At the end of July, it was announced that the National Football League (NFL) had reached out to the NFL Players Association offering to work in tandem to study the potential use of marijuana as a pain management tool for players. The announcement had come as a surprise, mostly because of the league's tumultuous relationship with the substance in the past: prior to agreeing on a new drug policy regarding marijuana in 2014, the NFL had the most stringent standard in professional sports. In turn, an increasing number of players were facing disciplinary measures, going so far as being suspended.
Despite the relaxation of the standards for a positive marijuana test, the present threshold remains rather low and players have continued to face disciplinary actions. Amongst them is Houston Texans' Jaelen Strong who, in February of 2016, was charged and arrested for possession of marijuana. At the time of the events, Strong had this to say about the misfortune:
"pretty embarrassing. Forget about me, but for my family and for the Houston Texans. I've talked to my teammates about it. It's a setback, but I've had plenty of setbacks. I'm ready to put it all out on the field."
Although no official disciplinary actions have been announced, the standard sanction for marijuana possession is, at least, a one-game suspension. Henceforth, as we inch closer to the regular season, Jaelen Strong's situation is becoming a concern because if the NFL determines that his actions merit a game suspension, this would cement his absence for the team's season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Despite the league's inaction, reports are saying that the third-year Houston Texans receiver will be appealing his suspension. As per NFL policy, the arbitrator has three days after the hearing to evaluate the evidence and issue a summary ruling, which is to be followed by a formal written opinion within 10 business days of that same hearing.
Strong should find out next week if he wins his appeal or not. Coincidentally, this will most likely also determine whether or not he will be playing in the team's season opener.
Source: Chron · Photo Credit: Keystone Press Agency