NFL players fighting the league's ban on cannabis just got an ally from another side of the game. Jason La Canfora - a CBS Sports reporter who was also an insider for NFL Network and a sportswriter for The Washington Post - is calling on the league to stop testing for marijuana. La Canfora says that he's had enough of seeing the league "scorn or banish someone like Eugene Monroe" for supporting medical marijuana. And he's tired of watching players like Le'Veon Bell get suspended for missing drug tests.
"NFL, get out of the pot-policing business. ASAP," La Canfora wrote in an article for CBS Sports. Instead of policing cannabis users, he would rather see the league stiffen punishments for worse offences committed by players, like domestic assault and other violent crimes. "Go ahead and work to stiffen your domestic violence policies as part of the trade-off. Ratchet up your stance on players involved in any incident involving gun violence or potential gun violence."
La Canfora isn't saying the NFL should take an 'anything goes' approach to marijuana. He's saying players should only be punished if they're caught breaking cannabis laws. The current rules, he argues, are offside with changing attitudes toward cannabis as a "leisure activity and [treatment for] pain relief." And the league's penalties have no positive effects. Punishing a player for using cannabis recreationally or medicinally only damages his relationship with his club, his team's performance and his career.
"I understand the need for players to follow the rules," La Canfora wrote, "but shouldn't the punishments fit the crimes? What if more states keep legalizing and what if more municipalities continue to reap the financial rewards from it? What if we just admit this is a personal choice a good many of these athletes are going to make as a counter-punch to all of the blows to the head they are contractually obligated to take?"
And he thinks that the cannabis ban is simply bad for business and hypocritical. "I'm sure [NFL] execs would love to avoid factoring in the risk of suspension...for smoking an occasional joint -- something I'd wager my salary a fair number of owners, execs and coaches have done or still do from time to time."