Steve Kerr Admitted to Using Marijuana For Back Pain

December 3rd 2016

Willie Burnley Jr.

The sports world just got a new potential proponent of medicinal marijuana: Golden State Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr. The championship-winning coach, who revealed he suffered from chronic back pain post-surgery, told CSN Bay Area's Monte Poole that he tried marijuana to find relief.

“I tried it, and it didn’t help at all. But it was worth it,” Kerr said, before pointing out that NBA-approved painkillers he’s tried “have been worse.”

He continued to critique the sports world’s punitive stance on marijuana:

"If you're an NFL player, in particular, and you've got a lot of pain, I don't think there's any question that pot is better for your body than Vicodin. And yet, athletes everywhere are prescribed Vicodin like it's Vitamin C, like it's no big deal. And there's like this perception in our country that over-the-counter drugs are fine but pot is bad. Now, I think that's changing. You're seeing that change in these laws that you're talking about in different states, including California. But I would just hope that sports leagues are able to look past the perception."

Kerr is not the first person involved in the NBA to speak out against the industry’s prohibition. Former Chicago Bulls player Jay Williams, who got addicted to Oxycontin after it was prescribed by a doctor, took a similar stance on the dangerous inconsistency.

Currently, if an NBA player is found to have smoked marijuana, he has to enter a program upon his first offense, pay a $25,000 fine upon the second, and will receive an unpaid five-game suspension upon their third.

While the NBA's rules are strict for now, it's possible that as more players and coaches speak up, their rules will change. After all, studies have shown that medical marijuana can mitigate pain. Research from McGill University found that chronic pain patients who used cannabis experienced less discomfort and improved quality of life, and weed has potentially fewer serious side effects than prescription medication. This comparison is believed to be one of the reasons that sufferers of certain medical conditions are using fewer prescriptions and are opting for cannabis instead.