A billboard erected by the D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project in front of Denver’s Sports Authority Field urges the National Football League to “stop driving players to drink” by punishing players’ marijuana use.
The 48-foot-wide billboard shows a football leaning against a foaming beer mug above the caption: “A safer choice is now legal here.”
It was unveiled one day before the NFL season opener is set to take place in the Mile High City.
“For years, the NFL has been punishing players for using marijuana despite the fact that it is far less harmful than alcohol, a substance widely embraced by the league,” said Mason Tvert, director of communications for MPP, in a press release.
“The league would never punish a player simply for having a couple beers,” he continued, “so why does it penalize them for using a substance that is less toxic, less addictive and less likely to contribute to violence?”
The NFL has partnered with big-name brewers and distillers of alcoholic beverages in the past, most notably through a $1.2 billion advertising deal with Anheuser-Busch.
“We hope Commission Goodell will explain why the NFL is willing to promote the use of alcohol among its players and fans, but unwilling to recognize that a safer alternative is now legal here,” said Tvert.
But some sports commentators are unconvinced that the league’s crackdown on marijuana usage will be effective.
Former ESPN analyst Lomas Brown claimed that at least 50 percent of NFL players probably smoke marijuana. “I just don’t think you’ll be able to curb this,” he said.
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