Since the relevance of competitive athletics in the late 19th century, society and sports have had a lot of parallels, Jackie Robinson off-course comes to mind, his acceptance by the MLB signified a larger cultural trend and The Jackie Robinson milestone is often compared to other cultural milestones like the MLK’s “I have a Dream Speech” and Rosa Parks sitting at the front of the bus. Sports can sometimes ease us into certain behaviors because if our role models are doing it then we shouldn’t be far behind. This brings us to the present day and the NFL’s 2 most dubious decisions in quite sometime. The NFL is basically making a statement to the general public that Domestic Violence is or should be more culturally except-able than recreational Marijuana use. Now, many critics will blast me for downplaying the problems that drug use can cause and so on. I am only talking about Cannabis, a plant that has been around for thousands of years and has many proven medicinal purposes. The type of drugs that the NFL condones like Vicodin, Oxytocin and other pain killers are actually very dangerous and highly addictive. The NFL is actually causing a problem by banning the solution. This is not where the irony ends.

rrLets take a look at the main players in this charade being orchestrated by Roger Goodell. Ray Rice was for the most part a model citizen for the NFL, he is a multi-time pro bowler and a Super Bowl champion. The Incident in Atlantic City was for the most part his only transgression. What a transgression it was, Rice allegedly punched his fiance at the time and then dragged her unconscious body out of the Revel Casino elevator, not allegedly because this video tape is readily available. Ray Rice subsequently married his Victim/Fiance and paraded her around for the media so she can basically apologize for getting smacked around. The NFL PR machine at its finest, but don’t dunk on the goal post that is frowned upon. As the summer went on the media speculated how many games Ray Rice was going to be suspended for, most estimates ranged from 6 games to “indefinitely.” Everybody assumed that if Ben Roethlisburger got 4 games and was not even charged with a crime then Ray Rice’s actions being on video tape would automatically cost him at least a third of the season. Heck, even Mike Priefer got 3 games for alleged homophobic remarks. So when the punishment came down as only a 2 game suspension, the media was in an uproar but no legitimate explanation was given. Should we really be surprised though, the NFL was selling The “Ray Rice Women’s Draft Him Shimmer V-Neck T-shirt” within a week of the decision. Although the NFL claims that almost half of its audience is female, the NFL cherishes its male audience to a point where females may be offended somewhat. I can’t really root for Ray Rice at this point and I’m a guy. What would posses a woman to but a Ray Rice jersey or T-Shirt at this juncture is hard for me to fathom.

jgLets look at the other side of this equation, Josh Gordon faces a year-long suspension for testing positive. Josh Gordon has not been a model citizen, i’ll give the NFL that. He has had a troubled past but he has not really hurt anyone but himself. The NFL has more stringent Marijuana laws than the Military or Air traffic controllers. In Fact, Josh Gordon only failed a “B” sample by a very slim margin. The NFL should be looking for alternative answers to their looming and on going pain-killer problem but instead the NFL is placating to their sponsors instead of doing the right thing for their players. The NFL has a right to regulate what substances their players ingest but there needs to be a re-examination of their current policies. The NFL has cracked down on Adderal and Fertility drugs but has yet to establish any kind of testing for Human Growth Hormone. Robert Mathis of the Colts was suspended for 4 games for taking unapproved fertility drugs, I don’t know the details of the case but to me that seems like a personal matter and the NFL should focus on Performance Enhancing substances. Orlando Skandrick was suspended for MDMA, a dumb move on Scandrick’s part but the drug doesn’t affect Scandrick’s on the field performance, I doubt Scandrick is taking Molly while playing football, so once again, Molly should really be a matter for the DEA not the NFL. I don’t see Miley Cyrus being suspended from her tour, I don’t really see how the NFL has any jurisdiction in policing substances that don’t affect the on the field performance of its players.

I think in general sports in America takes its self too seriously and the NFL is guilty of being overly paranoid that it will lose its top spot in the sports kingdom. The NFL should be more concerned with the health of its players but instead the NFL is protecting its image and taking healthier alternative options of the table. Even the teachers union in America does not submit to drug tests are the NFL players really that important to the fabric of society that we need to keep tabs on their every bong hit in the offseason. The NFL needs to take a step back and really reconsider what their role is in the NFL players lives, any normal person would say that Domestic Violence is an issue that needs to be taken more seriously while recreational drugs should be a secondary concern.

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