Banned Substances …. As They Relate To Professional Sports

July 10, 2007 | WNST Interns

WNST’s airwaves have recently played host to the subject of banned substances, as they relate to professional sports. The primary substance discussed, as it relates to a casual usage, is marijuana. It can certainly be argued that marijuana is not beneficial, from an “enhancement performance” perspective. In fact, it’s assumed effects regard it by many as an equivalent to alcohol.

However, a distinguishable factor is marijuana is an illegal drug. The possession, use and distribution of marijuana is forbidden by law …. in all 50 states. Although, each state has respective and differing criteria regarding penalties, it’s still illegal. If you ask what this means for the NFL and other leagues, in regard to their banned lists …. the answer is “nothing.”

Banned substances, as they relate to the policies and procedures of a respective league, are purely an administrative “animal.” For argument sake, we’ll use the NFL. That said, lifting the “ban” or “restrictions” on a substance of marijuana’s ilk would be a public relations nightmare. Removing marijuana from the banned list, would also lead to the removal of corporate ads and endorsements from the NFL’s public face.

Be certain of one thing, the National Football League is a business, first, and a sport, second. In this belief, do you really think Reebok, Ford and Gatorade will “hook their train” to a partner that endorses drug use? Yeah …. if you’re not AGAINST it, you’re FOR it. The genie is out of the bottle, and you can’t put it back in.

This is exactly how business partners will look at it. If marijuana is no longer banned, it must be okay to use it …. you won’t be tested for it. Also, the NFL and Player’s Association have already agreed it should be banned. Thus, which entity will be the first to step forward and broach the possibility of lifting the ban? Obviously, it would have to be the Player’s Association …. and I don’t think they would ever consider doing something so stupid.

Regardless of recent headlines, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, LaDanian Tomlinson and Donovan McNabb have much more influence than Ricky Williams and his fellow cast of misfits. Additionally, lifting a ban or relaxing restrictions on ANYTHING will not come without a price for the Player’s Association. They would have give something up …. it’s part of the negotiation process when unions are involved.

Be assured, as badly as Ricky Williams wants to get stoned, Donovan McNabb wants to get paid by “Chunky Soup” …. and Peyton Manning wants the same love from Sprint and MasterCard. These factors, alone, will ensure marijuana doesn’t spoil the party (wow…weed spoiling a party) for the “Park Avenue” contingent of players.

As I always say …. it’s about the money. And, Marijuana’s prominence, or lack thereof, in the NFL’s landscape is set in stone …. as it should be. Getting “high” is not important. There, I said it. Making money and furthering livelihoods is important. Get the picture?