Athletes are in constant motion, and want to perform at the highest levels possible at all times. Recently, cannabis was removed from the list of banned substances in the NFL and MLB, two of the major four sports leagues in North America. However, there is hope that other athletic leagues follow suit.
While the NBA still has a ban on any cannabis use, former NBA commissioner David Stern said that he was open to removing cannabis from the banned substance list in 2017, referring to former 16-year NBA veteran Al Harrington, who is currently an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry. Here are some former (and current) professional athletes who use CBD:
#1. Al Harrington
Al Harrington spent 16 years in the NBA and is most remembered for his stints with the Indiana Pacers, Atlanta Hawks, Golden State Warriors and New York Knicks. The 6’9” power forward has also played in the Chinese Basketball Association and the Australian National Basketball League. While not always an All-Star caliber player, Harrington was a very solid player and athlete.
Harrington formed a cannabis company named Viola Extracts, named after his grandmother who had suffered from several ailments including glaucoma and diabetes. He later formed other cannabis companies which are under The Harrington Group, making him one of the highest-profile athletes to come out in support of the CBD industry. He has also written an essay in The Players’ Tribune to advocate for cannabis use and even supported California’s Proposition 64 in 2016, appearing in an online ad.
#2. Rob Gronkowski
Rob Gronkowski, better known as “Gronk”, spent eight years in the NFL as a tight end with the New England Patriots. Gronk’s position and intimidating height meant that he often found the ball in his hands, at which point he would tear through whatever NFL team’s defense stood between him and the end zone. Even with an early retirement, Gronk is considered one of the greatest tight ends to have ever played the game of football. We may never again see another player with his build and skill set in that position.
Gronk’s father was the one who initially advised him to try out CBD. Now, Gronk has partnered with CBDMedic, being the centerpiece of the brand’s marketing. He expresses great enjoyment when talking about CBD products, and seems to have nothing but positive things to say about the compound!
#3. Megan Rapinoe
Megan Rapinoe is known for her captaincy of the United States women’s soccer team and has racked up two FIFA Women’s World Cup medals in 2015 and 2019. She also won the Golden Boot and Golden Ball awards in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Outside of soccer, she is known for her political activism, championing LGBT rights. Rapinoe herself is a member of the LGBT community, and she has been dating WNBA star Sue Bird, who is an icon in women’s basketball, since 2016.
Rapinoe is an outspoken advocate for CBD use by athletes, and she has played a major role within her sister’s CBD company. So long as the Rapinoe sisters are leading the way, the CBD industry’s future is in good hands.
#4. Riley Cote
The NHL does not test its players for cannabis use, but former Philadelphia Flyers player Riley Cote also used it during his career. Fulfilling the enforcer role for the Flyers, Cote has reportedly been in over 250 fights on the ice; the toll of ice hockey forced Cote to retire after only eight seasons.
Cote co-founded the group Athletes for Care, and he has vocalized his appreciation for CBD products. He has been joined by several other ex-pro athletes, such as Jake Plummer and Rick Upchurch, who also believe in the quality of life boost that comes with using CBD as an athlete.
#5. David Wells
David Wells is one of only 21 MLB pitchers to have thrown a perfect game, and the amazing thing about Wells is that he doesn’t necessarily look like an athlete. Make no mistake: Wells was a commanding pitcher in his day, racking up 2,200 strikeouts, two World Series titles and three All-Star Games. However, Wells was not without controversy; he penned a book that criticized the Yankees at the time and had an overall “bad boy” image.
Today, Wells is a CBD spokesperson, and he expresses regret that he didn’t get to experience CBD products earlier in his professional career. His advocacy adds some hall of fame-level support for CBD from the world of baseball, which has seen a few other ex-baseball stars come out in favor of the compound.
These are 5 famous professional athletes who have gone on the record as being in favor of CBD. As time progresses, and greater leniency is achieved in the world of sports, there’s hope that soon the majority of players will be shouting their praise for CBD from the mountaintops!