It didn’t catch me by surprise that three college students admitted smoking marijuana. It didn’t surprise me that they were student athletes. What did surprise me is that they were praised for having admitted doing it by the talking heads that make up ESPN.
I am realistic and know the many arguments for weed and its questionable long-term effects. This is not a debate about the legality of smoking up. What it is is a question of how our society (and the NFL) views breaking rules. Whatever your opinion of the substance, marijuana is an illegal drug and is not allowed in this country. How is it that three young men broke the law and admitted it, and are called players of good character? Calvin Johnson does not fit the mold of a thug; Amobi Okoye is by all accounts a great person; Gaines Adams will be a great DE in the NFL. Why do the rules not apply to them at the same time the NFL is trying to change its image. Pacman Jones is suspended for the whole season, and Chris Henry can’t play half of it, but the potential #1 draft pick and all of the money that follows has just admitted to using an illegal drug, yet faces no penalties.
I am not so naÃ¯ve as to think that these three are the only to smoke in this, or any, draft, but they are the only three being glorified for it. Claude Wrotten of LSU was asked the same question last draft but lied, and he paid for it pay falling from a mid-first rounder to a third rounder. But if you do the same thing and admit it, your draft stock rises. Call me old fashioned, but I don’t get it.
What about all the players who told the truth and really don’t use drugs? Are they glorified? You don’t hear much about them. Sure it’s not the same level of the Cowboy’s of the 90’s, but as I sat watching ESPN, I could not believe I was hearing five panel members excuse and praise these young men for telling the truth. Chris Mortenson is calling for someone in the Commissioners office to apologize to them.
No rational GM would even consider letting Johnson pass by because of a drug test, but that just underscores what makes the professional sports and their image crusade a joke.
As long as he hits homeruns, Barry Bonds will always have somewhere to play, no matter what clouds surround him. Ron Artest will be in the league as long as he can shoot a jump shot, and the same goes for the convicted trafficker Jamal Lewis.
As is should be, winning is the bottom line in competitive sports. I understand these three players “only smoked pot” and pot “isn’t a real drug,” but I will never understand why they are regarded as having great character because they admitted to doing it. Glorifying them while neglecting the players who follow rules and understand their profession is a shame. I would take Calvin Johnson with the #1 pick because of his freak talent, but not because he is an admitted drug user. We live in a society that only uses these kids of drug related stories against a player when it is convenient
As I have said, I don’t think less of Johnson, Okoye or Adams as people, and I think they did make the harder (but only) choice in admitting they smoked pot, but I am shocked how reporters are treating them as extraordinary citizens because of it.