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Many professional athletes have come out publicly in support of cannabis reform. Professional athletes need to realize that they are not alone in their support for cannabis reform and/or cannabis use. In order for cannabis prohibition to end in all professional sports, current and retired professional athletes need to unite their voices and continue calls for professional sports leagues to allow players to make the safer choice.

nba basketball cannabis marijuana

NBA

“When you talk about guys playing at a professional level, there’s a lot of physical and mental stress that comes with that. To have something available to you that has health benefits, I don’t see the issue with it myself.” – retired NBA player Cliff Robinson

“I think all of the (sports) leagues are now appropriately focused on player training, structuring of the right parts of their body, player rehabilitation in the case of injury, player nutrition … (marijuana) should be a part of that conversation,” – retired NBA commissioner David Stern in an interview with UNINTERRUPTED

“I agree with David Stern with marijuana. You don’t have to actually make it “Mary J” [or] “Half Baked.” You don’t have to do it like that, but you could use the [chemical] properties in it to make a lot of people better. That’s something that Adam Silver has to do. That’s out of my control, but maybe legalizing marijuana.” – current NBA player Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves, in an interview with ESPN

“The cannabis industry is an incredible opportunity for people to get involved in a business, to be able to make some money, and really be doing some good for people.” – NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry in an interview with The Star

“I would hope so, and I’m not a pot person. It doesn’t agree with me. I tried it a few times, and it did not agree with me at all. So I’m not the expert on this stuff. But I do know this: If you’re an NFL player, in particular, and you got lot of pain, I don’t think there’s any question that pot is better for your body than Vicodin. And yet, athletes everywhere are prescribed Vicodin like it’s Vitamin C, like it’s no big deal. And there’s like this perception in our country that over-the-counter drugs are fine but pot is bad. Now, I think that’s changing.” – NBA champion and current Golden State Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr, referring to professional sports leagues and cannabis in a CSN Bay Area podcast

“We have tried to stop marijuana use in the NBA. I don’t think we have been able to stop it. I think it still goes on and is still a part of the culture in the NBA. It is something that we either have to accommodate or figure out another way to deal with it.” – Legendary NBA Coach Phil Jackson in an interview with CBS Sports

“When you’re playing, you obviously can’t jump out there and say you’re doing all that type of stuff. But I’m living proof that you can manage pain without all the pharmaceuticals.” — retired NBA player Al Harrington, referring to cannabis

“It’s easy for doctors to prescribe you Oxycontin and look I was addicted to it for five plus years so I know. But when you say marijuana you get a reaction, ahhh, it’s a gateway drug.” – retired NBA player Jay Williams during an interview with Fox

“So many guys would probably benefit from it and not take as many painkillers, which have worse long-term effects. So I would vote yes. I just think it makes sense.” – NBA player Blake Griffin, in an interview with Rolling Stone

“It’s a terrible feeling when you can’t help someone suffering from cancer or another debilitating medical condition. I know from personal experience. But medical marijuana can give our loved ones relief.” – NBA Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson

“I know a lot of people that use it. It’s something that the whole world is becoming more progressive with. So it’s about time some of these entities do as well.” – retired NBA player Jay Williams, referring to the NBA during an interview with Fox

“It’s a very important issue to talk about. Having gone through a tough spell over the last year with my own recovery from back surgery, and a lot of pain, I had to do a lot of research. You get handed prescriptions for Vicodin, Oxycontin, Percocet, NFL players, that’s what they’re given. The stuff is awful. The stuff is dangerous. The addiction possibility, what it can lead to, the long term health risks. The issue that’s really important is how do we do what’s best for the players.” – NBA champion and current Golden State Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr, referring to professional sports leagues and cannabis in a CSN Bay Area podcast

“If you’re a football player you should be allowed to smoke weed or ingest some sort of THC and CBD because of what you do. If Le’Veon Bell is Le’Veon Bell and he smokes weed, don’t stop what he’s doing.” retired NBA player John Salley in an interview with The Undefeated

