More and more pro athletes, representing the full range of pro sports leagues, are opening up about marijuana’s value as an important supplement to their physically demanding careers. Ultimately, these athletes are demonstrating that cannabis can be an aid to an active body rather than a detriment.
But most admissions of this kind come in retirement, for some obvious reasons. Retirees have less to risk. In certain situations, players can risk everything—even if they never pee dirty in their lives.
As the NFL demonstrated with its treatment of former Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Eugene Monroe, today’s active players who advocate for weed are tomorrow’s retirees. No accident that he has no analog in other sports.
So how many active players, the ones with sneaker deals and secret Twitter accounts, also sneak weed? Accounts vary. The truth is that nobody really knows, just as nobody really knows how many Americans use marijuana.
Data like that is collected from surveys. On surveys, people lie. As a result, we are left to speculate. And speculate we will. Based on public statements, intuition and pure guesswork, here’s our guide to what the four biggest pro sports leagues think about marijuana.
Major League Baseball
Warm summer nights and long, interminable games, which in theory can continue indefinitely. Lazy afternoons whiled away at the ballpark, playing hooky from work and reconnecting with long-lost childhood passions.
From a fan’s perspective, baseball pairs perfectly with cannabis. And considering the long seasons full of road trips and the amount of time players often have to kill while in uniform, waiting for something to happen—which might be later that week, if you’re a pitcher—marijuana would be a good fit for players, even if the MLB didn’t have some of the laxest drug rules of any workplace in the country.
Drugs are synonymous with MLB. LSD produced a no-hitter, if the legend of Dock Ellis is to be believed. And until they were banned in 2006, well into the steroid era, players feasted on amphetamines as if they were candy.
While bodybuilders no doubt had the science perfected years before the first shot of andro coursed through Mark McGwire’s veins, baseball is responsible for introducing to a wide audience the benefits of human growth hormone.
Baseball’s subsequent obsession with steroids has allowed other drug use to swell to heroic levels. According to an unnamed player interviewed by the Huffington Post, as many as 25 percent of MLB players are regular cocaine users.
With so much else going on, baseball’s attitude toward marijuana is appropriately relaxed—that is, once you ascend to the big leagues. If you’re on a Major League roster, you can stuff your body with as much THC as it can handle (which, since there are no recorded overdose deaths, is an amount so heroic it’s theoretical) and the worst penalty you’ll face is a fine.
“Of the 400 days of [big league] service time I had, I probably smoked on 150 of them,” an …read more