An NFL official admitted for the first time Monday evening that there is a link between football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). In response, Baltimore Ravensoffensive tackle Eugene Monroe sprang into action with a series of 38 tweets and six retweets advocating for research on how cannabinoids (i.e. medicinal marijuana) can help curb traumatic brain injuries.
This is not the first time Monroe has advocated for this type of research. Just last week, he gave an interview to CNN.com on the subject. “The NFL will need to have legitimate information before they remove marijuana from the banned substance list and ultimately not hurt their product in the field,” he said. “But there’s opportunity in that space also, for the NFL to get involved and maybe lead efforts.”
The league has been firm in its stance that it is not removing marijuana from that list. “It’s an NFL policy and we believe it’s the correct policy for now and in the best interest of our players and the long-term health of our players,” Roger Goodell said at the Super Bowl, on the subject of having marijuana on the banned list.
The NFLPA essentially echoed that sentiment. “Marijuana is currently a banned substance under the collectively bargained Substances of Abuse Policy. Both parties to the policy (NFL and NFLPA) seek guidance from the independent medical professionals who administer the policy, and no change to marijuana’s status as a banned substance has been recommended by those medical professionals.”
But Monroe is not really advocating for marijuana to be taken off the banned substances list just yet. He’s advocating for players to fund research into whether marijuana can help players avoid brain trauma. If that research is done and a link is found (between marijuana and preventing trauma), advocating for marijuana’s removal from the banned subtances list would presumably be the next step. It’s just difficult to know whether that is indeed the case without research (and the money to fund it).