Sunday, May 1, 2016

The NFL, Marijuana, and Cyber Security

Don't worry, this isn't about to devolve into a sports blog...

Here look at a picture of dank weed. That will make you feel better. Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

For those of you who aren't football fans, the annual NFL Draft took place from Thursday to Saturday this past week. Basically, NFL teams pick college football players. In all, 253 players were selected. The top players sign contracts in excess of $20 million with huge signing bonuses. The players drafted last earn $420,000 per year, but none of that is guaranteed and many are cut before the season even begins. Big money is on the line.

This year, before the draft began, one top pick lost millions. Laremy Tunsil was one of the best offensive tackle prospects in more than a decade. (Offensive tackle the second or third most important positions on the field.) He may have been the best player in the draft. He was projected to be selected somewhere between the third and sixth pick. (As expected, QBs were drafted first because of the importance of the position rather than the talents of the players.) Then this video was posted from his Twitter account:

That's right. That's Tunsil smoking pot from a gas mask bong. Wow. Apparently, some hacked Tunsil's Twitter account. Tunsil fell all the way to thirteen. He was picked by the Miami Dolphins who claimed that they knew of its existence prior to the tweet. This begs the question: did the Dolphins hack Tunsil's twitter account in order to spook other teams so that a great prospect would fall to them? The video was from Tunsil's freshman year. He has apparently been clean since then. He's passed drug tests administered by the NCAA and the NFL.

Shortly after Tunsil was drafted, someone posted to Tunsil's Instagram account screenshots of text messages between Tunsil and an Ole Miss football coach where Tunsil asks the coach for money-a clear violation of NCAA rules. The Dolphins had no reason to post that conversation. They had already drafted him.

Tunsil lost between $8 million and $13 million because of the hacking incident. He lost more money in about half an hour than I'm likely to make in my whole life. Fuck. There are many ways the hack may have occurred. Given that he had multiple accounts hacked, he most likely chose a really shitty password. Let this be a lesson. Choose a good password.

What about Marijuana?

Tunsil got dinged hard for smoking weed ... and he most likely hadn't smoked it in a couple of years.

But seriously, marijuana? Why do teams give a shit if their plays smoke marijuana? One simple reason. It's banned. Not as a performance enhancing drug, but as a drug of abuse. Hypocrisy. Oxycodone is perfectly legal to prescribe, and team physicians do. According to one anonymous player the sport is so violent that players can't play without painkillers.

Many players use marijuana to deal with concussions and general pain from the brutality of the sport. According to one former player, at least 60% of players smoke weed. Players are tested once a year-usually during training camp in August. They can abstain for a month prior to the test and then get high until the following year. But if a player tests positive, he'll be subjected to further testing.

It would be nice if the NFL adopted a more reasonable drug policy. Players can legally get high in Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and Washington D.C. without a prescription. Players can get medical marijuana is a dozen more states. Every NFL player should be entitled to treat his pain with marijuana.

So why doesn't the NFL change its policy? NFL owners are nearly all old, white men, who fear change. And what's in it for them to change the rule? If they allow weed, they won't gain any new fans, but they might lose advertisers (large corporations run by old, white, men who fear change).

Of course, the forces of legalization are on the march. Twenty five states allow medical marijuana. Bernie Sanders favors legalized weed. As always, Hillary Clinton is more coy. She has referred to states with legal weed as "laboratories of democracy." I.e. she wants to see what happens. Donald Trump unequivocally supports medicinal marijuana, but he isn't sure about recreational weed. And Ted Cruz thinks ... wait ... why do we give a shit about that guy?

Until next time, stoners, I leave you with this video of a MASSIVE gravity bong rip. Oh and don't forget to change those passwords!

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