Addiction in Society

Addiction—the thematic malady for our society—entails every type of psychological and societal problem

Why Are We Testing Athletes for Illicit Drugs?

League-leading receiver Josh Gordon has tested positive for marijuana--so what? Read More

I agree. I think the focus on

I agree. I think the focus on athletes and drugs is nuts.

No doubt

Though my reason I believe is different. It is just a game - I don't care if they are stoned when they are playing it, never mind when they are off the field.

But leagues have their rules I guess to protect their reputations, like not allowing racists that have become known to the general public to own teams.

They don't want to get branded as hurting young men involved in a life style that is completely new to them by not discouraging illegal (it is still that in many places, no?) behavior that could be harmful to them. Then they would be seen as even more indifferent to their players well being. Piling on is not in their best interest right now.

Exactly!

Your comment: they would be permitting "behavior that could be harmful to them. Then they would be seen as even more indifferent to their players well being."

So they should suspend him for a year without pay to show how they are helping him! Sort of like sitting your kid in a corner for bad behavior, only Gordon's older and he's a successful professional.

Speaking of racism (as you did), you don't think there's any hint of that in a white hierarchy taking a black man's livelihood away from him for violating their rules? You know, don't you, that nationwide, 85% of those arrested for marijuana possession are minorities?

By the way, also apropos your quote about their need to prevent "behavior that could be harmful to them," I agree wholeheartedly that NFL players and other athletes shouldn't be allowed to drink at all!

Wherein did I give you the

impression that I believed they were actually doing it for him. I think you missed my point on that. My apologies for not expressing well enough so as to be clear.

So that 85% is based on only on racism? Well, I am not so sure. Some of it probably is. But I worked with a lot of cops for a lot of years. Racism isn't as prevalent as you think out there in that world. The media thinks it is. I worked with a lot of black cops too. Guess what, they brought in a lot more black arrests than white as well. What accounts for that?

I think one of the big problems is that more real crime (violent) is being conducted regularly in certain areas, where cops tend to spend more time, unwillingly to be sure, and that the mary jane is regularly found when being caught for other more violent crimes.

It was my experience that the white kids have pot too, but they aren't out committing armed robbery or burglary as often, and so they get away with their regular possession more easily. Oh, and it helps that the white kids aren’t standing out on the street corners selling in plain view for all to see.

That being said, white people are getting busted on a regular basis as well. My courtroom was filled with white people too. If you don’t believe me, just watch an episode of COPS. That nationwide figure may be off some. Hmmm, for the life of me I can't figure how that could be in the modern race obsessed America.

You seem upset that they should be allowed to suspend him for a year. They should suspend him for as long as they like. He knew the rules and he willingly broke them. Like you said, he is an adult, and a professional. I fail a drug test at my job I don't get suspended. I get fired, regardless of performance. The rule is clear and enforced against everyone, equally.

And speaking of that unfair treatment you seem to suggest, you think he should get a break from the rules meant for everyone because he is a better performer? You are treading into some interesting territory there.

And just imagine the ridiculous can of worms that opens up. Then there will be all kinds of litigation based on who is performing well, and what is a legit punishment based on such and ... what a mess. It is much easier from an administrative position to just make a clear line for everyone.

Interestingly, the Dolphin's "safety Don Jones has been fined an undisclosed amount and excused from all team activities until such time that he undergoes and completes educational training for his recent comments made on social media during the NFL Draft." What, no post about this? I assume you don't agree with this right? I mean he is an adult and a professional so why should he be whipped for expressing his free opinion? Or maybe we should only allow certain opinion making from better performers?

As for the drinking - like I said, it is just a game, I don't care if they play stinking drunk. That is the league’s hypocrisy, not mine. I don’t give a rat’s arse if they do lines on the goal line.

I found that whole debacle of congress getting involved in baseball ludicrous. It is a GAME. Who cares?

Oh, thanks for "publishing" me. I am loving the regonition!

Oh and

"you don't think there's any hint of that in a white hierarchy taking a black man's livelihood away from him for violating their rules?"

Of course there is. There are hints of racism, sexism, shortism, baldism, fashionism, uglyism, uneducatedism, whiteism, non-publishedism, non-award winningism, spanishism, didn't go to the right schoolism, non-anglo saxon whiteism, everywhere.

That doesn't excuse him from following the same rules as everyone else. Now if they get rid of the rule, and then they punish him for smoking dope, well then, therein you may have a case counselor.

And in that I agree, they should get rid of all of those stupid rules - all of them. It is a game. The only rules should be those on the field necessary to play the game - period.

WHY?

>>Why Are We Testing Athletes for Illicit Drugs?
Can't we just decide how they're doing based on their performances?<<

I think the answer is obvious. People cheat and too often get away with it. Just look at Lance Armstrong.

Marijuana may be frivolous and even not relevant to performance, but what the contract specifies is what counts.

I'm not a lawyer, I just like to play Stanton Peele, Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD) ;-)

Helping who?

