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Will NFL Rules on Marijuana Suspensions Evolve in the Future?

Today’s topic is on the NFL’s rules on suspending players for marijuana use.

This week Cleveland Browns All Pro receiver, Josh Gordon is likely going to be suspended for the entire year and lose his yearly income due to his 2nd positive marijuana test.  Fox Sports’ Mike Garafolo says that Gordon is hoping to get the ban reduced to four to six games.  According to ESPN, Gordon tested positive for marijuana, his second offense under the NFL’s program — last year he was suspended for two games and docked two additional game checks for a similar misstep.  Gordon’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told Outside the Lines that the allegation was “not true.” The 23-year-old Gordon exploded into stardom last season, his second with Cleveland.  He finished the 2013 campaign with 87 catches for an NFL-best 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns, numbers that earned him both a Pro Bowl invite and a first-team All-Pro honor.

Cleveland entered the draft seemingly in need of at least one more receiver to pair with Gordon in its offense, which now looks as if it will be Manziel-led.  The Browns did add Andrew Hawkins from the Bengals earlier this offseason, as well as ex-Lion Nate Burleson in free agency; Greg Little and Travis Benjamin also return.  None of those players is even in Gordon’s vicinity in terms of talent or production.  It is a safe bet, though, that the Browns were aware of Gordon’s pending situation with the league headed into this draft — one that happens to be rich with wide receivers, even after multiple players were chosen at that position in Round 1.  The Browns hold the third pick in Round 2 (No. 35 overall), as well as five other selections over the duration of the draft.
So, you have to wonder if these NFL rules will change or evolve in the near future as more states legalize marijuana.  Just because Josh Gordon tested positive for Marijuana doesn’t mean he was “smoking it up” on his way to play an NFL game.  Now we do understand that the NFL has contracts and rules that players must abide by, but isn’t marijuana quickly becoming just like alcohol?  The NFL allows players to consume alcohol as long as they are not arrested for alcohol related offenses such as DUI or Public Intoxication.  Is it far fetched to think that in the near future marijuana will be treated the same by the NFL?  What a player does in his spare time with legal substances is his own business as long as he conducts himself in a legal manner.  Maybe 5 years from now Josh Gordon would never have been suspended and lose his income.  Only time will tell, but it seems like a view that we should look at closely.

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