Former Baltimore Raven Eugene Monroe made headlines last March when he became the first active player to speak out against the NFL's ban on medical marijuana, which may be a safer and more effective treatment for sports injuries than league-approved painkillers. And on June 15, he became the first player to be cut for taking a stand on marijuana, according to rumors that Monroe's advocacy - not his history of injuries - is the reason why the Ravens released him.
But not every team is opposed to his controversial stance. One day after Monroe's release, the New York Giants - one of the clubs interested in signing the 29 year-old offensive tackle - said that his marijuana stance wasn't an issue.
"I think everyone's entitled to their own opinion," Giants head coach Ben McAdoo said following practice. "Myself, I haven't done any research. I don't have a great answer for you there. That's probably more of a political question, something that I'm not necessarily willing to jump into at this point - or ever. But every player, every coach, every person has their own opinion and is entitled to it."
So the team doesn't support Monroe's position per se. But they do support his right to speak out about it. Which is much different than how the Ravens handled the situation. According to Monroe, the team distanced themselves from him and his position since he came out in support of marijuana.
"I can't say for sure whether or not my stance on medical cannabis was the reason the Ravens released me," Monroe told the New York Times. "However, as I've said in the past, they have distanced themselves from me and made it clear that they do not support my advocacy."
New York isn't rallying around his cause either. But they are acting more supportive of his right to fight for it.
"We're humans. Everybody has an opinion," said Giants running back Rashad Jennings, who played with Monroe for the Jacksonville Jaguars. "And if he feels that he needed to say that at this time in his life, and he felt it was going to garnish a type of response and changes, then go for it, man."
Jennings also defended Monroe's credibility as a player.
"[His stance] shouldn't affect his game play, how he carries himself. [He is a] great dude, stays out of trouble, clean guy, works really hard. So I hope no GM or organization will hold that against him for speaking his opinion."
So it looks like New York is ready to welcome Monroe, but they may have competition from the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks according to ESPN's Josina Anderson.
All three states have legal medical marijuana markets, even though the federal prohibition remains in place.
Banner photo: New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo says Eugene Monroe's advocacy work on the medical value of marijuana isn't an issue for him.