For a long time, only retired NFL players spoke out against the league's ban on medical marijuana - a drug that might be a safer and more effective way of treating sports injuries than league-approved painkillers. Now we may know why current players chose to remain mum on marijuana. Eugene Monroe - the first active player to speak out on the issue - is allegedly getting dumped by his team over his controversial views.
Last March, Monroe - an offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens - spoke out against the NFL's ban on marijuana. And he put his money where his mouth is in May by donating $80,000 to cannabis researchers studying the plant's effectiveness in treating sports injuries. He seemed to have made headway earlier this month when top NFL officials held a telephone conference with those researchers in order to learn more about medical marijuana.
But the Baltimore Ravens might not be onside with Monroe's moonlighting as a marijuana activist, according to trade rumors. Earlier today, Ian Rapoport - a reporter for NFL.com - tweeted that Baltimore intends to trade or cut Monroe from the team no later than tomorrow (June 16). Rumors are the team wants to trade Monroe because of his injury history and the fact that they have a replacement for his position in recently drafted Ronnie Stanley. But sports reporters are sceptical.
Expectation is that #Ravens OT Eugene Monroe won't be on the team by the end of Thurs. Could even be traded or released by the end of today— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 15, 2016
The Ravens haven't backed Monroe's position on marijuana
The Raven's coach has made it clear the team doesn't endorse Monroe's stance on marijuana. "I promise you, he does not speak for the organization," John Harbaugh once said.
According to Frank Schwab of Yahoo! Sports, "The Baltimore Ravens are trying to pass off their attempts to trade offensive tackle Eugene Monroe as a simple football move. Maybe it is. But it's really, really, really hard to believe this has little to do with Monroe's strong stance that the NFL should adopt marijuana as a pain-killing option."
Schwab added, "It's not like the Ravens woke up in June and suddenly realized Monroe has dealt with a lot of injuries the past two seasons...The Ravens aren't struggling with the salary cap (more than $7-million in room) and it's not like extra salary-cap room helps much in June. The Ravens just want Monroe gone, and are in a hurry to get rid of him as well."
Monroe agrees. Earlier this week, he alleged that the Ravens were distancing themselves from him because of his controversial stance on the league's drug policy. In a series of tweets, he suggested that he's willing to make cannabis advocacy the hill that his career may die on. He also clarified that he isn't trying to attack, but to work with the NFL for the benefit of teams and players.
@Ravens continue to distance themselves from me and my cause. I invite you all to do some research. I won't stop. This is for my brothers— Eugene Monroe (@MrEugeneMonroe) June 10, 2016
This is for the players that make up the team. This is for the players the fans love. Our families. Our future health and wellness.— Eugene Monroe (@MrEugeneMonroe) June 10, 2016
I don't say these things to slander the @NFL or my team. I say them because we need a solution. We need change in our health care.— Eugene Monroe (@MrEugeneMonroe) June 10, 2016
We need change in our drug policy.— Eugene Monroe (@MrEugeneMonroe) June 10, 2016