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Jerry Jones Recommends Changes to NFL Marijuana Policy

At an NFL owners-only meeting last week, the Cowboys' reportedly spoke on a few issues, two of which were 's salary and off-field conduct investigations to name a couple. Perhaps the most interesting, though, was a push by Jones for the NFL to end its testing for and bans against use for players.

As reported by PFT's Mike Florio, Jones was reminded that the drug policy is part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and would have to be handled during a labor negotiation. The current is set to expire after the . While it is tougher for changes to occur outside of the expiration years and negotiation periods, there are mechanisms for this if both parties are in agreement.

Cowboys Headlines - NFL Rule Changes Are NOT Improvements 4
Jerry Jones and Roger Goodell (Michael Ainsworth/The )

Even if it will be four years from now, a change in the NFL's stance against marijuana would be in keeping with the change seen throughout the country. As of the writing of this article, eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana use and twenty-one others have approved medical use.

Eight NFL teams play in the areas where recreational use is legal. Another fifteen teams are in the states where only medical use is allowed. That's nearly 72% of the NFL's franchises.

About two months ago we shared the comments from the director of the NFL Players Association, DeMaurice Smith, concerning the marijuana issue in pro football. He was clearly in favor of a full review of the league's policies based on the changing national viewpoint towards marijuana and the evolving research in the medical community.

With still over a quarter of its teams playing in states where marijuana is illegal, the NFL is still in a delicate position. Not testing for marijuana could be viewed as a circumvention of state laws and bring them into conflict with certain groups and governmental bodies. On the other hand, countless Americans go to work every day without ever facing drug testing.

The simplest answer would seem to be that the NFL no longer test for marijuana but still have in place for players who break their state laws. This would take the league out of the discussion, mostly, and put the onus back on the local authorities to be the law enforcers. At the same time, it would hold up whatever veil of moral authority the NFL stills wants to preserve.

The NFL could use a public relations win after several problematic years with concussion research, issues, and Deflategate. While there are still many in the United States who do not support marijuana legalization, they appear to now be the ever-dwindling minority.

It's rare that the NFL is out in front on social issues. They have an opportunity to at least keep pace here while also looking more concerned about their players. Opening the door to medical marijuana, at least superficially, could be seen as a positive step against some of the concussion and other health issues that have worked against the league;s reputation.

When one of the NFL's most influential owners talks, people listen. Considering that Texas doesn't yet have legalized marijuana, Jerry Jones' desire to speak on this issue make it even more noteworthy. He's trying to look ahead and keep the NFL in step with the times, rather trying to play catch up.

Jess Haynie
Jess Haynie
Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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Russ_Te

Finally Quincy Carter can get back in the NFL… ;^)

Jess Haynie

Handing it off to Ricky Williams.

Russ_Te

Good & wise way to handle it.

Jerry just wants to minimize his suspended players of course. But effectively he is acting just as Tex Schramm did all those years – that is to push the league pro-actively into the future.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tex_Schramm

Bret Lewis

So even if the policy is changed, it couldn’t happen until 2020. Right?

Jess Haynie

No, the league and players union can agree to changes anytime they want. It’s just harder to do outside of the normal negotiating periods because you don’t have the same give-and-take and bargaining ability without all of the other possible issues on the table.

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