Eugene Monroe, an offensive tackle with the Baltimore Ravens, has been released by the organization, just months after advocating for medical marijuana therapy for NFL players, the New York Times reports.
Last month, Monroe donated $80,000 to Johns Hopkins University and the University of Pennsylvania for medical cannabis research.
“I can’t say for sure whether or not my stance on medical cannabis was the reason the Ravens released me,” Monroe said in the report. “However, as I’ve said in the past, they have distanced themselves from me and made it clear that they do not support my advocacy.”
Monroe was the first active player to call on the league to remove marijuana from its banned substances list and to fund medical marijuana research, especially as its potential use as a chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) treatment.
“The NFL relies heavily on opioids to get players back on the field as soon as possible, but studies have shown medical marijuana to be a much better solution; it is safer, less addictive and can even reduce opioid dependence,” he wrote in an essay for the Players’ Tribune. “Some studies have also shown that cannabidiol (CBD) — one of the more than 100 cannabinoids found in marijuana — may function as a neuroprotectant, which means it can shield the cells in the brain from injury or degeneration. We need to learn more about this.”
In a statement released this morning, Monroe said, “Despite the current uncertainties, one thing is for sure: whatever happens in terms of my professional football career, I will never stop pushing for the League to accept medical cannabis as a viable option for pain management.”
According to the Times report, Monroe acknowledged he has had injury issues during his NFL tenure and ESPN indicated that the Ravens were in talks with the New York Giants to acquire the 29-year-old, but the deal never materialized.
Monroe was the eighth overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2009 following a college career for Virginia during which he was a Unanimous All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection. He is now a free agent.