A month later, an article post on +FOX Sports touched upon it as well...
During Super Bowl Week, +Seattle Seahawks CB, +Brandon Browner spoke upon the +NFL drug testing policy and discipline on marijuana.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says the league will be open-minded on medical marijuana if it helps players, but that's little solace to the Seahawks' Brandon Browner
|(Photo: Steven Bisig, USA TODAY Sports)|
JERSEY CITY — While the Seattle Seahawks are relishing their time in the Super Bowl spotlight, Brandon Browner is on the opposite side of the country, paying for mistakes he didn't even know he'd made.
He hears NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell go all warm and fuzzy, talking about how the league is open to the use of medical marijuana if it would help players. Browner wonders where the compassion is for him.
"It totally sucks," Browner told USA Today Sports. "If (you thought) I had a problem, you should be helping me."
The Seahawks cornerback was suspended indefinitely by the NFL in December after testing positive for marijuana. That would earn most players a four-game ban, the equivalent of a slap on the wrist. But Browner is looking at a lifetime ban because he's considered a repeat offender.
Which is where things get hazy.
Browner tested positive for marijuana as a rookie in 2005. He never played that year, spending the season on injured reserve after breaking his forearm during the preseason. He was cut by the Denver Broncos before the 2006 season began, and no team picked him up.
That last bit is key.
When he was cut by the Broncos, Browner effectively became a former NFL player. The league didn't owe him anything, and he didn't think he owed the league anything.
Turns out, he was wrong.
When Browner returned to the league and tested positive again, the NFL said it was actually his third offense. His second offense was in the form of missed drug tests when he was playing in Canada from 2007-10. Yes, Canada, a country that doesn't have an NFL team.
(Sorry, borrowing one from Buffalo on occasion doesn't count.)
"He was out of the league in 2006 and 2007. That opens up a whole new can of worms," said Peter Schaffer, Browner's agent. "They're trying to put punishment on Brandon for not going to drug tests when he wasn't in the league, tests he wasn't even informed he was supposed to take."
That's like you being fired from your job, only to be punished months later because you weren't still adhering to the rules of the company that fired you.
Sound fair? Not in this country.
One can argue that marijuana is illegal, and Browner shouldn't have been using it in the first place. Except that's not so cut and dried, either.
Recreational marijuana use is legal in Colorado and Washington, where Browner played, and similar measures could be seen soon in other states. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 55 percent of Americans support legislative efforts to legalize pot.
And last week, Goodell told USA TODAY Sports that the league would consider allowing players to use marijuana if it's proven to relieve the symptoms of concussions and other head injuries. But Goodell was quick to add that, "Our medical experts are not saying that right now."
"I would say so," Browner said when asked if he considers the possible softening of the league's stance hypocritical.
Browner is the first to admit he made a mistake – twice, in fact. And he and Schaffer would feel a lot differently if the tests were part of a program meant to help Browner stay drug-free.
Except they weren't. Not once was he offered help, Browner says, or even contacted to see if there was anything the league could do for him.
"If they said, `Look, we think you have a serious problem and are so worried about you, we're going to send you to counseling sessions or Betty Ford or whatever.' Then you say `OK, you can test me. You're trying to help me,'" Schaffer said.
Instead, it looks more like a trap.
"There's no guarantee I'll be getting help even if I do fail," Browner said. "I'm subject to getting banned from the league."
Browner has appealed his suspension and is awaiting a decision from Goodell. If it fails, the earliest he could apply for reinstatement is Dec. 18.
Putting his career on hold has already cost Browner too much, and Schaffer says he will seek relief in federal court if the appeal fails.
Even if he's ultimately reinstated, however, there's no guarantee Browner, who was to be a free agent after the season, gets another job in the NFL.
If he does, there's certainly no guarantee he'll get another shot at the Super Bowl, like he would have with the Seahawks.
"Oh, it's awesome," said Browner, who plans to watch the game in California with his family. "The only thing missing is actually being there."
Browner still talks frequently with his old teammates, who are quick to tell not only him, but anyone who brings up his name, that Browner had as much to do with getting the Seahawks to the Super Bowl as anyone.
He had 19 tackles and one interception in eight games this season. He missed four others before the suspension with a groin injury.
"The idea of missing a Super Bowl is what's kept me up at night," Schaffer said. "Brandon won't say it because he's way too humble and much too much of team player. But that's the thing that bothers me most. They're taking away something you can't buy."
Tickets, it seems, aren't the only things the NFL overcharges for.
