Earlier this month, National Football League team owners approved a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that updates the league’s drug policy so that players would not face suspension for testing positive for marijuana.
According to a fact sheet document sent to players, the new policy “Narrows the testing window of THC from four months to two weeks at the start of training camp” and “Increases the nanogram limit from 35 to 150.”
NFL team owners just approved an agreement to stop suspending players for using marijuana. The cannabis testing window would also shrink to just two weeks under the deal.— Tom Angell (@tomangell) February 21, 2020
The players union is set to weigh in today.
“[The proposed CBA] dramatically reduces penalties, with suspensions happening only in the event of extreme and repeated disregard of the policy or significant violations of applicable law regarding the possession and use of marijuana,” said Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
“While it won’t be legalized within the NFL’s internal judicial system, it will be largely decriminalized — and the effort to catch violators will be dramatically curtailed,” he added.
"Following more than ten months of intensive and thorough negotiations, the NFL Players and clubs have jointly developed a comprehensive set of new and revised terms that will transform the future of the game, provide for players — past, present, and future — both on and off the field, and ensure that the NFL's second century is even better and more exciting for the fans,” read a statement released by the league.
NFL- no longer suspending millionaire athletes for marijuana use— Donny Dimes (@dirtyundygundy) February 22, 2020
Minimum wage jobs all over the country - pic.twitter.com/reWeetgvwD
According to Sports Illustrated, when polling head coaches and team managers about whether lesser punishments and regulations would affect the way franchises evaluate prospects and free agents who have a marijuana incident in their past, many said they didn’t think the policy change would affect their evaluations at all.
“Don’t think how we scout these guys will change,” said one scout. “It’s already a pretty relaxed policy on infrequent users and guys with infrequent failed tests.”
“I don’t think teams have cared about that for the last 10 years,” said one veteran NFL agent.
“I think it has been less of a big deal for a while, in my opinion,” said another scout.
Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians did express a change in his outlook. “Yes and no,” he said, when asked if the new policy would affect his player evaluation. “I think it is still an individual thing. That guy has to prove to me it is not a problem and it’s not going to be a problem. That has always been a part of it, the relaxation of the rule is not a problem.”
“That is something that needs our discussion and needs our time and is important to the players,” said Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff. “So we shouldn’t put a deaf ear onto that. So I am glad that people are looking into it and finding the benefits of how it could be.”
“It’s no different in some ways than alcohol,” said Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst. “If guys abuse it and it’s a problem, it’s a problem for us. And if they don’t, they don’t.”