Seantrel Henderson, of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, has announced he will appeal a suspension he recently received for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. The 24-year-old, third-year lineman tested positive for marijuana this past week after being tested as part of the NFL’s protocol. Henderson immediately defended the drug test results, saying that the marijuana was used to treat pain and discomfort that accompanied his Crohn’s disease. Marijuana has been known to be used in pain treatment plans by individuals with Crohn’s, leading many in the league to agree with Henderson’s use of the drug.
The offensive lineman, who was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease near the end of last football season, missed the final five games of 2015 due to serious complications of the condition. In January of last year, Henderson underwent surgery to remove two and a half feet of his colon, and was subsequently in an ileostomy bag until April, when he had a second surgery to reattach the remaining intestines.
The ultimate decision on the suspension’s repeal will be made by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, however, even if the punishment is overturned, Henderson will face many obstacles in gaining his spot back on the Bills. Henderson lost around 50 pounds as a result of the Crohn’s, treatment, and surgeries, and is recovering from being the weakest he has ever been.
Before the suspension was announced, Henderson commented on his excitement with being back at practice to The Buffalo News saying,
“I went through a lot during the offseason as far as just complications with my stomach, things I’ve never been through before. So just being back out here, with the guys, with the team, being able to do everything everybody else gets to do, is just a blessing.”
With many recent scandals having come up in the NFL, the decision on Henderson’s suspension will not be taken lightly, and will be hotly contested. If the suspension is upheld, Henderson will not be able to play until after the Bills’ game against the Los Angeles Rams on October 9th. Henderson did test positive for marijuana three times while playing college football at the University of Miami, and the reasons behind those infractions remain unclear. However, Henderson ascertains that his current use of the drug was solely to control his Crohn’s pain, and feels the decision committee needs to take that into account.
What do you think? Do you think managing the pain and discomfort of Crohn’s with marijuana justifies Henderson’s use? Should the committee take his condition into account and overturn the suspension? This is clearly a hot-button topic as the start of football season is upon us, and we’d love to hear your thoughts!