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2012 NFL Draft: Marijuana And Arrests

The big discussion this draft season has been the issue of kids popping positive for marijuana use. The most recent positive was Mike Adams at the NFL Combine. One of the most famous positive tests was Warren Sapp who saw his draft stock sink in the first round after a positive marijuana test.

Mike Mayock actually addressed the issue in his conference call yesterday (PDF):

I don't think marijuana is as big a deal as it was ten years ago in the eyes of most NFL teams. I think habitual usage of any narcotic, including alcohol, is a concern. So if you take it to the next level, A, habitual usage is bad, and B, alcohol is legal, pot is illegal. A certain number of positive tests will get a guy suspended. So that's why there's a concern
that if it's habitual, and a guy gets suspended, obviously it's going to impact your evaluation of him.

If it was a one-time thing and not that big of a deal. It's not like you're beating women or a convicted felon murdering people. There's hot button issues right now, but I don't think one time with pot is a hot button issue. If it's more habitual and then it's more, what are we going to have to deal with if this guy really likes pot and he gets banged a couple of times; we are going to lose him off the field.

The issue of marijuana has become a fairly national above and beyond sports. I don't want this to get into a legalization/decriminalization debate, but there are obviously issues related to this that go above and beyond the football field.

This is a two-part post to a certain extent and for the first part, I'm curious how folks view players testing positive for marijuana. I think Mayock makes a good point about issues of addiction and/or habitual use. Trying it once or twice and testing positive is one thing. In the case of Mike Adams, he should have known the NFL Combine would feature drug-testing and this was a make-or-break opportunity for him. If he can't quit long enough to make it through the Combine, it might be reasonable to raise some question marks. We don't know all the details, so there is only so much judgment that can be passed.

The second part of this post is related to a study that was recently published related to players with a criminal record and the NFL Draft. The study broke out players into four groups. The groups were:

1.) Players with no suspensions or legal problems in college;

2.) Players suspended one game or more for violating team or university rules;

3.) Players arrested and charged with a crime;

4.) Players arrested, but not charged.

According to the study, teams drafting from these four groups get the most bang for their buck when they draft players that are arrested but not charged. I'd be curious about players who plea-bargained out, were found innocent, and were found guilty.

The study looked at teams that picked from groups two, three and four, and the 49ers were tied for third in having 20% of their picks fit into those groups. It is definitely worth noting that the draft classes ran from 2005 to 2009, since the 49ers brain trust has changed considerably since then with the elevation of Trent Baalke to general manager. But from a more general view, it is an interesting concept to consider.

For entertainment value, they actually played this song in Atlanta when Ryan Braun came up to bat in their season-opening series.