Two-thirds of National Football League players said they share the view of President Barack Obama that marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol, according to a confidential survey of players conducted by ESPN.
ESPN sent its reporters out to locker rooms across the league to ask players whether they agree with a statement made by Obama during a January interview.
"As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol," Obama told The New Yorker.
The confidential survey polled more than 100 players in the NFL, with 82 players responding to the question regarding Obama’s stance on marijuana. The league, which prohibits the use of marijuana, has more than 1,600 players.
Herm Edwards, a former NFL coach and ESPN analyst, said that as a coach he would remind players that "you make your living with your body" and advised them to act accordingly.
However, he added, he often dealt with issues of abuse during his time in the league.
"We are a collection of our choices. What you decide to do, you do," Edwards says he would advise players.
"If you have an abuse problem, we can help you. We are here to help you," he said.
Edwards, who also played in the NFL for 10 years, added that he witnessed "positive results" when players were sent to medical professionals to deal with issues of alcohol or drug abuse.
A HBO Real Sports/Marist College poll
released in January found that more than 6 in 10 sports fans believe marijuana use should be banned in all professional sports, regardless of whether individual states have legalized it.
Of those surveyed, 62 percent believe the ban should stay in place, while 36 percent think the prohibition should be removed. Two percent responded that they were unsure.
"While marijuana is banned in the NFL, players tell Real Sports it is widely used, and for reasons that many might not expect," Joe Perskie, senior producer for HBO’s Real Sports, said at the time of the poll's release.
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