Athletes and Drugs

Marcell Dareus disappointed a lot of people yesterday when it was announced he’d be suspended for the 1st 4 games of the NFL regular season.

The suspension comes as a result of another failed drug test under the scrutinized NFL’s Substance Abuse Policy.

Dareus was suspended for the 1st game of last season for a failed drug test as well, but was able to parlay that into a $96 Million Dollar contract extension midway through the regular season.


The NFL’s substance abuse policy is a controversial topic, all of the hardcore drugs are banned for obvious reason, along with you performance enhancing drugs and human growth hormones.

But then there’s marijuana, the drug most of America view as recreational, that does little to no harm to the human body.

In some States the drug is even legal (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington)

Marcell Dareus isn’t the first athlete that has failed a drug test and certainly won’t be the last, heck he isn’t the only Bill that failed a test this off-season (Karlos Williams) but why is it so hard for athletes or society to remain sober?

The Bills release the following statement regarding Dareus suspension.


Marcell Dareus also released a statement regarding his suspension


Athletes have a lot riding on their sobriety, whether it’s money, a roster spot, or living out their childhood dreams to play the sport of their choice, so why is it they take the chance and risk the suspension?

If you’re given a list of things that you can or cannot take and opt for the things you can’t take, that’s an issue.

Based on the definition of Addicted it seems like that would fit the bill

Ad-dict-ed (adjective) Physical and mentally dependent on a particular substance, and unable to stop taking it without incurring adverse effects.

Athletes that violate the Substance Abuse Policy in their league know that it’ll be repercussions if they violate the policy, but many seem unable to stop taking it, that by the definition above is an addiction.

Don’t get me wrong and it may sound like a contradiction, I’m not saying all people who take marijuana or any other drugs are addicts, but if you have so much riding on not taking the drugs and you still do what else is to blame?

Just taking a look at marijuana, many athletes (mainly football players) have become advocates of having the drug removed off the banned substance list. Many have cited the drug provides relief for pain and is used as a calming mechanism for the grueling 16 game schedule.

Mostly recently Eugene Monroe formally of the Baltimore Ravens became very outspoken for his beliefs regarding the assistance of marijuana and pain.  Monroe was later cut by the Ravens which may have been attributed by his outspokenness regarding the legalization of the drug, after his release Monroe retired from the NFL, a decision he wrote about in the Players Tribune (


Monroe also wrote a piece on Pain and the NFL (

Regardless of what people may feel about marijuana and if it should be banned or not, it is currently, which is unfortunate for the players who use it to cope with the life of being a professional athlete. But it is the rules, and until changes are made, the penalties will remain when they are violated.

I’m a believer that you should abide by the rules given, whether you agree with them or not, and if you choose not to, the consequences you face are justified.

While we won’t know or even understand the decisions athletes make when taking a banned substance, what we may realize is, it’s something they may not have control over.

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