“I don’t think I’ve seen people who smoke marijuana turn into a violent sort of person.” – NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry in an interview with The Star

“What made me change my opinion of the cannabis plant was because of my grandmother’s story. My grandmother suffered from glaucoma and she also has diabetes. I got her to try it pretty much on a whim, just from me seeing things on TV and different things like that, and people talking about the relief that it gives. It worked out for her better than I expected. So, at that point, I started reading up even more on the plant and how it was helping so many people. Some people even credited black-oil cannabis with curing their cancer.” – retired NBA player Al Harrington in an interview with The Root

“It’s about time some of these brands like the NBA and MLB become a little bit more progressive and start thinking forward instead of being held captive in the past.” – retired NBA player Jay Williams, referring to the NBA during an interview with Fox

“It’s a banned substance in my league. But I believe in marijuana and the medical side of it.” – NBA player Larry Sanders, in an interview with the Milwaukie Journal Sentinel

“Marijuana testing is something that’s collectively bargained with the players’ association, and we adjust to the times.” – NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, in an interview with GQ

“This whole war on drugs has been an absolute failure across the board.” – retired NBA player Bill Walton, while working as a commentator during a Oregon Ducks Washington Huskies basketball game

“When I had my fourth surgery, I was in Vail, Colo., and my cousin introduced me to cannabinoids, and from that point forward, I’ve never taken another Vicodin or anti-inflammatory pill.” – retired NBA player Al Harrington in an interview with The Root

nfl football marijuana cannabis

NFL

“Since I was a kid, I wanted to play in the NFL. Even though I occasionally used marijuana, it never prevented me from attaining my goals.” – Mark Stepnoski, NFL 1990’s All-Decade Team member and two time Super Bowl champion, in an interview with NY Daily News

“I would like it to be like the other leagues and not test. It’s not a performance enhancing drug.” – NFL Coach Bruce Arians (Arizona Cardinals), referring to cannabis in a recent interview on CBS Sports Radio

“It makes you sleep more comfortable and longer — for me. I’m a total believer it helps, depending on who you are.” – Former Stanford, 49ers and Raiders quarterback Jim Plunkett in an interview with The Californian

“For people like me, marijuana is a godsend because you don’t want to take these pills.” – retired NFL offensive lineman Ryan O’Callaghan in an interview with USA Today

“If you were hurting, then you could get ’em, you know. It was nothing. I mean, if you needed Vicodin, call out, ‘My ankle hurt,’ you know.” – retired NFL player Calvin Johnson, referring to painkiller availability in the NFL during an ESPN interview

“It’s a medicinal herb that provides the only potential solution to both concussions/CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and the opiate epidemic.” – retired NFL lineman Eben Britton in an article from Bleacher Report

“I think Jerry’s opinion, my opinion, is this program, this system has been in place for a long time. I think it needs to be heavily scrutinized in terms of its results.” – Dallas Cowboys VP Stephen Jones said about cannabis testing in the NFL in an interview with PFT Live

“If you look at Roger Goodell, every time he’s asked about (the marijuana issue) he always says, ‘We’re taking recommendations of our medical doctors.’ Well Roger, we don’t want to follow the science. We want you to lead the science.” – retired NFL player Marvin Washington in an interview with NY Daily News

“I will tell you this, if it ever comes to a point where I do need pain management, I’d feel very lucky and happy now that we have medicinal marijuana in Pennsylvania.” – NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“I will never stop pushing for the League to accept medical cannabis as a viable option for pain management.” – NFL player Eugene Monroe, via Twitter

““We make so many sacrifices, and we put our body and mind through so much that you look for holistic ways to alleviate some of those issues. This is one that I found that helps me.”- retired NFL cornerback Lito Sheppard in an interview with Philly.com

