Baseball great Darryl Strawberry doesn’t think marijuana should be permitted in sports to manage pain.
Some athletes and even sports leagues are seeking marijuana and related substances to deal with pain, seeing it as an alternative to the harm opioids have caused.
But Strawberry, whose career and life went off track due to his drug addiction, doesn’t agree.
“Most people don’t understand marijuana is a drug,” Strawberry told TMZ.
Strawberry even puts the blame on his usage of marijuana at a young age for the struggles with substance abuse that eventually toppled his career.
He was suspended three times from pro baseball for using cocaine.
Strawberry is now a Christian minister and credits God with getting him free from addiction. He spends his time speaking to others about the dangers of addiction, and giving sermons.
“I started drinking and smoking marijuana when I was 13 years old,” he told Yankees Magazine. “I was already in trouble coming out of junior high school. I was smoking a couple joints before I got to school, and there were times when I wouldn’t even go to class. I would go into the bathrooms and start a fire because I was high and I didn’t want to go to class. I continued to drink and use drugs when I got to high school, even though I was playing sports.”
Even after he was drafted by the New York Mets in 1980, straight out of high school, the drug use didn’t end.
“At that time, I just drank more and smoked more than when I was in high school,” he told Yankees Magazine. “People don’t realize that drinking and smoking marijuana are going to lead to other drugs, but they do. Eventually, marijuana and alcohol are going to stop working, and you need to get to a different place.”
He was offered cocaine on his first road trip after switching from the Mets minor league to major league team. Despite the drugs, he said success in baseball came easy, but his life was filled with other problems.
Success Did Not Equal Happiness
“I pretended I was happy because I was successful playing baseball, but I was never a real man. I was never a real husband, and I was really never a real good father. I just wanted to do what I wanted. So it was great to accomplish all of those things as a baseball player, but that didn’t make me a man.”
An article in Forbes sees certain sports leagues loosening their stances on marijuana usage by players, though it notes that the NFL and NBA retain strict anti-marijuana policies.
Some NFL players would like to see the NFL give athletes the option to use marijuana to deal with pain, as TMZ explores, but Strawberry sees pain management as beyond the purview of these substances, warning that there are disasters ahead for people seeking to manage pain in this way.
“There’s no such thing as pain management for prescription drugs. They’ve gotten totally out of control,” Strawberry said. “Anything that alters your mind will change your mind forever.”