PHOENIX (KSAZ) - The use of marijuana both medical and recreational is banned by the National Football League. Many players have turned to smoking it for a variety of reasons; some claim to relieve pain from injuries. These players are facing fines and punishment.
"This is a medicine, it's been used for thousands of years, and it's helping particular ailments for football players in big ways," said Kyle Turley.
Turley and other retired NFL players joined together to take an in-depth look at cannabis in professional sports, speaking out at the Southwest Cannabis Expo. As it stands, the use of marijuana in any form is prohibited by the league's collective bargaining agreement, something that Turley says needs to change.
"They should be using it in much more smarter ways, being able to speak with their doctors about it to help recover from their injuries sustained on the football field with a medicine that is non-addictive, I've walked away from it many times," said Turley.
Turley played in the NFL with the Saints, Rams, and Chiefs. He sustained several injuries including a blown out knee, and a back and shoulder injury. He says he can accept this reality of the game, but what he doesn't accept is the method of treatment being used in the NFL.
In the NFL he says prescription pills are taken like candy, and those pills often create more problems and ailments, he says this is something that cannabis does not do.
"They have led from long term use to very negative side effects surfacing, those things on those bottles are very real when they put a side effect of suicide, depression, anxiety, those things start to happen years into that use and sometimes quickly into that use," said Turley.
Turley is hoping with his advocacy the NFL will take a closer look at a drug he says is making a positive difference.