“If we want to save football, then we’ve got to start looking at solutions, not just count concussions. Cannabis is that potential savior.” – retired NFL player Kyle Turley, in an interview with Freedom Leaf

“How do we do it in society right now? How does that affect the way a player sees his situation in that lens?’ And then make decisions based on that.” – Dallas Cowboys VP Stephen Jones said about cannabis testing reform in the NFL in an interview with PFT Live

“Where I was taking copious amounts of ibuprofen and stuff like that, I stopped. I sleep better. I feel less stressed.” – retired San Diego running back Hank Bauer in an interview with The Californian

“Marijuana’s already keeping the game afloat. Roughly half of those guys are already using it every week. They have to keep it a secret, though. If they get caught they get fined or suspended. It’s a really uncompassionate stance to take.” – retired NFL player Nate Jackson, via an interview with The Guardian

“The NFL is reviewing its position on medical marijuana. They’re really reviewing their whole pain management regimen and how those things are handled, but if you don’t mind me giving you my personal feeling (why the hell would I mind?), I feel in any state that has approved medical marijuana (as 28 states hosting 20 of the NFL’s 32 teams have), the league should remove medical marijuana from being a banned substance.” – NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“If the NFL got behind this, this would go a long way to breaking down the walls and barriers that are there. Not only in society, but in sports leagues. I know marijuana is not the problem in the NFL. I know what the problem is — it’s concussions and opiate addiction.” – retired NFL player Marvin Washington in an interview with NY Daily News

“I’ve never had any side effects from smoking herb or even the edibles….It’s a medicinal herb. It’s not a drug. When we get over the stigma of that, I think we’ll be better off in this country.” – retired NFL player Jim McMahon, at the Southwest Cannabis Conference and Expo

“What happens is we love to take care of the players when they’re playing. But when we get done and after the five years of insurance runs out, these guys are strung out.” – retired NFL player Jake Plummer, in an interview with Fox Sports

“I will do everything I can to ensure the generations of NFL players after me won’t have to resort to harmful and addictive opioids as their only option for pain management.” – NFL player Eugene Monroe, via Twitter

“I’ve talked to a number of people and I know there have been studies that show the science behind medical marijuana in relation to pain management. I’ve talked to people who’ve been in pain due to falling off a roof or being in a car accident and they have praised medical marijuana and how it helped them. The science is there to support its benefits with seizures, epilepsy, a lot of different conditions. It’s not addictive and, to me, this is just one of the most important things we can do for people.” – NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“My experience with cannabis has taught me that it is a far better option than the pills that get shoved at players .” – retired NFL player Boo Williams, during an interview with NBC Sports

“There is no excuse for us to say we don’t know enough anymore about a plant that has grown from the ground for thousands of years and used as medicine around the world.” – retired NFL player Kyle Turley, in an interview on ESPN

“I know medicinal marijuana has been a Godsend for me. With my chronic pain, all my surgeries I’ve had. The arthritis. It’s getting me through the day. I would hope the governor would get on board with this. It’s helped so many people: epileptics, cancer patients… It helps me every day. I feel a heck of a lot better than when I had to take all those pain pills.” – retired NFL player Jim McMahon, per MLB Reports

“Pain every day is not good, not a good quality of life, so pain management is very important. I would put it this way. I know the league is starting to have more open discussion on this at this time. And I know what a big step for them. It’s not something they take lightly. I like that it’s open to discussion. I’m hoping that they realize that pain management is very important to current and past players and if past players are going to be involved with medical marijuana and that it’s legal, I don’t see why current players shouldn’t.” – NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post Gazette

“I want to change the stigma of this plant. I know it can help.” – retired NFL player Marvin Washington in an interview with NY Daily News

“Current NFL policy does not allow for every potential option in mitigating pain. The NFL says it’s doing everything it can. It’s not.” – NFL player Eugene Monroe, during an interview with Sports Illustrated

