinal reasons and in more and more states for recreational purposes.

“I think Roger [Goodell] is a guy who’s trying to get out in front of things and hopefully this is no exception,” Long said. “We’re dealing with a generational stigma, so you’re used to your fans being old-guard people who bought into that stigma. I know some people struggle with it because marijuana, all the stereotypes are, ‘Lazy, deviant people only smoke marijuana.’ Well, if NFL players who are active in their community, are hard-working, they go absolutely nuts on Sunday and they play the game with violence and energy for three hours, that kind of challenges your stereotype. And it challenges the stereotype of football.”

The league’s current prohibition comes with a largely toothless once-per-year testing protocol that allows players to easily navigate the ban, if they can stop smoking long enough before the test to pass it.

“I think at the end of the day, I would hope that they would consider lifting that kind of arbitrary ban,” Long said. “You’ve got one test a year; if you get tested more than that it’s because you failed the test.”

The league has resisted removing the ban because it constitutes a chip for collective bargaining. By delegating to question to medical professionals, perhaps the league is willing to not secure a concession before relinquishing the current rule.

Long believes marijuana use should be permitted regardless of medical necessity.

“Some guys want to get high,” Long said. “And what’s worse? Downing a six-pack of beer or smoking a joint?”

Long is right. And here’s hoping he keeps talking and writing about it. And that he inspires others connected to the sport to do the same. If enough voices join the chorus, it will make change inevitable — and it will make it easier for that stigma to evaporate.

58 responses to “Chris Long hopes to remove the stigma of marijuana use

  1. “I think Roger [Goodell] is a guy who’s trying to get out in front of things…”
    ====================

    The last thing Goodell does is try to get out in front of things. His modus operandi is to be reactive. He sits back and gauges public perception, which way the wind is blowing, the legal repercussions…then, and only then does he spring into “action”.

  2. “Some guys want to get high,” Long said. “And what’s worse? Downing a six-pack of beer or smoking a joint?”

    Neither really. And he has a point. I don’t condone drinking, just like I don’t condone getting high. People use all kinds of substances to cope and mask issues in their life. I am however tired of the “I need it for pain” crowd that pounds the table over marijunana legalization. Just admit it, you want to get high. Just like the guy who downs a six pack just wants to get drunk because he is unable to cope in healthy ways.

  3. The British recently INCREASED it’s illegality (to class B, stuff like crack is class A) after finally accepting the wealth of medical advice that habitual use of today’s stronger weed significantly increases the risk of chronic mental disorders, particularly if smoked from before one’s mid-20s.

    As to supposed medical benefits, there are none – I refer you to the biggest review of its kind, in the Pain Physician journal, Sept 2017 (of which the pdf is free online) “Efficacy of Cannabis-Based Medicines for Pain Management: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” This looked at 43 – FORTY THREE – randomized clinical trials and found most of them found MJ showed absolutely no benefits over placebo, let alone even trying to see if they can out-do any established pain killers.

  4. “Some guys want to get high,” Long said. “And what’s worse? Downing a six-pack of beer or smoking a joint?”
    ================================================

    Almost everyone who smokes dope also drinks alcohol. And a six pack of beer doesn’t put tar into your lungs.

  5. Totally agree with marijuana over opioids. But not sure I grasp Long’s “generational” comment. Marijuana use gained popularity in the 1960’s. Now 60 year olds (I am one) grew up with it.

  6. Just imagine Goodell and owners passing joints in the name of “research.” OK, it is easy to imagine Irsay doing it.

  7. The biggest opponent of marijuana is the alcohol industry because they don’t want to lose market share. Thanks for looking out…. for your own bottom line.

  8. “I think Roger [Goodell] is a guy who’s trying to get out in front of things …”

    LMAO

    “Some guys want to get high,” Long said. “And what’s worse? Downing a six-pack of beer or smoking a joint?”

    AMEN to that!

  9. Just like an ex-President once reiterated ” I never inhaled”…Right !…I have a bridge to sell you at a bargain rate…just today !

  10. What an issue..states with legalization have saw an increase in vehicular homicide. A football player beleive he knows more than AMA. It has become a joke. From a nation of geniuses to a nation of morons.

  11. Fear is a strong emotion and big drug/tobacco companies and our politicians have done a good job keeping people ignorant and afraid. It’s the oldest trick in the book and it is very effective. You can’t change ignorance, so it’s just going to take time. They can tell us anything and we believe it. That’s on us. We’re ignorant and proud of it. Reagan was smart. When he declared the War on Drugs, he also declared war on education and the two worked hand in hand. Pure genius.

  12. I’m at the point where if you haven’t smoked pot I don’t even care what your opinion is, you have no clue what you’re talking about.

