Footballers get high too, says former League One player
We spoke to a former football player about dope smoking, footballing and drugs testing. It turns out there's a lot of dope smoking, a lot of footballing and not a lot a drugs testing.
The former midfielder, who wants to remain anonymous, played in League One teams for 6 years from 2002 and isn't shy about discussing the debauchery that comes with kicking a ball for a living.
During his professional career he confesses that he's only ever known three person to be drugs tested. Conveniently, none of those tested were substance abusers.
He told us: "Alcoholism is rife, that's understood. We see enough retired footballers now with drinking problems but weed smoking is still a taboo. I've met so many footballers who smoke weed!"
"You've got entire teams of people that take a performance decreasing drugs in their downtime and still perform on the field. Some of the best players I have ever seen spend their weekdays smoking weed and their weekends snorting charlie."
We asked him a few questions to see if he could shed any light on the weedy underbelly of British soccer.
Would you say drug use is endemic within the footballing ranks?
Definitely, I think it probably gets worse as you go up the league tables. Don't get me wrong, you get players who take it super seriously, they would never dream of it. It's a strong mix, as long as everyone is performing then nobody cares really.
I thought players were regularly drugs tested, is that not the case?
In my professional career I've only ever known three people have to do a drugs test. They were the most straight-edge people you'd ever meet as well. They were their saying "what are you picking on me?" and "so-and-so is the one you want to test", they thought it brought their credibility in to question. No wonder they got picked.
Why do you think weed is so popular?
Injuries, definitely. Obviously, it's a very physical game full of muscle cramps, strains, broken bones and pain. Weed helps dealing with all of these things. I defy anyone not to want a smoke if they've just broken their foot and can't play football for 2 months.
Do you think smoking affects the overall fitness of the players?
A little. Smoking is never going to be brilliant for you. Everyone knows that. You have to remember these are people who spend most of their week doing fitness training, callisthenics and the like. They could smoke 40 fags a day and still be in better shape than the man on the street.
So if everyone is at it why isn't it more widely reported?
I guess nobody wants to speak about it. I know a lot of players who smoke it, but then again I was quite open about it. There are probably tons more players who would never admit to it because they don't want to end up getting a bollocking from the manager. You probably wouldn't tell your workmates that you've been up to no good if you thought it would get back to your boss.
Do you think it affects your ability to play or succeed?
I can't really talk for other people, but personally I don't think it affected my abilities or drive. I was very focused when I started and still am. A lot of players are like that. They grew up wanting to be footballers, they went through the motions and got where they wanted to be. I can't say I've met a single player who didn't want to be anything but better.
Famous athletes like Michael Phelps have been caught out pictured with a bong, do you think a lot of athletes like to get high?
I thought the Michael Phelps thing was really funny. You've got this guy who has won more Olympic medals than anyone else, he's basically like Superman in Speedos and he smokes weed.
Drugs testing is probably much more rigorous in that world so I'd be really surprised if it was widely used. If they were going to take anything illegal it's probably going to be performance enhancing drugs.
So there you have it. Footballers smoke weed.
Words by Gareth Arnaud.
"I've met so many footballers who smoke weed!" http://t.co/6bfqJqIYFx— Cannabis Seeds (@pickandmixseeds) April 9, 2015