The biggest quiff that the staff here, the ones that took issue with this meriting a suspension in contrast to guys making millions of dollars, that manage to get a DWI/DUI when a taxi or paying for a driver is as about as logical and sensible that a person could do. Aldon Smith, received such a citation earlier in the season, AND was arrested with illegal firearms (automatic weapons) in his trunk. And the +San Francisco 49ers sent him to a rehab facility for 30 days. He played out the rest of the year. We understand that the NFL's league office is packed full of lawyers like the NFL commissioner, +Roger Goodell, and that Smith is presumed innocent until his sentence, plea, or trial concludes. Naturally, we should presume the same of anyone. The issue here though is that Smith was tested positive for marijuana (and rumors of cocaine, alcohol). Not only was possession of marijuana amongst the charge. Regardless of the NFL's drug testing program, should testing positive for banned substance's under law during an arrest count as testing positive just the same and any further disciplinary action once he is sentenced can be addressed then. It would seem that immediate suspension (even though he went to rehab by the 49ers and missed approximately the same amount of games as a 2nd time offender receives, 4 games. The NFL still has not addressed his punishment or case withstanding. With such an immediate reaction to positive testing within the NFL protocol, the expediency should remain the same should it not?
Smith's situation aside, the original topic of discussion about marijuana meriting suspension, it is hard to buy that a greedy commissioner (of course) a corporate lawyer, that is fattening his pension and pockets with his stringent concussion protocols but yet synthetic surface proven to cause more injuries and consists of a material that put back a lot of the force of impact right back into the helmet/head would deem consideration for being banned in their playing stadiums. The NFL is a cash cow and has plenty of money to install systems such as the +Arizona Cardinals, +Denver Broncos, and +Green Bay Packers. Even dome stadiums could institute systems from personal knowledge of a staff member, +Clinton Haws, of growing natural turf indoors with the advancement of lighting and/or systems that grow 2 field like the Cardinals and roll one in/out depending on events, hosting, and/or usage(s). A topic we will discuss in the off season much further.
The reason the above variable is brought up is because the NFL commissioner, Goodell, is apparently so "gung-ho" on these safety measures in what we feel the policies and concepts of 'safety' is driven by the "NFL" sponsored and enforced "Heads Up" program that is filtering all the way down to pee-wee football leagues. From the equipment, helmets, training, and programs. Other equipment companies are shut out and basically avoided. Leagues that are not "Heads Up" qualified are now being avoided by parents, etc. Is this not self greed? Is this not monopolizing a market that should have a few equipment manufacturer's and engineers that have prototype's for helmets that propose potentially safer head gear and equipment. Continuing to build on capitalism and free market, these ideas would further the advancement of safer equipment with more expediency if others had a potential stake in the industry. Since it is not the company signed with "Heads Up" they do not even get their foot in the door. Safety is a mandate, but only so long as it is behind the system that is making NFL Commissioner, Goodell, NFLPA Executive Director, Demaurice Smith, and many other front office personnel (lawyers) a boatload of money across all of the NFL. Players, owners, franchises, etc all are beneficiaries. That is great the NFL offers up a safety program, a program that is in the claimed in the name of 'safety first,' but yet the playing surfaces and other potential safer equipment manufacturers are not even looked at... This is where we have a concrete, deep issue with the commissioner and his front office. The lack of transparency on this subject is bewildering.
A bit off-subject, but in ways a linear perspective of Roger Goodell and lawyers ways to navigate these topics, aspects while approaching other similar aspects in almost the polar opposite way. Yes, a great aspect of 'debate' (or debating), but these are players contracts, money, lifestyle, and above all legal right. Just the same as them being able to go have a drink, and it not be punishable. If marijuana is legal recreationally, how can they discipline testing positive for it (unless they were showing levels of taking it on game day, what not. If they obtain it medicinally for whatever reason it is. It is completely private as to what prescription's a person is taking. It should make absolutely no difference what it is for, if they are prescribed it. A subject few address, but these players 'pop' pain pills and opiate based prescriptions for pain relief. Which is far more dangerous to the human anatomy and addicting. They are prescribed it, it is not Goodell's, the NFL, and the NFLPA's business or should it be. They obviously lessen the pain level of a nick or injury, should that be against the leagues's PED policy? Pain pills are taken to help nullify pain correct. In theory, that lends to a performance advantage as a player can endure a hit or a nagging 'knock' on the body more and their threshold to withstand it in the game is higher. "Just sayin..."
|Rebagliati will open a medicinal marijuana dispensary |
in Whistler, British Columbia, called "Ross' Gold."
Legislation has certainly fallen in favor of medical marijuana more and more, with Canada allowing it as a nation and grew to 14 states allowing it, increasing to 19 states this year with 2 allowing it to be legal recreationally. Imagine that before long more states will follow Denver & Seattle's voters' (states of Colorado and Washington's examples). If it is legal for a citizen to do, why would they be punished for doing it on their own recreational time?
WADA recently amended its rules on cannabis, raising the threshold for a positive test from 15 nanograms per milliliter to 150 ng/ml. In 1998 at the Nagano Games, Rebagliati recorded a level of 17.8 ng/ml, and argued the test resulted from second-hand smoke, which he still says. Ben Nichols, a spokesperson for WADA, said the raising of the threshold is meant to catch only athletes who smoke during the period of a competition. The drug isn't prohibited out of competition.
