Just get your “they’re all doing it anyway” joke/comment out of your system right here, first thing. Done? Good. Let’s move on.
As more and more states move to approve marijuana use — many states allow medical use but the trend is moving toward complete legalization — professional sports leagues are left in an uncomfortable spot between the law and perception.
Telling players to go ahead and use it wouldn’t help the NBA’s image with the older, whiter crowd that spends big money (or gets their corporation to spend money) on luxury boxes or expensive seats close to the court, let alone with corporate sponsors. On the flip side, you can make an argument it medically could help players with pain and nerve issues (there is a medical debate on exactly what pain it helps, I’m not stepping into that quagmire here). If a player in a state where medical marijuana is legal gets a prescription, should the league step in and tell him no?
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said he would consider allowing use of medical marijuana if it is shown to help with concussions and CTE.
Blake Griffin, in an interview with Rolling Stone, says he would favor the league opening the medical marijuana door and stepping on through.
“It doesn’t really affect me, but so many guys would probably benefit from it and not take as many painkillers, which have worse long-term effects. So I would vote yes. I just think it makes sense.”
You should go read the entire interview where Griffin talks about his hair color, manscaping, farting during games, creationism and a host of other topics. There are some interesting questions in there. (By the way, you will not see Griffin in the Clippers’ season finale Wednesday due to his 16th technical of the season. He needs to learn to relax when calls don’t go his way and just go with the flow… you know what would help with that? Exactly.)
The nation’s attitudes on marijuana are shifting toward more access and legalization (a 2013 Pew study found the majority of Americans supported full legalization), particularly among younger generations.
The tide is changing. For image reasons this is not an issue the NBA wants to be out in front on, but it is one they are going to have to deal with differently over the next decade and beyond. It’s just more a question of when and how than if.