With the offseason arrests of three Detroit Lions players, it raises the issue of substance abuse locally, and highlights an NFL-wide ongoing dilemma that doesn’t look like it’s going to be resolved anytime soon. Marijuana, a popular federally banned substance that’s legal for medicinal purposes in sixteen states, is wreaking havoc on a sport that’s known for its ruthlessly-natured roster decisions and intense analysis of draft picks.
Detroit Lions players are especially under scrutiny for the possession of the drug. Mikel Leshoure, Nick Fairley and Johnny Culbreath, all of which are members of the 2011 National Football League draft class, have been arrested for marijuana possession. Each and every arrest brings pain to former Detroit Lions offensive tackle Lomas Brown. Brown played ten seasons for Detroit, a team that went a combined record of 79-96 in that time span and had a hard time avoiding off and on-field distractions.
Brown says it sounds like these three players were being careless. He then went on to say, “I know the Lions have to feel disappointed, especially after such a great season.” The Lions won ten games in 2011 and later went on to reach the playoffs for the first time since 1999, an accomplishment that meant a lot for the organization. Currently, the Lions are in a holding pattern, they have to wait for a slew of disciplinary and legal matters to be resolved.
As Brown was disappointed by the news, he isn’t shocked because he’s convinced that marijuana has been and could potentially always be a problem in the NFL. Brown had entered the league in 185 and claims that up to ninety percent of players smoked marijuana recreationally or as a way to relieve their stress and pain. As for today, Brown claims that at least fifty percent of players smoke marijuana recreationally still. He said, “I just don’t think you’ll be able to curb this.
Out of all three players, Mikel Leshoure has it the worst. Leshoure faces a suspension of up to six games due to being arrested twice in less than a month, which violates the National Football League’s substance abuse policy and personal conduct policies.
First-time offenders Johnny Culbreath and Nick Fairley face a suspension of four games each.
Last month, a CBS Sports report said four in ten draft-eligible players from this year’s draft class have failed at least one school-administered drug test for marijuana, and two in ten have failed multiple tests.
Then last month, another sports report was filed, this time by ESPN. ESPN reported that “about seventy percent” of players at the NFL Draft Combine admitted to smoking marijuana.