PITTSBURGH, PA – As these summer days get significantly longer with death-defying heat, it means that our gridiron heroes and hopefuls will be taking to NFL Camps in and around the nation’s “heat dome” within the coming days. The National Football Leauge is a fluid news source, as there is truly no off-season and today we cover some of the latest issues relating to pro football.
What is in the
water ketchup in Pittsburgh? Last week I talked about the year-long suspension of Pittsburgh Steelers standout wide receiver Martavis Bryant due to his marijuana-laden urine. “Marty,” the latest Steel City culprit falling victim to the NFL’s substance abuse policy, joins starting running back – and one of the league’s best – Le’Veon Bell in a marijuana mess. Seems as though Bell missed multiple testing dates and is therefore viewed as failing said tests. These are tests you can’t study or cram for. But one can choose to abstain from a snort, toke, or syringe long enough in order not to jeopardize the team or their personal finances as a result of their dependence/stupidity. There is no truth, however, about a new strain of herb called Black and Gold hitting the market… yet I digress.
Now if you recall, way back during the 2014 exhibition season Bell and then-teammate LeGarrette Blount were arrested after a traffic stop for marijuana possession and suspended accordingly. Bell stayed clean long enough in order for a reboot of the NFL drug protocol and is only facing a four-game ban heading into the 2016 season. Long recognized as a model franchise, the Steelers as an organization have to be livid over losing two of their more explosive play-makers to ganja use. Pot users dot the NFL landscape and each team has their own suspected recreational drug users. In a nation where marijuana legalization is becoming more widespread, it hasn’t yet altered Commissioner Roger Goodell’s perspective regarding the league’s stance on lighting up.
I don’t know if statistics are made readily available on the number of participants in the NFL drug program and my guess is such information is protected under the Collective Bargaining Agreement but if the league can’t change with the nation’s softer stance on marijuana, eventually teams may have trouble fielding competitive squads.
Over time this will effect the bottom line of the cash cow that is the NFL. Slower merchandise sales as franchises struggle to win ultimately lead to slower ticket sales and the trickle down goes all the way to NFL headquarters. Then and only then, will the commish be forced to “protect the shield” and re-evaluate these misdemeanors and commit more time to doping and domestic abusers.
Rather than beat a dead horse, this will be the last I write of professional athletes who no doubt continue doing their best to throw careers away. We all went to school or grew up with stoners and drinkers who wouldn’t or couldn’t stop wanting to get high or drunk. Some of us change over time while others can’t. Laws change over time as well and if federal and state laws aren’t being broken within the league rank and file, the NFLPA and Roger Goodell can adopt such revisions within their institution.
Please comment below and come back tomorrow for DJ Eberle, a man who’d choke Rocky’s chicken. And please follow us on Twitter – @CheesyBruin & @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.