Some NFL players prefer pot to painkillers: ESPN poll

HOUSTON – The NFL Players Association’s latest effort is to get the league to ease punishment for players caught using pot.

The cannabis controversy is simmering just below the surface of the fanfare surrounding Super Bowl festivities in Houston.

The group Cannabis for Professional Sports held a convention Wednesday with former big names players asking the NFL to allow players to use medical marijuana.  Former NFL stars like Jim McMahon argue pot is better at relieving pain than prescription pain killers provided by team doctors.

Read more: Cannabis Confidential: NFL pot conference held in Houston amid Super Bowl fanfare

On the same day, when reporters asked NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell if he’s open to revising the marijuana rules, he said no.

Despite Goodell's current stance, the debate rages on between former players and several advocacy groups versus the NFL.

The biggest ammunition comes from the players union and current players who are trying to get the NFL rules changed.

Read more: Patriots stun Falcons with 25-point comeback to win Super Bowl in overtime

To get the pulse of players on the marijuana issue, ESPN asked 226 players from the AFC and NFC several questions about pot use in the league.

An ESPN poll of current players found an overwhelming majority of 71 percent support legalization of pot in the United States.  When they use pot for pain control, NFL players are in support of it as well, according to poll results published in ESPN Magazine in November.

Some of the results show 22 percent of players say they know of a teammate who used marijuana before a game.  When asked if it’s hard to beat the NFL’s testing system for recreational drugs, 67 percent said no.

As it is now, marijuana remains on the NFL’s list of banned substances.