Tom Bogert, CBS Local Sports
The legalization of both medicinal and recreational marijuana in different states across the country has sparked debates of whether or not the NFL should do the same.
The arguments have been centered around pain relief. The players are already receiving inordinate amounts of cortisone shots and being prescribed addictive pain killer pills, so why not legalize marijuana for the same use?
Perception is the main hurdle, according to Jason Fitz of The Jason Fitz Show. The owners running the league care about perception and the league in general cares about admission of guilt, and being wrong should they standardize it for their business before the national government does so.
But the ugly truth is, according to Fitz, is that nobody truly cares about player safety. Fitz navigates that opinion delicately, as it’s all too easy to be worded too callously or taken out of context, but the fans care only about winning games.
“This is the moment in the podcast that’s going to get thrown out because the world is going to hear this quote without its context and they’re going to think I’m a monster, but I’m just having a moment of honesty with you: nobody cares about player safety,” said Fitz.
Fitz continued to explain that potentially unpopular opinion.
“It’s true. Not a single fan really gives a damn about whether or not players get CTE they only care about if their football teams win games,” said Fitz. “So pleading to the fans for some sort of love and support on this medical marijuana issue is strike one, Eugene Monroe, because the typical fan doesn’t give a damn… The typical casual fan won’t even remember who you are in five years.”
Eugene Monroe, an offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens, is referenced as he ignited the topic in Fitz with a series of tweets advocating for marijuana’s practical use in the NFL.
“That’s a sad reality,” said Fitz. “I’m not saying it’s right, I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’m just saying it’s fact.”
Fitz, the fiddle player for The Band Perry, speaks from a position of knowledge.
“I’m not being harsh– the only correlation I can make is to my job,” said Fitz. “I play fiddle every single night for The Band Perry. If I leave tomorrow, The Band Perry will continue to sell all of their tickets, their fans will continue to go. Very few people, if any, would not buy a ticket because I am not the fiddle player. In fact, I’m not the original fiddle player for The Band Perry. They had someone else, nobody remembers who he is, great guy, but nobody knows him.”
Perception is key in the NFL, and the cloud of perception surrounding marijuana is a negative one. Fitz tries to look a few steps further if the NFL were to legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. What happens when the first player puts up a picture of weed smoking paraphernalia onto social media? What’s the response there?
“If you’re looking at their locker and they got a little pill bottle there, does anyone even notice? No,” said Fitz. “If you’re looking at their locker and there’s a bong in it, what’s everyone going to say? Perception is reality, guys.”
Roger Goodell and the NFL likely won’t remedy its policy on marijuana before the national government does so.
“The only way that the NFL can change its weed policy is if it makes an admission along the way,” said Fitz. “So you’re asking Roger Goodell to peel off from everything that he’s ever said about weed and suddenly come in and say ‘I think it could help.'”
Fitz acknowledges the argument for it, though, and it’s something that he wouldn’t have a problem with. He’s just bringing to light the facts of why it hasn’t happened.
“The common conversation point here is that painkillers are being given to NFL players all the time,” said Fitz. “Basically if they need it, it’s there for them… If you’re concerned about your football players getting high, you need to understand that they already are because they’re hopped up on all sorts of addictive pain pills.”
As a fan of repetitive disappointment and frustration, Tom holds Liverpool FC, the New York Knicks and New York Red Bulls near and dear to his heart with occasional joy coming from the New York Giants and New York Yankees.