Many football players have been advocating for the National Football League to research the potential medical benefits of marijuana. Baltimore Ravens lineman Eugene Monroe has been very outspoken and so has Tennessee Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan. Now, Morgan is beginning to speak out even more in favor of increased research.
“I just take the NFL for their word: If they say that long-term health and player safety are top priorities of the league, then why aren’t you looking into all the options for health care that are out there?” Morgan told ESPN in an interview. “It’s definitely incumbent upon them to really delegate some time and some resources to look into it.”
On June 23rd on Yahoo! Global News, Morgan and Monroe called on the NFL to search cannabis even more. Since that statement, Monroe was released by the Ravens and retired. Morgan however is still a member of the Titans as of this writing.
@Ravens continue to distance themselves from me and my cause. I invite you all to do some research. I won't stop. This is for my brothers
— Eugene Monroe (@MrEugeneMonroe) June 10, 2016
It’s important to note due to Monroe’s release and retirement, Morgan is the only active NFL player to speak publicly in favor of increased marijuana research. Retired NFL players such as Monroe and Ricky Williams most notably have spoken out multiple times.
Morgan has stated he’s never failed a drug test for marijuana and has never used it either because of the NFL’s rules.
“I think anyone who says that is missing the point,” he said. “We are obviously bound by the testing protocol. It’s something that we are not able to use. You’ve got to understand where the motive is coming from. If that was the case, then there are a lot of people who are wanting to use recreationally. If that’s the main motive, why would somebody speak up about it? Just to blow their cover?”
While he claims to not use it, Morgan has stated he wants to spread awareness of the medical benefits marijuana can provide players. A lot will have to happen for the NFL to agree to that, however. For one, FDA may have to reclassify marijuana entirely. Right now, marijuana is listed by the FDA as a Schedule I drug just like heroin, LSD, and others.
“They group them together with LSD, heroin, things along those lines with no medicinal value,” he said. “If you’re a Schedule I drug, then they are basically saying there is no medical value. So for cannabis to have a Schedule I rating, is inaccurate, I know that probably in August, September, the DEA is looking to hopefully reschedule it, or at least certain compounds of the plant, so it’ll be more widely available for people putting it in the same category that the opioids are in. So it’ll be easier to research. I think that, in and of itself, will open up another dialogue between the league and its players and the PA.”
With more and more coming out about head trauma and other long lasting injuries suffered by players, Morgan believes marijuana is more important now than ever before.
“CTE, all this stuff is real … that’s unsettling as a player,” he said. “You want to be able to think that you are going to be there for your family in full capacity, that you’re going to be able to be an active member, contributing member of society.”
Morgan also told ESPN it’s important to keep in mind that every player is in a different position not only in their stance on marijuana, but also on head trauma issues as well. As a result, Morgan thinks if a player wants to ensure a longer better future for himself after football, he should be able to do that.
“At the root of it, if your motivation is being proactive about preserving your health, then I don’t think you should have to tippy-toe around anything.”
The NFL has slowly showed signs of taking steps to look into medical marijuana and its potential medical benefits. The league has already spoken to medical marijuana research experts about its benefits.