NFL Players Petition League to Consider Marijuana as Pain Relief Following Public Approval

It defies common sense for the NFL to accept harmful prescription painkillers, while rejecting a beneficial alternative such as marijuana.


The November 2016 elections held in the United States confirmed that marijuana is gaining public acceptance in the country. Although the media attention was on Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, marijuana was also on the ballot in some states.

At the end of the polls, the efforts of marijuana activists were never in vain. They won major ballot victories on election day in states across the nation.


Medical marijuana legalization, on the ballot in Florida, received a whopping 71% support from voters. Medical marijuana legalization also received massive endorsement in Arkansas and North Dakota. Voters in California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine also approved measures to legalize marijuana for recreational use in their territories.

According to observers, had marijuana been placed on the ballot nationwide, it would have swept through, gaining more votes than Trump and Clinton put together. Many believe the federal restriction on the plant will soon collapse, as more and more people in the country understand the medicinal value of marijuana.

In the light of available evidence on the medicinal value of marijuana, a group of players in the American National Football League (NFL) have submitted an official request to officials of the game to allow players in the league to use marijuana on medical grounds.


Per the current rules of the NFL, it is illegal for players to use the plant. Officials classify marijuana in the same box as heroin. According to the petitioners, this restriction is hurting many players in the league. In fact, the NFL game is played with great strength and vigor. After each game, players need to take pain relief in order to remedy the tackles they sustained during the game.

But despite the full knowledge by many players that marijuana is capable of relieving body pains, due to the ban on it, players have no choice than to resort to the use of dangerous prescribed painkillers. This ensures big pharma’s money-making ventures continue, all the while the lives of users become vulnerable due to the side effects of these drugs.

It was recently discovered that prescription painkillers have become endemic across the United States. The worrying part is that overdose of the drugs is on the rise in states across the country.  Statistics show the use of prescription painkillers is now more widespread in the United States than tobacco.


Across the United States, it is estimated that around 37.8% of adult Americans are using some kind of painkiller, while 31.15% of adults in the country use tobacco products. These statistics point to a gloomy picture on the lives of many Americans, considering the harm painkillers are causing.

Kyle Turley is leading the petition to NFL officials. Born in the city of Provo, Utah, Turley had spent eight years playing as an offensive lineman in the NFL. Although retired from the game, he believes he can push for changes to avert current players in the NFL from going through what he experienced in taking painkillers.

In an interview with NPR on why he is leading the campaign to have marijuana recognized by officials as a painkiller in the NFL, Turley told a sad account of his personal experiences with prescription painkillers.


According to Turley, after retiring from the NFL, he found himself addicted to several drugs including Vicodin and morphine. The addiction was not even the real problem. Turley revealed the pills nearly drove him to commit suicide. Becoming depressed, at one point in 2009 Turley said his wife found him trying to jump from a third story window. Thoughts of suicide gripped him.

“Suicidal and homicidal tendencies became part of my daily living. I couldn’t be around a knife in the kitchen without having an urge to stab someone, including my wife and kids,” Turley said.

What saved Turley from this messy situation was when marijuana was recommended to him. He immediately switched from the dangerous pills to marijuana. He used marijuana for pain management, and it worked for him perfectly.


Turley now works with the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition, a marijuana advocacy group made up of some past and present NFL players. It is this group who have petitioned the NFL concerning the benefits of medical marijuana.

According to the group, there is growing frustration among players regarding the NFL policy towards painkillers and marijuana. The group said it defies common sense for the NFL to accept harmful prescription painkillers, while rejecting a beneficial alternative such as marijuana. Gridiron Cannabis Coalition said it is backing a move by the NFL Players Association to form a committee devoted to exploring pain management issues for current and retired athletes.


“Certainly given some of the medical research that’s out there, marijuana is going to be one of the substances that we take a look at,” George Atallah, an NFL Players Association executive told NPR in an interview.

The petition has been submitted. Only time will tell if the NFL will choose common sense over needless bureaucracy, to help these athletes who are in dire need of a safe pain relief alternative.

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