“I feel like the NFL has a responsibility to look into it, to delegate time and money to research this for its players. Given how much influence that the NFL has on society, I think it would help the greater good. There’s a lot of people suffering and a lot of people that can benefit from cannabis as a medical treatment.” – NFL player Derrick Morgan, in an interview with Yahoo Global News

“It’s about not only us, but former players, future players and more so society as a whole.” – NFL player Derrick Morgan, speaking about cannabis research in an interview with Yahoo Global News

“I think the NFL just needs to loosen up the rules and let everybody live.” – retired NFL player Randy Moss, when asked by Talking Football whether he supported removing cannabis from the NFL’s banned substance list

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MLB

“I wish I knew about it back when I played because I would’ve been all over it, I would’ve took those risks. If they tested me — ‘hey, you got marijuana in your system’ — I’ll bring it to them: This is what it is. Dissect it. Take it in a lab and see what it’s about.” – retired MLB pitcher David Wells in an interview with The Post Game

“I got into the cannabis industry because it saved my life.” – retired MLB pitcher Ryan Tucker in an interview with Leafly

HOCKEY

hockey marijuana cannabis

“Through medical marijuana, through this plant, there is life.” – Darren McCarty, retired Detroit Red Wings player and four-time Stanley Cup champion, at the Ann Arbor Hash Bash 2017 in Michigan

“If your bread and butter is your body, you need to find a sustainable way to keep performing at a high level—I learned that the hard way. If I could have done it the way I wanted, cannabis would have been the way I always managed my pain, sleep and anxiety.” – retired NHL player Riley Cote in an article from Bleacher Report

mma mixed martial arts marijuana cannabis

MMA

“Thanks to researchers like Professor Yosef Sarne of Tel Aviv University, we’ve discovered that cannabis may help prevent long term brain damage by administering THC before or shortly after the injury. In fact, Israel Defense Force (IDF) practitioners administer CBD or low-dose THC as a first-line of treatment to IDF soldiers. Is that something that could possibly help a fighter who has developed Traumatic Brain Injury or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy?” – ‘Big’ John McCarthy, UFC legend, in an interview with Vegas CANNABIS

“The opportunities [MMA leaders] are missing out on shows they are still not in touch with their fans, [or] the current and future position of the cannabis industry.” – mixed martial arts fighter Nate Diaz in an interview with Dope Magazine

“I’m against testing for weed at all. It’s not a performance enhancing drug. And it has nothing to do with competition. It’s only tested for political reasons.” – mixed martial arts fighter Ronda Rousey, during UFC press conference

“I firmly believe that cannabis is a powerful, natural medicine that can help our society.” — mixed martial arts fighter Frank Shamrock, via official press release.

“There’s NO reason that we should be tested for weed. It shouldn’t be involved at all.” – mixed martial arts fighter Ronda Rousey, during UFC press conference

“It is what it is I’ve failed two drug tests in seven months. There’s not much I can do I was prescribed my medicine and I’m going to take it. I got fired over taking my medicine because I don’t want to take pharmaceutical drugs or testosterone. This is what works for me, it’s just s****y, but it is what it is. It (Marijuana) doesn’t just help me sleep, it relaxes me. It also takes care of my aches and pains.” – retired UFC fighter Matt Riddle, in an interview with Bloody Elbow

“I don’t think marijuana should be a part of the conversation at all. I think it’s an invasion of privacy for them to test for it, and they have no right.” – mixed martial arts fighter Ronda Rousey, during UFC press conference

“It’s the only thing that allows me to still train, and I’m not taking a harmful painkiller into my body that I’ll later become addicted to.” – mixed martial arts fighter Cain Velasquez in an interview with Fox Sports

running marijuana cannabis

Running

“I’ve talked with the best ultra-runners, at least at the 100 mile distance, I’m not going to name names, but they are complete and utter advocates.” – Ultra marathon runner Avery Collins, via an interview with NORML Athletics