The NFL Players Association plans to propose updates to the collectively bargained substance abuse policy that repositions marijuana use as a player health and safety issue, along the same lines as revisions to concussion protocol in recent years. NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday the goal is to better emphasize diagnosis of underlying issues and treatment in the early phases of the drug program, rather than just getting players to stop smoking weed. And Smith said the union intends to hold the league accountable to make the necessary adjustments to a policy both sides agreed to in 2014. “I think that there is a better way,” Smith said, “to evaluate players who test positive for marijuana to figure out whether or not they have just a recreational use issue, whether they have an addiction problem, but equally important, whether or not they’re using marijuana as a result of some other issue that we’re not even looking for – whether there is a depression issue, whether there is an anxiety issue. And currently, the way the system works, that evaluation, that therapeutic look at the player isn’t occurring. “I believe if the players vote on it, it will be a policy that is in the best health and safety interest of the players, and we will treat it the same way that we treated changes in the collective bargaining agreement to make concussion protocols safer, practice on field safer, ways to ensure that players are treated the right way for injuries, and that’s our obligation as a union.” The first step is finalizing a proposal for review by the NFLPA executive committee before the union’s annual meetings later this month. If approved, it would then go to the board of representatives for another vote before it would be sent to the league.
NFLPA boss DeMaurice Smith says he wants weed treated as health issue, like concussions
USA Today | Mar 2