Former NBA star Kenyon Martin told Bleacher Report that “85% of the league” smoked cannabis during his 15-year career.
Martin is not the only former professional athlete to make such a declaration lately. Former NFL tight end Martellus Bennet’s estimate was even higher.
“I want to say about 89% (of the NFL used marijuana),” Bennett told Bleacher Report in a separate interview.
Despite many states legalizing the use of medicinal and recreational cannabis and an overall acceptance growing in the general public, NFL and NBA players can be fined and suspended for testing positive.
Some players now think league executives are starting to soften their stance on cannabis. Former NFL player John Moffit said that the league is “looking away” by only testing for cannabis once per year. However, even with one test, players would have to abstain from consuming cannabis for a month or two in order to test negative. Unlike cocaine or other banned substances that are water soluble and out of the body in a few days, cannabis is fat soluble and takes up to eight weeks to exit the body’s urine stream.
Some players are revealing that they consumed cannabis right before games. Former NBA player Matt Barnes said he did just that before games during the course of his 14-year playing career. He also suggested that players are not alone in consuming cannabis and noted a hypocritical stance by team management.
“The GMs, coaches, presidents (were smoking). I mean, it goes deeper than what you think,” Barnes said. “Some of the people that are cracking whips and suspending us are smoking weed.”
Former NFL lineup Shaun Smith felt similar to Barnes and said he “smoked two blunts before every game” during his decade-long career.
“Shoot, coaches do it. Personnel does it, people upstairs do it,” Smith said. “Quarterbacks, guys that are your captains, leaders of the team smoke.
“Everybody has their reason. They do it for their pain.”
Many professional athletes have been public in their calls for professional sports leagues to permit cannabis use by players. Some, such as Ricky Williams and Marvin Washington, have joined the cannabis industry. With the extreme professional sports puts on the body, many believe cannabis is a safer alternative to legally prescribed opioid-based painkillers.