Hot Topics: Olympics and drugs

Zack Fulkerson/Sports Columnist

Zack Fulkerson/Sports Columnist

There is no shortage of opinions on the use of cannabis in professional sports, nor the 2014 Winter Olympics.  Since we’re running short on arguing about the Coca-Cola “America the Beautiful” commercial, conversation has moved on to the smoking pot in the big games and just how great the games will be broadcasting from Russia.  Like anything else, I have my opinions.

As marijuana gains legal status in several states throughout the nation, whether or not its permissible in professional sports (namely the NFL) becomes more and more a subject of debate.  Teams from Washington and Colorado — the two states which have legalized recreational cannabis — took to the Super Bowl this year, leading people to label it the “Stoner Bowl.”  With some studies pointing to its success in easing recovery from head injuries, the NFL has recently hinted toward the idea of opening up to its players smoking weed.

I’m torn on the issue.  It’s pretty clear that pot is not a “performance enhancing drug.”  In fact, most people have precisely the opposite view.  Most people think of stoners as lazy, spaced-out folk who eat a lot of Twinkies and spent a lot of time on the couch.  Nonetheless, I have previously expressed my distaste for professional athletes using drugs and I stand firm on that reasoning. Professional athletes are role models for young people, and giving them the idea that smoking pot is a productive or improving venture is not intuitive to that interest.  Yet, if — and I stress “if” — there is solid scientific evidence to confirm that cannabis can combat the ills of head injury, I can get behind that effort.  It will be up to the ownership to decide on this issue, but I alert fans to be skeptical.

Why are you surprised?

Well the 2014 Winter Olympics are underway in Sochi, Russia and the predictable mess has ensued.  While all eyes are on the ice skating and cross country skiing and the anticipation for hockey and curling remain, there is no shortage of opinions on the level of suckishness that Russia has displayed since the games began.  The Twitterati took to their 140 characters to express their displeasure.  One reporter bargained: “I have three lightbulbs, I’ll trade you for a doorknob.”  Another: “My hotel room has no water, and I just washed my face in Evian.  I feel like Kim Kardashian.”  Hilarious, yet mortifying.

I’m not sure why anyone is in the least bit surprised at just how awful the conditions are for these Olympic games.  Vladmir Putin and his Soviet Union have had the better part of seven years to prepare for these games, and yet hotels are still being constructed as the athletes and journalists are pouring in.  But make no mistake, this country has knowingly obstructed liberty for practically the last century, and its no surprise that they would be under-prepared for an event of this magnitude.  I mean, they’re hardly prepared to be a functioning nation; so how can they be prepared to host an international competition?


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