Former Chicago Bulls guard and three-time Duke All-American Jay Williams says it’s about time the NBA gets more progressive when it comes to marijuana.
“It’s easy for doctors to prescribe you Oxycontin and look I was addicted to it for five plus years so I know,” Williams tells FOXBusiness.com. “But when you say marijuana you get a reaction, ahhh, it’s a gateway drug.”
Williams estimates that 75 to 80 percent of athletes use marijuana in the NBA.
“You see pictures of guys in California going in and getting their medical marijuana cards. And I’m not just saying athletes, let’s talk about society. I know a lot of people that use it. It’s something that the whole world is becoming more progressive with. So it’s about time some of these entities do as well,” he adds.
Currently, 23 states have legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes, but the NBA prohibits any type of pot use. According to the National Basketball Association, and its anti-drug agreement, players are subject to four random tests throughout the season, and are conducted by an independent, third-party entity without prior notice to the athlete.
If a player tests positive for marijuana and is convicted of the violation, he will be required to enter the Marijuana Program. A second offense will result in a $25,000 fine and the third will be a five-game suspension.
“I know so many athletes that play on Percocet. Have you ever taken Percocet by the way? It makes you way more groggy than rubbing cannabis oil into your skin,” adds Williams. “It’s demonized in society too. Oh, he’s a pot head. No, I actually just use cannabis oil because it helps with inflammation and takes away some anxiety.”
Williams isn’t the only one speaking out about the positive effects of cannabis use. Former NBA player and UConn star Cliff Robinson is also an outspoken supporter of both the medicinal and stress-relieving benefits of the drug. The power forward was suspended twice for using marijuana during his tenure in the NBA and is now an advocate who plans to open up his own marijuana business called “Uncle Cliffy.”
Robinson told the Portland Business Journal in January that he wants to “distill the stigma around cannabis and the misperception that athletes and cannabis are incompatible.”
"When you talk about guys playing at a professional level, there's a lot of physical and mental stress that comes with that,'' he said.“ To have something available to you that has health benefits, I don't see the issue with it myself.''
FOXBusiness.com reached out to The NBA Players Association and they declined to comment.
Williams says the issue is still “taboo” for professional sports leagues because they’re still trying to position their brand in the best possible light.
“I’m not condoning for anyone under 18 to use cannabis or marijuana, but from a medical perspective, it’s about time some of these brands like the NBA and MLB become a little bit more progressive and start thinking forward instead of being held captive in the past.”