Most people think that elite athletes are incredibly disciplined, and for the most part, it’s true. However, sometimes they need to chill out too. Nowadays, many of them relax by smoking marijuana as it’s legal for recreational purposes in many states. However, the problem is that there are still divided attitudes about this substance. Even though most people agree that weed is not a performance-enhancing drug, it still appears on many banned substances lists.
Also, regardless of legality laws, individual states in the U.S. have different rules about the amount of cannabis a person can carry. This also causes trouble for some stars who land themselves in hot water with larger amounts of marijuana. So let’s take a look at 25 sports stars who needlessly got into trouble because of some marijuana. Check out the list below via Rolling Stone and Complex.
25. Warren Sapp (1995)
Sapp had an iconic NFL career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But in another life, he might never have played for the franchise. Before the draft in 1995, somebody allegedly sabotaged his chances. Reports leaked about his alleged failed drug tests for marijuana and cocaine. Many teams passed on him because of this and the NFL released a statement denying it.
If true, this was out of Sapp’s control. However, this wasn’t his only cannabis-related legal problem. In 1997, police pulled him over and found a large amount of marijuana in a backpack. An investigation proved that the bag belonged to one of Sapps’s friends. In the end, he escaped without charges for a second time. He was incredibly lucky because it could have impacted his Hall of Fame career.
A former WBC middleweight champion, Chavez Jr. is a very skilled boxer. Unfortunately, his father’s shadow hung over him for his entire professional career. That’s because Chavez Sr. is one of Mexico’s greatest-ever fighters. Comparisons between the two men are unavoidable and Junior hasn’t always lived up to them. Meanwhile, his indiscipline affected him at various points.
He missed weight on numerous occasions and it cost him significant money. Meanwhile, his marijuana use caused failed drug tests. In turn, this caused athletic commissions to overturn victories and rule them as no contests. Chavez also retired in a high-profile fight against Daniel Jacobs. Many people accused him of giving up and quitting. They also labeled him an embarrassment to his father.
Non-NBA fans recognize Odom because of his ill-fated marriage to Khloe Kardashian. He was a two-time NBA champion but never lived up to his ultimate potential. He was more interested in raising his profile with his off-the-court activities. Drugs were also his main vice and affected his ability to deliver as a starter. Marijuana was just one of the drugs he used.
People argue that cannabis isn’t addictive but people do over-rely on it. While the difference is subtle, this can still have a negative effect on mental health. However, far more serious than this was his cocaine addiction and his love for prostitutes. When he combined these two, bigger problems arose. Odom spent significant chunks of time in rehab and nearly died because of his drug use.
Newton is a Dallas Cowboys legend and a super guard. This weighed heavy on him during his time in the NFL because he ballooned at various points. At one point his weight was over 400 pounds. Despite this, the three-time Super Bowl champion made his presence felt on the field. He also ran into trouble on a couple of occasions because of his relationship with marijuana.
Police arrested him twice because he had massive loads of marijuana in his vehicle. The first time they stopped him in Louisiana he had 213 pounds in his van. Then, in Texas, they found 175 pounds. For those who can do basic math, that still wasn’t as much as Newton’s weight at its peak. But it was still enough for law enforcement to charge him with drug trafficking. Since then he cleaned up his act.
Nobody on this list looks more like a stoner than Lincecum with glorious long locks and skinny physique. The MLB doesn’t let anybody down either because is a stoner. A three-time World Series winner with the San Francisco Giants, it comes as no surprise that he spent his entire career in the Golden State. Marijuana is legal in California and Lincecum took full advantage of that.
Unfortunately, he forgot that not every West Coast state has the same attitude. In 2009, he was driving through Washington when the highway patrol pulled him over. They cited him because of the amount of cannabis he had in his possession. It would have been fine in California, but he wasn’t thinking. Years later, Washington has changed its laws so now it’s not an issue.
Believe it or not, Sha’Carri Richardson wasn’t the only U.S. athlete to fall afoul of drug testers in 2021. An elite NCAA. swimmer who broke Big 12 records on multiple occasions, Jackson is a sprinting specialist. Like Richardson, he also enjoys an occasional toke. Unlike Richardson, nobody said that his one-month ban should be rescinded. The double standards show that it all depends on the narrative.
