NFL Players Assoc. encouraged on improving marijuana policy in bargaining

An NFL Players Association spokesman said he is hopeful the players union will be able to bargain toward a better marijuana policy than one which even a team owner believes is outdated and wants to change.

Pro Football Talk reports that despite a push from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to reconsider the league’s outdated marijuana policy, the league “isn’t likely to do it unilaterally because the issue resides squarely in the gears of collective bargaining.” And while NFLPA spokesman George Atallah said it’s “encouraging to see someone from management who’s interested in a more progressive viewpoint,” referring to Jones’ statement, he is not fooling himself into thinking gaining ground on marijuana will be an easy task.

“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,” Atallah said during Pro Football Talk’s weekly live chat. “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 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,” he said.

Compounding the importance of changing the league’s policy on medical marijuana is a recent survey by Bud Trader, that polled 152 current NFL players on a variety of topics related to prescription drug use and pain. The results showed players overwhelmingly use highly-addictive opioid-based painkillers to recover from injuries. Many say they had felt pressure by team personnel to take the pills and also that they had at some point either become addicted to the painkillers and/or believed that a teammate had been.

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