This has nothing to do with helping individual athletes. It only relates to maximizing franchise value for owners and TV revenue for player-CBA salary share. Keeping athletes off of marijuana, it was thought, makes them "better ambassadors for the league" and better prepared for the next round of Gatorade or shoe commercials. And, while Josh Gordon performs well after firing a few up, perhaps, owners and the league reason, that others might not. The union wants to maximize CBA revenue I suspect, so it wants to make sure athletes get privately drunk until "mary-jane" can "dance" in public.

In the "real world" drug testing is about providing a safe and efficient work place. But, if you look beyond the façade, the NFL is and functions as an "inherently dangerous workplace".

The performance enhancing drug debate is the same -- it has nothing to do with concern about cheating or athlete health, it has everything to do with marketing and public perception. PEDs are banned for the same reason that the PGA banned square grooved irons. if the NFL were serious it would adopt rule changes to lessen the force of collisions. Both players and owners are against that it appears.

People forget that when Congress first met with baseball about PEDs, Baseball was ready to thumb its nose. That is, until Congress put baseball's anti-trust exemption on the table. Money, not concern about the public of players, changed baseball's attitude.

Free Lance! Reinstate Pete! Stop taking sports so seriously.

The league has rules. It

The league has rules. It can't apply the rule to one member and not apply it to another. If they let him get away with it they have to let the next guy get away with it or explain to a judge, if they get sued, why it is not discrimination. If they have a reason that is fine, if they do not, they may have a big problem.

Marijuana may not be performance enhancing but it does allow some people to relax. I think the ability to "take a break" can improve their overall performance. Why should he get to relax through drug use, while other players must suffer through hangovers if they "relax" using alcohol.

In the end it gets down to this. The speed limit says 35 mph, he got caught going 40 mph, he was cited for the infraction. Since he has already had warnings and other lesser punishments the offense requires stiffer penalties.

Maybe if he has a great run and goes 16.5 of the 17 yards needed for a touchdown we should give him the touchdown anyway because he is nice.

I think it is a stupid rule, but it is still a rule, one he is well aware of, and he broke it.

I think breaking football rules and probably state rules to use marijuana indicates a problem. However, what I think is not important. He will most likely be sent to an addiction professional who will assess his issues with drugs and will then prescribe a course of treatment. I'm fairly confident they will not require him to do any more therapy than they believe is necessary.

It is a stupid rule. Mental health professionals also have ethical requirements and other rules to follow. My guess is that you adhere to all of those requirement, whether you like them or not.

I agree but...

Rules are rules. But the source of the rule is not to protect the player, it is to protect the money. This receiver probably makes a lot of money, in part because of CBA-allocated TV money -- so there is no injustice in this case.

I just wanted to refute the typical argument that the rules are to protect the players, young people or the integrity of the game -- since I believe that this rule is about money, pure and simple ...

In a way, it is a great result that the rules are imposed per the CBA. Otherwise, these rules likely would be applied unevenly like general rules against illegal recreational drug use.

By the way

I like your blog. You have a rational approach to addiction. You don't indulge in histrionics or say only things that are politically correct. When your ideas on treatment become more widely accepted I think we will have a much healthier response to people who like to get "high" once in a while and to people who are being destroyed by drugs.

Thanks!

Mind if I send your comment to Nora Volkow?

As to your prior comment -- wow! You think players should be penalized for using marijuana because it is a more successful relaxant with fewer problems than alcohol, and therefore gives users an advantage. (I hope you're writing a comment to Magliano's piece on marijuana as a double-edged sword.)

drug testing for athletes

We do need to be testing athletes for performance enhancing drugs. That's a little different from illicit drugs and includes many things that are legal for normal folks. I believe athletes should be tested for cocaine and meth, but not weed or drugs usually prescribed for the mentally ill. If we didn't test them for steroids and huge uppers, then it is likely many would abuse these drugs and overdose or have health problems later. It would also send a bad message to child athletes, who look up to big sports stars. Many performance enhancers are very bad for kids.

Performance and safety sink

Performance and safety sink fast when employees abuse alcohol or drugs. Others may feel they have to take up the slack when their coworkers attempt to work under the influence—falling short of expectations and increasing the risk of accident or injury.

Sorry you have to change your name

Everything you say is wrong/makes no sense.

If athletes' (or employees') performance drops so radically, then the obvious conclusion is to test/track people's performance, and to reward/punish them on that basis, which will surely catch all the drug abusers, without having to enter their bodies for what used to be considered unreasonable searches, but which, due to people like you, we now accept.

Did you (can you) read the post in question? The guy being punished was the leading rusher in football, and he used drugs.

Nothing you say or think makes sense of this post or reality. Are you on drugs, or is this your natural state of being?

P.S. Are you in recovery? That could account for your -------.

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Stanton Peele, PhD, JD, is the author of Recover! He has been a pioneer in the addiction field since publication of Love and Addiction in 1975.

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