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Cannabis and the NFL - Hypocrisy Abounds

The NFL allows beer commercials for years while banning ads for cannabis. This article discusses this hypocrisy and the players who speak out about it.

Jason SanderJason Sander · Feb. 24, 2021 · 4 min read
Cannabis and the NFL - Hypocrisy Abounds

Cannabis is a complicated issue when it comes to our biggest American football league. In this article, we discuss how the league views and treats the plant medicine.

Over the years, fan viewpoints on player-player consumption, policies regarding sponsors, and advertising have changed, but one thing tends to be commonplace. And that is the fact that NFL officials and owners bury their heads in the sand and pretend players don’t consume, even in states with legal cannabis.

Hypocrisy abounds, with commercials for alcohol being permitted but cannabis commercials are banned from being aired during the Super Bowl. Thankfully, some advancements have been made, in varying degrees for our nation’s favorite sport. Here are some specific details on American football treats cannabis, how individual players are outspoken about it, and ultimately why it matters.

The “Weed Bowl”

Anyone who even thought of the 2014 Super Bowl between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos likely remembers people referring to the game as “The Weed Bowl”, with Washington state and Colorado having legalized adult-use cannabis. Of course, this isn’t the only time cannabis consumption has been brought up in conjunction with pro football.

Players both retired and currently competing have been speaking out for years about how they think cannabis should be allowed in the league. Two of the most notably outspoken players on cannabis are Chris Long and Eugene Monroe.

Defensive End Chris Long

Chris Long spoke out about cannabis in the league right after he retired in 2018. Long said he couldn’t have made it through the grind of the game and putting his body through the intense physicality without the help of cannabis. Long openly told CBS Sports that he thinks players should be able to consume cannabis.

Chris Long is a former first-round draft pick who won back-to-back Super Bowls - first with the New England Patriots in 2017, and then with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018. The NFL named Long the 2018 Walter Payton Man of the Year for donating all of his earnings each weekly game to a different charity while playing with the Eagles. The prestigious NFL Man of the Year award is given to one player who shows excellence in their off-the-field activities, volunteer, and charity work. Now retired, Chris Long hosts a popular podcast called Green Light, where he candidly interviews many current and former players in the NFL, NBA, and MLB.

chris-long Image credit: Getty Images

During the 2019 Super Bowl, Long called out the hypocrisy of the NFL allowing commercials for beer and other alcohol products to air but rejected a cannabis ad. The ad, blocked by CBS at the time, was from Acreage Cannabis. The touching 60-second spot discussed how a young man overcame dozens of seizures a day with cannabis, and how a military veteran who lost a leg at war was helped by the plant medicine as well. The hypocrisy runs deep within the NFL.

Not only have networks airing games allowed commercials for alcoholic beverages for years, but they also run multiple campaigns every season about supporting the troops. Players and coaches even wear uniforms and other gear that resembles military camouflage. Support the troops! But not this specific troop who lost his leg and medicates legally with medical cannabis.

Offensive Tackle Eugene Monroe

Perhaps the former NFL player who has done the most advocacy work for cannabis is former Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle, Eugene Monroe. Monroe has been an outspoken advocate of cannabis medicine for over five years now, saying how he thinks players should be able to consume in their off time.

offensive-tackle-eugene-monroe Image credit: Getty Images

Monroe is one of the first players to openly speak out about cannabis medicine while still playing, following in the footsteps of former Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams. The difference between Monroe and most of the other players who spoke out about cannabis in the league is that Monroe was still in the league. He risked his playing status by being so outspoken about cannabis and made it public that he donated $10,000 towards the advancement of research on the plant medicine.

Why It Matters

Like it or not, kids look up to players in our sports leagues. While Chris Long and Eugene Monroe are linemen, skill position players like former superstar wideout Randy Moss have also spoken up after Monroe and Long did. For better or worse, celebrities have a massive influence on our culture - whether good or bad. When our favorite sports players speak out about the positives of cannabis medicine while normalizing its consumption, it only helps move forward policy reform and legalization.

HashDash - Educating and Entertaining Tomorrow’s Cannabis Consumer

We hope you found value in our content about cannabis in professional sports. If you made it through the whole article - thank you, first of all. But you’ve probably noticed that we pay most attention to the NFL, as football is our favorite sport. If you have input on cannabis in the MLB, NBA, or NHL, we are happy to hear it! Sound off on our social - @hashdash on all platforms, except for Instagram, where we are @hashdash.com.

Check back to our blog often, because we post fresh content twice every week!

Here at HashDash, we are compiling an entire information database that will continue to answer your questions regarding all things cannabis, as well as where to find the best dispensaries in your area. Be sure to sign up for HashDash if you haven’t already to discover your cannabis matches.

Thanks for reading! Happy consuming!

Jason Sander
Jason SanderJason is a versatile writer and marketer with over ten combined years of experience working with clients in various industries. He couples this expertise with six years of writing for the cannabis sector as well as a passion for the business side, and the science behind the plant medicine.




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