During this time of Coronavirus, the MLB and MLB Player’s Association have decided to remove the use of marijuana from the banned list for the major league players and minor leaguers as well. This is an important decision by a major sports industry. A question that many fans of sports might have is: Will this decision influence other industries like the NFL or NBA follow suit? This is a major debate. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred says, “Death of a major league player is a devastating event for all of Major League Baseball and I think you saw it with the reaction after that terrible event. I think it was a motivating factor in the Commissioner’s office and the MLBPA getting together and addressing our industry with what is a really societal problem in terms of opioids, and hats off to Tony Clark for forthcoming with the issue. Made an agreement in the terms on handle people with opioid problems and I think it will be an improvement with the industry moving forward.” Manfred was referring to the death of Tyler Skaggs in the 2019-2020 season who died with alcohol and pain killers in his body.
When discussing this topic, Colin Nelson, a high school teacher at Troy Buchanan High School, commented on this topic. With the actions in a lot of states allowing medical marijuana, Nelson discussed how he would feel if a player used this technique to return to the ballfield quicker. “I mean, if it’s not illegal, who am I to judge? I hold no ill feelings towards players like Mark McGwire who allegedly used steroids back in the 1990s. At the time, there was no MLB policy against it. What they did was not illegal in the eyes of MLB. So, would I think less of a player if they used the doctor prescribed marijuana legally to rehab from an injury? Absolutely not.”
Vincent Gugiletti is an alumnus of Quinnipiac University and a coach at CORE Training Academy for the CT Gators. Gugiletti was asked if having medical marijuana legal should be part of the rehab program, and he explained, “Honestly I’m not sure, I’ve heard that medical marijuana is beneficial in a number of ways but as far as helping in recovery for a rehab program, I don’t know if trainers are able or willing do that yet. I think there would need to be more empirical research done to see if it actually does help athletes recover from injuries. Where I played, there were no drug tests so guys could pretty much do what they wanted, but I never saw anyone use it openly, especially not around the stadium because we are technically employees at our jobs. If more research in the future concludes that marijuana aids the recovery process for athletes in a safe way then I say yes they should implement it, especially with all the injuries that players deal with year-round.” He also added, “Right now, I truly think Major League Baseball legalized marijuana to keep their top players away from hard drugs. Losing players like Jose Fernandez to cocaine and Skaggs to pills was something the league couldn’t ignore. Plus, it seems to be a very effective anti-inflammatory, something that baseball players need. Slamming painkillers to deal with their physical and emotional pain is something I’m sure a lot of these guys do, but once players start to die, it becomes a more interesting topic of conversation. To me, it seems that medical marijuana use is way safer than other medicinal items, such as painkillers and other anti-inflammatories. If that’s what needs to be done to protect the players from drug addiction and/or death and it aids in the rehab process, then I think it should be implemented at some point.”
It will take time for the players and teams to get molded with the knowledge that they need to be aware of this new policy, but this will allow the rest of the sports industry to make a plan of their own like the MLB.
To see more information about this topic, take a look at this article more to see more comments about this new developing discussion.