Steve Kerr wants change in sports’ stance on marijuana

Steve Kerr has made it clear that he thinks marijuana should be taken more seriously as an alternative to opiate-based pain medication.

He made those statements while taping a podcast that was aired on Friday and has no regrets about voicing his personal experience with marijuana as a substitute for harsher drugs while recovering from back surgery last season.

Kerr had a chance to walk back his statements or shift the focus on Saturday, but he doubled down instead:

“I don’t think it’s a big deal. But I do find it ironic that if I said I used OxyContin for relief of my back pain, it would not have been a headline.”

But not only did his statements about weed make headlines but it became a national story all from his rather off the cuff remark.

It was something that he didn’t think would be a big deal at all:

“I was a little surprised. … The conversation was really about pain relief in professional sports. I thought it was interesting because of the way the world works and the way the media works now, what was a very serious topic about pain relief turns into the headline ‘Kerr smokes pot’.”

That being said, Kerr has now become almost the appointed spokesperson for marijuana and the NBA.

Since the narrative has shifted from pain relief to Kerr himself, he felt the need to use that platform to advocate for some changes to the way marijuana is dealt with in the CBA:

“I think the league should look into the use of medical marijuana for pain relief. As far as recreational, I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about pain relief, what’s best for our players’ health. That’s what should be in the CBA.”

Although Kerr said marijuana didn’t work for his back pain, it was worth a try considering how much pain he was in.

Plus the alternatives can potentially be so harmful:

“I’m always struck every time I’m at home on the couch watching a sporting event, and some drug commercial comes on…And you just wait for the qualifier: ‘Side effects include suicidal thoughts and possible death.’ And you’re like this is insane… And yet the stigma is not on those drugs being prescribed day and night to anybody. The stigma is on something relatively harmless.”

At the very least Kerr is responsible for getting the discussion going, whether he meant to or not.