Yesterday, the Buffalo Bills announced that its 24-year-old offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson received a 10-game suspension from the NFL for violating its controlled substance policy. The 6'8", 330-pound University of Miami pro did not get caught using performance enhancing drugs, but rather tested positive for marijuana, a drug he has been using to treat his Crohn's disease. This comes after Henderson served a four-game suspension at the beginning of the 2016 season for the same reason. Worst of all, he was just beginning to earn his starting job back at right tackle.
Henderson was diagnosed with Crohn’s towards the end of last season. He subsequently underwent two surgeries to combat the effects of the disease and lost a great deal of weight as a result. For those that are unfamiliar, Crohn's is a painful and sometimes life-threatening disease that impacts the lining of the intestinal tract. Many people who suffer from it use marijuana to minimize its effects, rather than turning to steroids.
Although the league has recently announced that it will not amend its drug policy despite widespread legalization of marijuana in the States, many players, both past and present, are fighting to change the NFL's approach. ESPN polled more that 200 current players about the topic earlier this month, to which the majority agreed that the drug should be legalized and accepted by the league as an alternative to approved painkillers.
This story just adds fuel to the fire.
Henderson’s suspension begins immediately and will apply to all regular season and postseason games until the suspension is completed. The young athlete may pursue legal action against the NFL to fight yesterday's ruling.