    You’re basically Jeff Sessions talking to me and your ignorant, arrogant opinion means nothing to me whatsoever.

    I understand the perspective of more drugs is worse and if that’s what you’re arguing I get it.

    But these ignorant people trying to push the message that marijuana does nothing for pain and they want us all to just admit that we all just want to get high and party have no freaking clue what they’re talking about.

    Marijuana is a wonder drug and pain management is a giant part of that. You should try smoking a joint the next time you have something horribly wrong with your stomach or something and learn for yourself. You may never go back.

  13. Barry, sir, correlation is great and all that but there ARE many other factors to consider overall than just the increase in vehicular homicide. Not to belittle the suffering incurred, but there are other human life related factors in favor of marijuana over alcohol and prescription meds to factor in as well.

  14. barrywhererufrom says:
    May 28, 2019 at 7:13 pm
    What an issue..states with legalization have saw an increase in vehicular homicide. A football player beleive he knows more than AMA. It has become a joke. From a nation of geniuses to a nation of morons.

    —–

    I love your attempt at ironic humor. Only thirty something words and yet multiple misspellings and purposeful grammatical errors plus the made up stats? Brilliant! Oh wait, were you doing that on accident? And you don’t use cannabis?

    Agreed there’s some morons in this nation but cannabis use is not the reason.

  15. If it’s illegal in most states it should be banned in the NFL. If not the NFL will ruin it’s imagine more than it has already by letting Belichick walk free from multiple cheating scandals but other coaches (Payton) had to pay a price.

  16. jman967 says:
    May 28, 2019 at 6:17 pm
    “Some guys want to get high,” Long said. “And what’s worse? Downing a six-pack of beer or smoking a joint?”

    Neither really. And he has a point. I don’t condone drinking, just like I don’t condone getting high. People use all kinds of substances to cope and mask issues in their life. I am however tired of the “I need it for pain” crowd that pounds the table over marijunana legalization. Just admit it, you want to get high. Just like the guy who downs a six pack just wants to get drunk because he is unable to cope in healthy ways.—————————————-Be carefull you don’t fall off your high horse(pun intended)

  17. A few years back after the State of Colorado legalized recreational marijuana. A DirecTV employee was fired for using “medical marijuana”.

    The case went to the Colorado Supreme Court where it was decided PRIVATE sector employees have to meet their employers guidelines.

    Long and the millennial generation can raise awareness, but it still comes down to individual preferences of what you want your workforce to be made up of.

  18. I have witnessed what it can do, I care for a crohn’s patient, and cannabis has successfully kept her off all prescription meds. ( which is rare for her state) I have seen it remove cancerous skin issues, moles, skin tags. I stopped drinking, using cannabis to stop. So some previous comments don’t hold alot of water..

  19. The NFL is missing the boat here. They need to legalize pot and have each team sell their own brand. The Vikings will sell “purple haze”

  20. Zozzle says:
    May 28, 2019 at 7:32 pm
    Barry, sir, correlation is great and all that but there ARE many other factors to consider overall than just the increase in vehicular homicide. Not to belittle the suffering incurred, but there are other human life related factors in favor of marijuana over alcohol and prescription meds to factor in as well.
    **********************************************
    Texting and driving is by far the biggest contributor. That’s one small fact that your boy missed. Hopefully he missed it on purpose, or he’s in worse shape than you think.

  21. There should be a stigma that goes with weed. It’s usees are usually aloof and stoned idiots.

  22. He caused a stir? His admission caused a collective MEH amongst my circle of sports friends. It’s common knowledge a fair share of athletes smoke. There’s hardly a stigma left for him to change

  23. bullhunktown says:
    May 28, 2019 at 7:50 pm
    It is the perpetual goal of the drug use crowd to “normalize” their behavior. Same as any other deviant behavior.

    —–

    So true. So true. Back in the 15th century the same sorta hippies discovered these beans from a low lying shrub in Southern Arabia that when dried, roasted and steeped in hot water, proved to be a stimulant. Those same vagabonds are responsible for the billion plus daily users of this hot elixir, which now is found in cold beverages, candies, ice cream and much much more. Stop normalizing normal behavior people. bullhunktown says so.

  24. “Be carefull you don’t fall off your high horse(pun intended)”

    You’re right. Because the studies that have shown the pill form of marijuana, Marinol to be more affective in pain managment than smoking never get brought up when talked about marijuana and pain managment. You know why? Because that’s not what most of these people are after. My issues isn’t the substance, it’s the fact that they are usig misinformation to push a stupid agenda. If you want to get high, fine – just don’t act like you want marijunana legalized for some utopic reason.
    People that can’t cope with life will always find outlets, some good, most bad. Marijunana is another one of them.

