He used to suspend players for smoking weed, now former NBA commissioner David Stern is advocating for allowing marijuana use among players.
"I think all of the (sports) leagues are now appropriately focused on player training, structuring of the right parts of their body, player rehabilitation in the case of injury, player nutrition ... (marijuana) should be a part of that conversation," Stern said in a documentary on UNINTERRUPTED.
Grueling schedules and physical competition in professional sports lead players to seek different methods of pain relief, and Stern believes that medical marijuana should be an option for players now that perceptions of the drug have changed.
"We've got to change the collective bargaining agreement and let you do what's legal in your state,” Stern said. “I think it's up to the sports leagues to anticipate where this is going and maybe lead the way.”
Stern acknowledged his role in tightening rules against marijuana use among players when he ran the NBA, but he has a different take on the issue now.
"Some of our players came to us and said, 'Some of these guys are high coming into the games.' We began tightening it up, and at that time, people accepted the generally held wisdom that marijuana was a gateway drug,” Stern said.
The NBA responds
NBA executive Vice President of Communications Mike Bass commented on the league’s stance to USA Today, indicating that the league has no plans to allow marijuana use anytime soon.
“While (current NBA) commissioner (Adam) Silver has said that we are interested in better understanding the safety and efficacy of medical marijuana, our position remains unchanged regarding the use by current NBA players of marijuana for recreational purposes.”