The circumstances were very similar. In the end, Jackson accepted his ban from World Swimming and got on with his life. To be fair, he was lucky with the timing because it didn’t mean he would miss the Olympics.
To be fair, marijuana was probably the least of Fury’s problems. But it contributed to his dramatic personal decline after he beat Wladimir Klitschko in 2014. He suffered from depression and the downward spiral was agonizing. Cocaine was the bane of his existence but he used a wide variety of drugs and substances as he sought escapism. None of them worked.
Fury ballooned in weight because of his drug use, alcohol consumption, and poor diet. His life was a constant haze because he was in such a deep state of depression. Cannabis use was a part of this even if it was far from the main problem. Luckily, Fury rebounded from his meltdown because he received the support he required. Then, he returned to boxing and became an icon again.
Stoudamire and his teammate Rasheed Wallace changed Portland with their exploits. The ‘Jailblazers’ tormented their fans but entertained the rest of the league with their idiocy. They loved marijuana and also they took their use of it too far. The law caught up to them on multiple occasions. This affected their tenure with Portland and drove the Trailblazers’ front office crazy.
First of all, local law arrested him for driving under the influence of weed. He was with Wallace at the time and the pair were speeding so this was never going to end well. Anyway, they didn’t learn their lesson. A few months later, Stoudamire fell foul of the authorities again. This time it was marijuana possession that landed him in a precinct. Finally, the Blazers suspended him for 90 days and he went to rehab.
The quarterback was magnificent for the Atlanta Falcons and helped redefine the quarterback role. But then he undid all of his good work because of his canine-killing ways. However, even before the dog-fighting scandal broke, Vick made problems for himself. In 2007, he joined the ranks of athletes who took cannabis through an airport.
Airport security stopped him because they detected a hidden compartment in his water bottle. He escaped without charges because there was no marijuana in the container at the time. But the law caught up to him during his dogfighting days. He tested positive for cannabis during his trial and this didn’t help endear him to the presiding judge.
If marijuana was the only drug Ellis used, his life would probably have been a lot smoother. After all, this is a man who once threw a no-hitter while high on LSD. In hindsight, this is an incredible achievement and probably deserves some kind of special award. Honestly, who does that? However, Ellis did have a love for the herb as well as many other illegal substances. Indeed, his high school almost expelled him for smoking in the bathroom.
However, all of Ellis’s drug problems paid off in the end. While he endured some dark times throughout his life, he gave back to his community. Ellis became a counselor and worked with a wide variety of people. These included prisoners and even baseball players. In sum, it was an amazing way for him to come to terms with the problems of his own life.
The legendary Lakers legend is one of the greatest NBA players ever. He’s also become one of the most outspoken retired stars alive today. However, he doesn’t have a clean criminal record. This may come as a surprise to his fans because he has such a nice guy image. But don’t worry, Abdul-Jabbar hasn’t been involved in violence or anything like that. No, it was just good old-fashioned marijuana possession.
In 2006, Abdul-Jabbar was passing through Toronto Airport with six grams of cannabis on his person. This was illegal in Canada and police charged him for this. This wasn’t the only time the drug got him into trouble. In 2000, L.A. law enforcement arrested him on a DUI charge. He went for a nighttime drug while he was high, and that wasn’t a good idea at all.
Arreola is a regular on the heavyweight boxing circuit. The American fought for the WBC title on multiple occasions but never won the coveted strap. He faced the likes of Deontay Wilder, Andy Ruiz, and Wladimir Klitschko in a long career. One of Arreola’s main issues in his later career is his love for marijuana. It literally cost him victories when he needed them the most.
In 2016, Arreola won a split-decision victory over Travis Kauffman. Then Texas State Athletic Commission suspended him for 90 days after he tested positive for THC. But the worst part was that they ruled the fight a no-contest. This wasn’t even the first time that this happened to Arreola. The same thing happened after he defeated Friday Ahunanya in 2011.
