The NFL Could Learn A lot From Their NBA Counterparts

Watching David Stern get vilified on the NBA draft stage year after year was the best. He soaked in each boo, and gazed back with a smile only David Stern could pull off. The “I know I’m smarter than everyone in this room” smile.

And he was.

With the NFL’s disciplinary standards taking a beating this year (sorry, soon-to-be Mrs. Rice) Roger Goodell could use a hand from his pals in the NBA. They get it. They’re hip. And they don’t even list marijuana as a “drug of abuse” in their official NBA drug policy.

Per NBA drug policy on marijuana:

“If a player tests positive for marijuana, or if he is convicted of, or pleads guilty to, the use or possession of marijuana, he will be required to submit to treatment, counseling, and aftercare testing in the program. A second violation will result in a $25,000 fine, and any subsequent violations will result in a suspension that is 5 games longer than the player’s immediately-preceding marijuana suspension.’’

First positive test: slap on the wrist
Second positive test: 25k fine
Third positive test: Suspended 5 games (6.1% of the regular season)
Fourth positive test: Suspended additional 10 games (12.1% of the regular season)

If the NFL adapted this policy, Josh Gordon would have been suspended 1 game (6% of 16) for his string of weed smoking offenses. By that time, the Cleveland Browns would have a pretty good handle on if they needed to cut the stoner on their roster, or crack down and get him some help.


Suspending Josh Gordon for one year isn’t going to help him. And maybe he doesn’t deserve to be helped. Regardless of how you feel about this suspension, everyone agrees the NFL’s policy is outdated. So turn to a man that is much smarter than you, Mr. Goodell. He’ll be smiling as you talk.

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