  25. It’s harmful to your body to smoke anything. Pot also affects memory and one would believe it’s important for football players to be able to memorize the playbook and game plan.

  26. ABinAtown says:
    May 28, 2019 at 9:52 pm
    It’s harmful to your body to smoke anything. Pot also affects memory and one would believe it’s important for football players to be able to memorize the playbook and game plan.

    —–

    So what you’re saying is Chris Long had a problem memorizing the playbook and game plan?

  27. ABinAtown says:
    May 28, 2019 at 9:52 pm
    It’s harmful to your body to smoke anything. Pot also affects memory and one would believe it’s important for football players to be able to memorize the playbook and game plan.
    ______________________

    While that is true for short term memory, it is not true for long term and muscle memory. And with a play book the players can memorize where they need to be. If they can’t then they’ll get cut from the team. Also, not all cannabis is consumed via smoking it. Extracts can be added to food, drinks, and even suppositories. Also there are vaporizing methods.

  28. Stop it with the weed doesn’t hurt anyone bs. It def does. When you’re high om it (yes I have been) you’re totally outta touch with reality. It’s very similar to being really drunk. It’s a poweful drug.

  29. I’m kinda wondering how Howie feels about his kid being just another pothead.

  30. Yes, there is indisputable evidence that people who do not smoke pot are sharper mentally than those who do. Chris Long played defensive line where all he had to do was rush the passer and tackle whoever had the ball. Put him on offense or as linebacker or secondary and pot smoking would definitely have an inverse effect.

  31. It is a drug. If you use it occasionally.. great. In the right form, it’s probably better for you than drinking or opioids. If you abuse it, you’ll get addicted. At least mentally.

  32. I find the hypocrisy of those who complain about player concussions but advocate the use of a brain damaging substance to be a solid 8/10 on the Kaepernick scale.

  33. 1) Yeah… Torodol is much better for pain management
    2) I think you’re citing 30 year old studies that have since been refuted
    3) Your Kap comment makes 0 sense. May have been best to save it for a different story.

    —————
    weepingjebus says:
    May 29, 2019 at 6:58 am
    I find the hypocrisy of those who complain about player concussions but advocate the use of a brain damaging substance to be a solid 8/10 on the Kaepernick scale.

  34. What’s most upsetting about this is the fact that so many people care enough about smoking pot that they want to use their time lobbying to legalize and destigmatize the stuff. What no one is talking about is the fact that today’s weed is several times stronger than the stuff that was out there 40 years ago, and the possible effects from that.

    Personal story: I had a family member pass away last year from Fentanyl intoxication. He was addict his entire adult life, bought from heroin that ended up being laced with it. His first step down the road to addictions was with weed.

    No, I’m not saying he died because of marijuana, and I am well aware of the fact that no everyone who smokes pot moves on to stronger stuff; I’m saying for the good of society in general, and people in particular, the open promotion and legalizing of substances which cognitively impair the consumer are bad for society. We already have enough legal avenues that draw in people susceptible to addictions, be it booze, gambling, legalized prostitution (in some areas), etc.

    Let’s not fool ourselves into believing that legalizing marijuana will have no negative effects on society.

  35. “As to supposed medical benefits, there are none ”

    Actually CBDs, which are the painkilling component in marijuana and have absolutely zero side effects, ie they don’t get you high, has been repeatedly proven by doctors and scientists to kill pain.

    Not only that, recent studies show that CBD has significant benefits in getting people off opioid painkillers.

  36. jman967 says:
    May 28, 2019 at 6:17 pm
    “Some guys want to get high,” Long said. “And what’s worse? Downing a six-pack of beer or smoking a joint?”

    Neither really. And he has a point. I don’t condone drinking, just like I don’t condone getting high. People use all kinds of substances to cope and mask issues in their life. I am however tired of the “I need it for pain” crowd that pounds the table over marijunana legalization. Just admit it, you want to get high. Just like the guy who downs a six pack just wants to get drunk because he is unable to cope in healthy ways.

    ——————-

    Why does a person need to chemically alter their brain to feel good about themselves?

  37. Not BuyingIt says:
    May 28, 2019 at 7:50 pm
    A few years back after the State of Colorado legalized recreational marijuana. A DirecTV employee was fired for using “medical marijuana”.

    The case went to the Colorado Supreme Court where it was decided PRIVATE sector employees have to meet their employers guidelines.

    Long and the millennial generation can raise awareness, but it still comes down to individual preferences of what you want your workforce to be made up of.

    Just Like you cant have an employee being drunk on the job, you cant have an employee stoned on the job either. Legality has nothing to do with that.

  38. “The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.”
    ― Carl Sagan

  39. Players can get intravenous pain meds in the locker room. They can drink bottles of champagne in the locker room after a big win. They can’t go home and chill out and smoke a doobie.

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