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David Irving is not happy with the NFL’s substance abuse policy. The fourth-year Dallas Cowboys defensive end will spend the first four games of the upcoming season on the sideline thanks to a cannabis-related suspension, but that hasn’t stopped him from railing against the league’s marijuana policy on social media.
In a series of now-deleted comments posted underneath an Instagram selfie uploaded over the weekend, Irving decried the NFL’s penchant for handing out pain pills like candy while punishing pot users. Responding to a follower who accused him of using steroids, Irving confirmed that his current suspension stemmed from cannabis, adding that he has been “medicated” during every game he has ever played.
“Check this, y’all wanna judge n say what’s right or wrong,” Irving wrote on Instagram, according to the Dallas Star-Telegram. “These guys prescribe me Xanax bars, ambient, and painkillers, some of us, like myself have been smoking weed since 12. Never been in trouble w the law. Always had a 3.0 or higher too. It’s natural, I’d much rather smoke weed than take all that lab made [expletive]... The nfl laws on weed are [expletive] n we all know it. I’m from Cali. I’ve had my medical card. It’s nothing wrong with it. Also. Every game you seen me play in, I was medicated. I don’t see you or any of my coaches or previous coaches complaining about my play.”
Over the past few years, as cannabis reform takes hold across the country and the plant’s social stigma begins to dissolve, retired football players have repeatedly spoken up about the benefits they have found in CBD and THC treatment. In an interview with MERRY JANE last year, retired NFL linebacker Reggie Williams said that CBD allowed him to walk again after years of tackling had left him wheelchair bound.
“Every year we hear about players committing suicide,” Williams told MERRY JANE. “Players retire with PTSD. The worst thing that the NFL has to deal with is the probable physical consequences of play, and if there are solutions to alleviate that pain we need to start exploring now if things like medical cannabis are a comparable solution to Toradol and the opioids that the NFL is just giving away right now.”
But as the NFL struggles to reconcile contempt from the president and team owners over players protesting institutional racism during the national anthem, chronic concussions, and domestic violence controversies, cannabis reform has time and again taken a back seat to the league’s long docket of problems.
Despite promises from NFL officials that they will join the players’ union to study the efficacy of medical marijuana treatment, those fact-finding missions have yet to materialize. In the meantime, Commissioner Roger Goodell and company continue to enforce the league’s outdated substance abuse policy, suspending players like Irving and even denying the only cannabis use exemption request ever filed.
Irving will be available to return to the Cowboys lineup on October 1st, in time for the team’s week five match-up with the Houston Texans. As for his pregame cannabis tradition, Irving posted another comment on the same Instagram selfie telling fans that he would put down the pot for the rest of the season, but made it crystal clear that if he had it his way, he would still be lighting up everyday.
“Instead of talking shit to me or any other weed smokers, complain to the league about how fucked up it is,” Irving wrote, according to Sports Day Dallas. “Because it is. Miss me with the bullshit… Now, with that being said, I understand no matter how fucked up the rules are, I have to follow them and i will. Not for you. Not because I want to. Because I’m a survivor, and I have to do this for myself and the ones I love. But don’t get it confused. Weed isn’t a problem. You run into someone else full speed 60 times n see how your body feels. What would you do? Drink? Percocets? Tylenol? I chose the more natural and safer route. So be it. It is what it is.”
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