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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Josh Gordon – Latest Victim of NFL’s Unfair Substance Abuse Policies

Josh Gordon – Latest Victim of NFL’s Unfair Substance Abuse Policies

Josh Gordon - Latest Victim of NFL's Unfair Substance Abuse Policies
Publish Date: 05/17/2017
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

Josh Gordon has once again been denied reinstatement by the NFL. His crime: he likes to smoke weed. No matter if you are for or against smoking weed, you have to realize how stupid this is. The NFL lets guys who beat their wives play, guys who get drunk and kill innocent people are allowed to play, you can be accused of murder and still play. But if you want to smoke weed, will the NFL draws the line there.

Gordon was suspended for the entire 2015 season for multiple violations of the league’s substance abuse policy and he has been suspended numerous times since entering the NFL in 2012.

He was conditionally reinstated last year with a four-game suspension to start the 2016 season. He played in the preseason, finishing with five receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown, but he checked himself back into rehab in October, citing a need to “gain full control of my life,” and he has remained on the suspended list.

Now, I agree that some of this falls on Gordon, but come on. This is a league where guys like  Donte Stallworth and Leonard Little have literally driven drunk and killed people, yet they were still allowed to play. Don’t get me started on the number of players who have been busted for domestic abuse and still get to play. Come on. The league even allowed a player – Ray Lewis – to continue playing after he was involved in a double-murder and pleaded guilty to a charge of obstruction of justice. Lewis escaped a murder charge by striking a deal with prosecutors to testify against two others involved in the case. The two were acquitted. Yet Lewis was treated like a God by the NFL. Sure, maybe he had something to do with a murder or covering a murder up, but at least he didn’t get caught smoking weed!

Remember this also: eight states now have laws which permit recreational use of marijuana and 20 states and the District of Columbia allow consumption for medical use. Medical use is something else to bring up here. The NFL encourages players to use dangerous opiates to deal with pain, why wouldn’t they rather have players smoke weed for the pain? One is addictive and destroys the body, the other is Marijuana, which doesn’t have nearly the side effects that the opiates have. Remember also that the NFL’s doctors prescribe dangerous opiates to the players, and somehow that is okay with Roger Goodell.

National Football League teams violated federal laws governing prescription drugs, disregarded guidance from the Drug Enforcement Administration on how to store, track, transport and distribute controlled substances, and plied their players with powerful painkillers and anti-inflammatories each season, according to sealed court documents contained in a federal lawsuit filed by former players. So the league that will not let Josh Gordon play because he smokes weed possibly violated federal law in how they deal with controlled substances they give to players.

The case looks even worse for the NFL when you consider federal laws lay out strict guidelines for how teams can handle and dispense prescription drugs to players. The sealed court filing, which includes testimony and documents by team and league medical personnel, describes multiple instances in which team and league officials were made aware of abuses, record-keeping problems, and even violations of federal laws. And they were either slow in responding or failed to comply.

The filing, that the players’ lawyers prepared, asserts that “every doctor deposed so far has testified that they violated one or more” federal drug laws and regulations “while serving in their capacity as a team doctor.” Anthony Yates, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ team doctor and past president of the NFL Physicians Society, testified in a deposition that “a majority of clubs as of 2010 had trainers controlling and handling prescription medications and controlled substances when they should not have,” the filing states.

At times, team medical staff displayed a careless attitude toward federal guidelines that govern the handing out of medicine. In August 2009, and maybe the worst example, Paul Sparling, the Cincinnati Bengals’ head trainer, wrote in an email: “Can you have your office fax a copy of your DEA certificate to me? I need it for my records when the NFL ‘pill counters’ come to see if we are doing things right. Don’t worry, I’m pretty good at keeping them off the trail!” He was pretty good at keeping them off the trail! He really said that!

This lawsuit is being brought by over 1,800 former players who claim that the NFL handing out painkillers to players caused these players to suffer long-term organ and joint damage, among other maladies, as a result of improper and deceptive drug distribution practices by NFL teams. So this is not just a couple of former players who are disgruntled, this is over 1,800 players.

A perfect example of this would be what Seahawks team doctors did to end Hall of Fame safety Kenny Easley’s career prematurely and they damn near killed him! Easley was diagnosed with severe kidney disease in 1988, the result of taking large amounts of ibuprofen after ankle surgery. Easley had swallowed the ibuprofen hoping to reduce the inflammation around his ankle and get back on the field; instead, the damage to his kidneys ended his career. Easley took 16-20 Ibuprofen a day while playing for the Seahawks and nobody had a problem with him doing it, as an NFL team doctor’s main concern back then was making sure the player was playing.

Every year, some 100,000 people are hospitalized in the United States with gastrointestinal bleeding from taking NSAIDs, and 16,500 of them die. Even that statistic, as horrible as it is, doesn’t present the full realm of this picture. NSAIDs can also increase the risk for illness in many different parts of the body, and they can interfere with the body’s natural healing process. Overuse can trigger a spiral of inflammation that results in autoimmune disease. And here’s the shocker: some people who take NSAIDs over a long period of time may actually worsen the underlying condition that causes their pain and inflammation. But, instead of banning these substances that destroy lives, the NFL allows them while punishing marijuana use, makes a lot of since doesn’t it?

Brett Favre famously entered rehab for a Vicodin habit that reached 15 a day. He never missed a game for his addiction to opioids; not one single game missed. Josh Gordon smokes weed, which is legal in 8 states, and he may never be allowed to play again. This is one of the biggest jokes in a league that looks to be a bigger joke every day.

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