"Our information suggests that many cases do not involve game or event-day consumption," Nichols said. "The new threshold level is an attempt to ensure that in-competition use is detected and not use during the days and weeks before competition."
Raising the threshold level to 150 nanograms per milliliter means that an athlete would have to be a "pretty dedicated cannabis consumer" to test positive, according to Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)"
Canadian snowboarder Ross Rebagliati, 26, won the men's giant slalom on February 8 in the Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. After Rebagliati tested positive for marijuana -- 17.8 nanograms of metabolite per milliliter -- the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stripped him of his gold medal on February 10. The following day, the IOC returned the medal, saying it did not have the power to take it (Joe Lapointe, "Canadian Loses Gold For Failing Drug Test," New York Times, February 11, 1998; Mike Downey, "Rebagliati Stripped of Gold," Los Angeles Times, February 11, 1998, p. N5; Thom Loverro, "Marijuana costs Canadian gold," Washington Times, February 11, 1998, p. B1; "Drug test may fell snowboard champ," Boston Globe, February 11, 1998, p. D6).
The Olympic Court for Arbitration of Sport (CAS) voted unanimously to reinstate Rebagliati's gold medal. The Court ruled that the IOC did not have an agreement with the International Ski Federation regarding marijuana use and therefore did not have the authority to strip the medal. "It's purely the legal issue. It's not our role to examine the social issues at this stage," said Jean Philippe Rochat, secretary general of the CAS. "It's a clear message that if the international sports body wants such rules, it has to specify clearly that marijuana is a forbidden substance," Rochat said.
Rebagliati said that he has not smoked marijuana since April 1997 and that he must have inhaled secondhand marijuana smoke at a going-away party in January 1998. Given the extremely low amounts of marijuana in Rebagliati's system, medical experts said the gold medal winner's story is plausible. Marijuana is fat-soluble and stays in the body for long periods of time, said Ronald L. Alkana, professor of molecular pharmacology and toxicology at the USC School of Pharmacy.
On February 19, head of the medical panel of the IOC, Prince Alexandre de Merode, said that he believes the snowboarder did not stop smoking marijuana in April as Rebaliati claimed. De Merode said Rebagliati had had "unusually high" levels of marijuana in his urine test in a December drug test (Mike Shahin, "Official Accuses Rebagliati of Lying About Pot Habit," Ottawa Citizen, February 20, 1998, p. A1).
Rebagliati maintained that his original story is true. De Merode's accusation brought criticism from Rebagliati's family and supporters. Mark Rebagliati, Ross' father, accused de Merode of doing damage control for the IOC, and questioned how the medical expert acquired Rebagliati's confidential report. The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, which is responsible for drug testing all athletes in Canada, said it is "inappropriate for the IOC to be commenting on any finding from the Nagano test, or any other source of information concerning the presence or absence of marijuana in Mr. Rebagliati's samples, past or present" (Mike Shahin, "Rebagliati Denies He Lied," Vancouver Sun, February 20, 1998, p. A1).
PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR SNOWBOARDER PROMPTS MARIJUANA DEBATE
Widespread public support for Rebagliati led several federal politicians to say they would welcome a debate regarding marijuana decriminalization. "My colleague, the minister of health, and I have both indicated we are willing to look at the question of decriminalizing [marijuana] for medical purposes and that in fact our officials have begun that discussion," said Justice Minister Anne McLellan (Sandra McCulloch, "Legalized Pot Proponents See Golden Opportunity For Debate," Victoria Times-Colonist, February 13, 1998).
Chris Clay, whose constitutional challenge to Canada's marijuana prohibition will be heard by an appeals court this summer, said the Rebagliati situation creates positive opportunities for grassroots marijuana activism. Clay has launched a nationwide petition to decriminalize marijuana in Canada. More than 200 petitions have been sent to hemp retail stores across Canada. Clay hopes to get 100,000 signatures to send to Parliament by the end of 1998 (Canadian Press, "Pro-Pot Activist Sees Golden Opportunity," February 20, 1998).
Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien supported Rebagliati being allowed to keep the gold medal. However, he said he is opposed to relaxing marijuana laws (Sean Durkan, "Chretien Says He's Opposed to Relaxing Marijuana Laws," London Free Press, February 14, 1998).
(Link is in the Minor Heading of the section)
The "system" or "man" has undertaken from our perspective and in this situation we support +Seattle Seahawks CB, +Brandon Browner point of view and statement regarding it. As many can imagine, we will not confirm, but tend to believe that Von Miller feels similar to Browner about this. Two players in states that marijuana can be legally prescribed and in Miller's case, he was actually given a legal prescription for it.
Our answer is, "We don't know why it is necessary to monitor any harsher or more than the restraint as WADA (Olympic drug testing) employs on Olympic athletes for a drug that has scientifically been proven to not matter UNLESS it is specifically to ensure and prohibit it to be done at the time of performance or match up. We therefore, don't think they should be. Especially if they have a prescription for it, under legal local laws and consulting an MD, under United States certification and bar exam requirement."