The UFC thought it was a good idea to sign WWE star CM Punk. After the pro wrestler lost his first fight, they handed him a match-up against an unknown fighter. Jackson was Punk’s opponent at UFC 225 in 2018. The MMA fighter had an average record. If Punk couldn’t beat him then he had no right being in the world’s best MMA promotion.
But Jackson beat on Punk for three whole rounds. It was a boring fight and Jackson faced criticism from UFC President Dana White because he didn’t finish Punk. Then, to rub salt into Jackson’s wounded ego, the state athletic commission ruled the fight a no-contest. Tests detected marijuana in his system. The UFC cut him from their roster and that was the last anybody heard of him.
Rebagliati was one of the stars of the 1998 Winter Olympics. The Canadian snowboarder lit up the slopes with his electrifying performances. He won a gold medal in Nagano after his sport featured for the very first place. But things went drastically wrong when he tested positive for THC. This by-product of the cannabis plant is found in herbal marijuana but not in popular CBD products.
The Olympic committee stripped him of his gold medal. Obviously, this was a devastating blow because of the embarrassment and shame he felt. But they reinstated him as the winner because marijuana wasn’t on the list of banned substances. They jumped the gun but Rebagliatti got the last laugh in the end. He became an entrepreneur after he retired from competition and now has two cannabis companies.
Holmes sealed his place in Super Bowl folklore with one of the most iconic game-winning catches ever against the Arizona Cardinals. But that’s not why the former Steelers’ receiver is on this list. When he wasn’t wreaking havoc on the playing field, Holmes was a bad boy on the streets. At various points in his life, he caused unnecessary problems for himself. He loved smoking marijuana.
There’s nothing wrong with that except in states where it is illegal. In 2008, police arrested him on possession charges. However, he redeemed himself by helping Pittsburgh win. It wasn’t the only time that Holmes got into trouble. There were also domestic charges at various points and even dealt drugs in his hometown. But ultimately, a Super Bowl ring speaks for itself.
Nowadays, Webber is one of the busiest retired NBA stars out there. He has various charities, worked as a sportscaster, and was even briefly a professor at Wake University. But he was also a brilliant player with multiple All-Star Games to his name. However, even he made problems for himself with marijuana. In 1998, police arrested him in Maryland for possession, assault, and resisting arrest.
In the end, they threw those charges out but it wasn’t the last time that marijuana landed him in hot water. Later that year, Webber went to Puerto Rico for a Fila endorsement event. But the customs stopped him at the airport because he had cannabis on his person. The police arrested him because this was illegal. Then, Fila cut ties with the star because of his tarnished image.
An electric receiver for the Minnesota Vikings, fans loved Moss during his NFL career. He never won a Super Bowl as part of that exciting Vikings roster. But he was a six-time Pro Bowler and led the league in receiving touchdowns on five occasions. But he’s on his list for the marijuana use that got him into trouble.
Moss made serious trouble for himself in 1996 after agreeing to play for the Florida State Seminoles. Police arrested him for beating up another student. After initially receiving a 30-day sentence, the judge extended it to 60 days. This came after a drug test detected THC in his system. Moss lit up a blunt on the way to jail to serve his initial jail time. It was unnecessary but it was funny.
UFC veteran Price is a mainstay in the welterweight division. Like many of his fellow fighters, he likes to smoke cannabis and use THC products for recovery. However, this had negative implications on the late stage of his career. In the end, he admitted that he gave up smoking marijuana because it just wasn’t worth it. The Nevada Athletic Commission suspended him after traces of the substance were found in his system.
The NAC changed their rules about marijuana use and Price agreed that it was silly. Surprisingly, he didn’t go back to smoking for a number of reasons. Firstly, he said that he spent too much money on it. The other main reason was that giving up marijuana improved his cardio. He said that he felt better than ever before. Some athletes would consider this contentious, but for Price, it was the right choice.
Vergani definitely isn’t the most famous athlete on this list but he is a very interesting case study. The Italian swimmer was the best in Europe in 2019 and it looked like he was going to be an Olympic contender. However, he smokes a toke of cannabis at the wrong time. This wreaked havoc with his career prospects because the swimming world’s governing body has a zero-tolerance policy.
