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Published:March 28th, 2010 15:00 EST
This Year`s NFL Draft carries a Gloomy Shadow

This Year`s NFL Draft carries a Gloomy Shadow

By Ron G Anselm

       This year`s NFL draft represents the word talent " with many top collegiate choices entering the draft. There is also a big concern among Head coaches and NFL Executives of the many draft choices who have tested positive for Marijuana use and have basically failed past drug tests. This is a very touchy subject but one that really needs to be addressed and monitored.

     Maybe it`s due to more of a societal issue or maybe it`s something else but any use of drugs in professional and collegiate level sports whether its steroids, pot or any illegal drug is extremely unacceptable. Any draft choice that makes it to the NFL and has failed a drug test is automatically enrolled in the NFL drug testing program to be monitored. In my opinion, these guys have been drafted into the NFL because of their talent and maybe these teams drafting them are looking at it from a standpoint of they are probably going to be an asset to the team but to me any NFL draft choice that tests positive for drugs does not need to be drafted and needs to sit out until they can prove they are clean and free of drugs.

     Looking at it from another standpoint, if you are interviewing for a job with a company and when that company performs a background check on you and you go and tinkle in a cup to test for drugs, if you fail the drug test because you test positive not only for pot but for any illegal drug, you are automatically disqualified as a candidate for the position per the company`s standards. Why should these NFL draft choices be any different?

     Professional athletes are role models for not only kids but the sports fan. It sure portrays a very bad image for the players that smoke marijuana because they cannot leave the whacky tobacee " alone. We have seen in the past the controversy surrounding steroid use in mostly baseball but football has had its share of the bad news as-well. Now, we are looking at the pot issue among the players.

     In the NFL Head Coaches meeting this year in Orlando, Florida many of those coaches expressed concern over this problem and even talked more in depth about this issue. One Head Coach made a statement saying that if you took off your draft board every player that has experimented or used Marijuana in the past at some point in their career you would probably lose about one-fifth or twenty-percent of your board. I am sure a ton more players have experimented with marijuana in their past career that we don`t even hear about or they have not admitted it.

     The same coach that made the above statement also said that in his earlier days as a head coach if any player failed a drug test they would be removed from the NFL draft. I guess this is an example of how professional level sports have changed from say three decades ago. Back in the 1970s we rarely heard of any types of drug usage in professional sports or even never heard of any player getting in trouble or being arrested. Maybe it was not so prevalent back then in the media as it is now or maybe the players were just more disciplined back then, whatever the reason from my personal point of view and being a lifetime sports fan to have any professional athlete use drugs or get in trouble is a big issue and unacceptable.

     Another stipulation the teams are trying to evaluate in the players that have tested positive for drugs is if maybe that player is just a casual user of the drug or is that player really addicted.  I understand if you have a high-level collegiate prospect and he has a past of marijuana use on his record and you are an NFL Head Coach, team President, or General Manager, you may not want to just kick him off your draft board because you would then be losing a very good player and probably has a Head Coach in the NFL you may lose more games than you win without that player which would mean you wouldn`t eventually have a job but there really has to be a median established here and a set all around policy for players that test positive for marijuana or any illegal drugs. It`s a question of do we go ahead and draft them into the NFL? Or, do we make them wait out another year until the next NFL draft, evaluate and monitor them over the course of the year, then if they prove they are clean, then draft them?

Whatever the answer is there has to be one set policy with a zero tolerance for every NFL team with no exceptions. If the policy states any player that tests positive for illegal drugs when going into the draft is automatically disqualified, then every team in the NFL has to be held to that standard. Not have it on a team by team basis where some teams kick NFL prospects off their board when those same players test positive for illegal drugs and have some teams who say well, we will see if that player is just a casual user of marijuana or is he really addicted, or have another team say we won`t worry about it just draft him and we will enroll that player in the NFL drug monitoring system and see if he comes up clean later. One set policy should cover the entire NFL.