Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson will be suspended the first four games of the 2016 season for violating the NFL’s drug policy.
After considering an appeal of the suspension, Henderson and his agent, Brian Fettner, made a hard decision to simply take the punishment. Via ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Fettner issued a statement regarding the decision that will tear your heart out.
Crohn’s is an extremely painful inflammatory bowel disease. The details provided here by Fettner, “has had his intestines outside his body” indicate just how extreme Henderson’s situation has become.
Joe Buscaglia of ABC 7 in Buffalo added these details:
“Henderson has been battling for months against Crohn’s disease, had surgery to remove over two-and-a-half feet of intestines, and reportedly lost 50 pounds throughout it all. He never knew if he was going to play football again.”
Clearly, this was a case in which Henderson needed some relief from pain.
And the irony here is that he’s choosing a medicinal approach in cannabis that does far less harm (if any at all) to his body. This is a league that would have no problem whatsoever if Henderson had been doped up on morphine or any other narcotic drug.
That he’s being suspended is ridiculous.
That said, given the recent large-scale victories the NFL has tallied against the players and the NFLPA, it’s understandable that Fettner and Henderson would choose to forego a fight with the league.
The NFL is showing just how heartless it really is about what Henderson has been dealing with, and what he’ll continue to manage throughout his entire life.
Cannabis is not the end-all, be-all answer for pain management or recovery. But it sure as heck is a better alternative to the opioid factory the NFL has perpetuated over the years. Players get hooked on the stuff, they play through pain they have no business playing through and don’t get the recovery they need after the fact.
Thankfully there are advocates out there, such as former NFL offensive lineman Eugene Monroe, who continues to make it his business to change the NFL’s backwards policy on cannabis.
Unfortunately for Henderson, that change has yet to occur. The league had a chance to have some heart for a player who has been fighting for his life. Instead, it paints him as a druggie who deserves to be punished.
Change can’t come quick enough at this point.