This meant that he missed over six months of the 2019 season, including the world championships. It also made his qualifying path for the Olympics all the more difficult. Despite the fact that the drug allegedly gave him no competitive advantage, he still suffered time on the sidelines. Strangely, there weren’t any U.S. senators defending him and calling for clemency.
It’s unclear whether Rider saw himself as a full-time NBA player or as a criminal. He had a successful career on the court as he won an NBA Championship. He was perhaps best known for being the Slam Dunk Champion in 1994. Those were the highlights of his time in the league, but there were plenty of bad moments off the court. He loved drugs of all kinds, which didn’t help endear him to the NBA’s anti-doping committee.
This list is about marijuana, not cocaine, but Rider enjoyed both. He even served time in jail after the police arrested him on cannabis possession charges. This was a true low and it changed his life. After this, he vowed to reform. It’s never a good idea to have large amounts of an illegal substance in a personal vehicle. But Rider didn’t consider this.
‘White Chocolate’ was one of the stars of his era. The point guard played alongside Shaquille O’Neal with the Miami Heat. He was a very entertaining player and the fans loved him. But things threatened to derail before he even made it to the NBA. Young men make bad decisions like bakers bake bread. Williams was no exception to this rule because he used marijuana like it was candy.
First, Williams ran into trouble in college when Florida suspended him for a chunk of 1998. This was after he tested positive for marijuana. It ended his NCAA career but his skills were enough to make him a nailed-on first-rounder. The Sacramento Kings drafted him but he suffered another suspension in his rookie year. This was also because of cannabis as he loved a puff of the ganja.
Some athletes loved marijuana more than it was good for them. Williams was definitely one of these. The NFL star was an excellent running back. Somehow he even managed 11 seasons in the league despite several suspensions for use of the herb. Williams is a marijuana devotee. After receiving multiple suspensions from the NFL, Williams left to study ancient Indian alternative medicine in college.
But he hadn’t given up on his football career. Williams joined the Toronto Argonauts and played up North before accepting a deal with the NFL to rejoin the league. However, they suspended him again because he continued to use marijuana. The Miami star’s love for marijuana is one of the most beautiful relationships in sport. He risked millions of dollars to continue using it.
Phelps is the most successful American Olympian in history. Of course, that comes with the caveat that his sport allows him to compete for more medals than others. Nonetheless, the 23-time gold medallist is an icon. He also cuts a clean-cut figure as he retained total focus on swimming throughout his career. However, he also fell afoul of the marijuana haters.
Photos of Phelps smoking a bong emerged in 2008. This was in the months after the Beijing Games and during an out of competition period. As a result, the IOC couldn’t sanction him. This was unlike the case of Sha’Carri Richardson in 2021. But Phelps suffered a financial blow. He lost several major endorsements including from Kelloggs.
The Diaz brothers are cult heroes in the UFC and the MMA universe overall. Even though neither of them ever won a UFC title, they still entertain the masses. In short, it’s all about their authenticity. Nobody doubts that they’ll show up to fight anybody. Even when they lose, it’s never boring. In 2015, Nick fought Anderson Silva. Silva won by unanimous decision, but the commission ruled the fight a no-contest.
This was after both men tested positive for banned substances. In Diaz’s case, marijuana was the culprit. The brothers love the plant and are open about their use of it. However, the Nevada State Commission didn’t appreciate it the same way. They slammed him with a ludicrous five-year suspension. Public outcry reduced his ban to 18 months but the damage was done.
Richardson was on track to be one of Team U.S.A.’s biggest stars in the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics. The Texas native cut a compelling figure with her brightly dyed hair and long nails. In fact, many analysts picked her to be a medalist at the Olympics. But then she went and ruined it all by smoking marijuana a month before the Games. This was because the plant is on the IOC’s banned substance list.
The news split sports fans down the middle. Many people argued she should have been alowedto compete because of Richardson’s mitigating circumstances. It was true that her biological mother died shortly before the testing occurred. However, others pointed out that it wasn’t a new rule and ultimately she was responsible for her own decisions. Even if the ban on marijuana is stupid, she still should have known better. In the end, it cost her her Olympic dreams no matter what the discussion was.