A growing change in sports culture is the use of illegal drugs. From steroids to marijuana to aderall, drugs have always been prevelant in sports culture. All sports have had major advocates for the controversial issue of marijuana being banned in professional sports (future hall of fame running back Ricky Williams for the NFL, two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum for the MLB, and now up-and-coming defensive NBA center Larry Sanders).
Larry Sanders went on record after being busted by the NBA’s antidrug policy, a policy that only is put into action and made public after a third positive drug test, a couple weeks ago and voiced his support of medical marijuana for athletes. He claims to have studied both the risks and benefits of the drug even going as far as to remark that the drug helped him heal quicker from injuries this season and attributed to his success during previous seasons. Pitcher Tim Lincecum admitted that before his games during his Cy Young and World Series Champion seasons he would smoke to settle his nerves and get him focused. Since giving up smoking during the season his ERA has plummeted and he isn’t even the top pitcher on his own team.
Sanders believes that the “stigma” that comes with marijuana would go away the minute it is deemed legal in the eyes of the nation and the league. While writing in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Sanders contrasted the negative effects between marijuana and other drugs stating that it doesn’t hold as “many negative effects on your body and your family and your relationships and impairment [as other drugs].”
In Kelly Dwyer’s article on Yahoo Sports, marijuana use is juxtaposed to a player’s typical night after a game during the season filled with drinks and bars. Sanders was scrutinized earlier this season for getting injured during a bar fight and as he isn’t the perfect representative for change in the NBA, he does have experiences that can be analyzed. As Dwyer states, it is a lot more destructive to have intoxicated players taking a night out on the town and effectively being in a different state of mind that comes with alcohol. On the other hand, with players smoking a nerve-settling and temporarily healing drug like marijuana they would wind up just getting a bite to eat and get tired at the end of the evening making a safer evening for the player and his career.
As for Sanders, he has stated that he apologizes to his fans but that he will face the consequences of his violations as they come. It sure doesn’t sound like he will be stopping any time soon and as marijuana is legalized in more states around the country; it will gain a larger following each year.
Written by Rahul Lal