Thanks to the NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement, players will no longer be suspended for positive marijuana tests. However, insiders warn that still doesn’t absolve them from being punished in other ways.
According to Sporting News, Sunday, the players’ union, the National Football League Players Association, ratified a new CBA. It would shorten the testing window from four months to just the two weeks at the onset of training camp.
The number of players who will be tested will be reduced as well, and those who are subjected will now be allowed to have 150 nanograms of THC per milliliter in their system before testing positive. It is a significant increase to the 35 nanograms they were allowed previously.
In an effort to move away from punishment and focus more on healthy solutions, any player who tests positive will have their case reviewed by a board of medical professionals. They will then determine if they need treatment.
In general, the new CBA has reimagined the way the NFL handles its discipline policy across the board. Instead of having the commissioner decide, moving forward a “neutral decision-maker” will make an official ruling on most disciplinary cases, which takes a lot of the power out of the commissioner’s hands but also addresses any concerns of bias.
The NFL owes an apology to SEVERAL players who's careers were ended because of marijuana use.
Randy Gregory… https://t.co/qMDYxAiJNV
— Hot Boy 'Rona (@kidnoble) March 15, 2020
Despite this seemingly more nuanced approach to how players are treated, some point out potential drawbacks. Even though athletes will no longer be suspended for positive marijuana tests, they will now be fined anywhere from a half-week’s salary to three weeks’ salary depending on how many violations they have.
A source recently told Yahoo Sports that there are some in the league who have reservations with this more lax approach to marijuana because of the message it could send to the younger fans. There are also concerns about the potential for the new policy to clash with federal and state laws in areas where marijuana has yet to be legalized.