Cannabis, by any name, has long been abhorred in the world of professional sports. But, times are changing. Prior to this year, the drug had been on the banned substance list of every major sports association save the National Hockey League. While marijuana remains on the list, the NBA initially elected to suspend testing players for it during the 2019 season restart – a policy they extended into the 2020-2021 season. Let’s be frank, weed is typically tied to African-American athletes and has often been tied to the “character issues” of said athletes. Insert Stephen A. Smith’s “Stay off the weed!” rant.
Several athletes have lost endorsements, money, and sometimes their entire careers due to recreational use of marijuana. One of the more glaring cases is Ricky Williams. The former Heisman Trophy winning running back was suspended numerous times for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. When all was said and done, he estimated that he lost over $10 million in salary and potential endorsements due to his usage. The athlete ultimately retired from the league in 2011 as the Miami Dolphins all-time rushing leader. As more and more states legalize cannabis, Williams stands to recoup some, if not all, of those lost dollars. He, like many athletes, has dove into the cannabis business — and business is good.
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