Target: Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the National Football League
Goal: Do not punish players, such as Seantrel Henderson, for using medical marijuana in legitimate cases.
Seantrel Henderson, offensive lineman for the Buffalo Bills, is facing his second suspension this season for a substance violation. Although it is NFL policy not to release specifics of the violation, it is known that Henderson uses cannabis as a treatment for Crohn’s disease. Henderson was diagnosed with Crohn’s in the middle of last season, and since the diagnosis he has undergone multiple surgeries, including removal of two-and-a-half feet of his colon.
Crohn’s is an inflammatory bowel disease, causing chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. It manifests in many ways, but common symptoms include persistent diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, cramps, and rectal bleeding – and it can be extremely painful. Cannabis, of course, is an effective pain-reducer, as well as appetite-stimulant and sleep aid. One source told the NFL, on Henderson’s behalf: “He needs cannabis. You can’t take pain killers with the way his intestines are.”
According to Henderson, “I’ve got doctors telling me this is the No. 1 medicine that would help your disease. You try to tell that to the league and it seems like they didn’t care too much.” It is true; Crohn’s disease is one medical condition that has in fact been proven in clinical trials to be abated by medical marijuana. Funnily enough, the other medication options for Crohn’s disease involve taking steroids, which of course would not be tolerated by the NFL either. By imposing these strict substance regulations on its players, the NFL is drastically limiting the medical options available to a player like Henderson, with a serious medical condition.
Sign the petition to tell the NFL it isn’t right to punish someone for pursuing necessary health regimens. Seantrel Henderson should not be suspended or banned for using cannabis to treat his Crohn’s disease.
Dear Mr. Goodell,
I am writing on behalf of Seantrel Henderson, a player for the Buffalo Bills who is being suspended, I believe unjustly, for the second time this season. Assuming Henderson “failed” his drug test only because of marijuana, I would like to point out that marijuana is a clinically-proven treatment for Crohn’s disease, and may indeed be the best option available to Henderson.
Of course the NFL has reasons for maintaining a strict substance-abuse policy, but a case like this should not fall into that category. It is hardly substance abuse when a substance is being used as an effective treatment for a serious disease. The NFL does allow medical exemptions for some substances, such as Adderall – why should medical marijuana not be one of them, in states where it is legal?
I urge you to reconsider your suspension of Seantrel Henderson. It borders on discrimination, to tell a player he cannot play because his medication is objectionable, when the disease itself would surely prevent him from playing without medication. You should reinstate Henderson, and add marijuana to the list of medically permissible substances.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Alan Kotok