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Long: Marijuana a football-future killer



Tyrann Mathieu, Cliff Harris, Michael Dyer, Jeremiah Masoli, Greg Reid. What do all these familiar names have in common? At one point they were all college football superstars on some of the nation’s premier teams. But sadly, the similarity that has come to define them is that they have all been kicked off their respective teams for, among other things, marijuana use. There are many terrible conclusions that come from falling from college football’s clouds of the elite, but by far the worst part of it all is that there is no reason behind the decision to choose getting high over infinite amounts of fame and money. What’s worse — it is happening all the time.

If my buddies called me on a Friday night and told me to meet them at the bar and I said no, they would be let down and probably rib me for it. But if I explained that if I skipped meeting them for drinks, I could, in a year’s time, sign a contract that would pay me tens of millions of dollars, some of which I would dispense to my closest friends (probably the ones calling me on this Friday night), they would understand and most likely encourage me to stay in.

It is no different for these collegiate athletes. When their friends pass them a joint, how hard is it to tell them no? Especially when you have the legitimate excuse that a million bucks, a sports car and your picture in Sports Illustrated are waiting on the other side?

For a lot of these young men, smoking dope with their friends is just something they have always done. It isn’t seen as making a poor decision; it goes hand in hand with playing Xbox, relaxing in the backyard or even a pregame before playing sports. Eating Twinkies and sleeping until 11 a.m. was something some guys have always done, but that should have ended for good on they day they met Chip Kelly, Les Miles, Gene Chizik.

Possibly the most egregious part of all of this is that every single one of these guys are repeat offenders. For some reason, these college programs don’t have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to marijuana, but that doesn’t matter because these athletes in their prime are stupid enough to screw up more than once.

I will concede that all of us are guilty of not taking the rules too seriously the first time. I would bet a large number of University students skipped lecture classes even though the professor said on day one that class attendance was vital. And it took us failing the midterm to realize the lawmaker wasn’t fooling around. Granted, doing drugs while having the prospective of a fortune as an incentive to stay clean isn’t the same scenario. But if these boneheads had a case, that was it.

Mathieu was the first to learn the two-strike policy. He was suspended one game in the 2011 season when he was caught for smoking marijuana. The second time he was busted for using the recreational drug was his last as an LSU Tiger, and he was dismissed from the program in the 2012 offseason.

The case for Mathieu is that he was hopelessly addicted to marijuana and entered rehab for it, according to his father in August. Tragic — expect for the fact there is no scientific consensus that has determined weed is addictive. I assume the facility he will be using treats the clinically stupid.

If being dumb twice wasn’t enough, you have the all-stars of the three-strike policy — Harris, Dyer, Masoli and Reid all fit this category, along with many other college football competitors.

Harris was suspended for Oregon’s 2011 season opener due to marijuana use. After being reinstated, he was suspended again, this time indefinitely, for a traffic incident. And then during that suspension he did the same thing again, driving with a suspended license with weed in the car. He was dismissed from the team in November 2011.

Reid hit the goodbye jackpot after three drug-possession run-ins. Florida State had enough of him in August 2012.

Masoli, who had been in trouble in his younger years for dope use, committed felony burglary in 2010. The incident at Oregon was widely suspected to be in relation to a disagreement involving marijuana. During his yearlong suspension for that offense, he was pulled over in a car that had marijuana in it. Boom, he’s gone.

Michael Dyer was suspended indefinitely from Auburn for drug-related issues in late 2011 and then was expelled from the team less than a month later for a similar screw-up. After transferring to Arkansas State, he didn’t even see the field before being removed from the university for marijuana possession.

Where am I going with all of this? It has to be somebody’s fault. Athletic programs aren’t providing the impressionable kids with tools to succeed. The player’s upbringings are a hard habit to break from and need coaching. Motivational speakers and grand influences must be put in place to steer the impressionable athletes. That is what it always comes down to. They are too good and too important to take the blame. Someone else has failed them.

I don’t buy that. There are no more excuses, no passing the buck on to the programs. The examples of what happens when you keep on toking are bountiful.

Put down to the joint and go play football. If only it were that simple.


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Jackson Long

Jackson Long