While the debate about the pros and cons of marijuana use in the sports world heats up, the use of pot by athletes has made headlines for decades. Here are a few high-profile athletes who have been tied to marijuana use.
Von Miller: The Broncos linebacker tested positive for marijuana in 2011 as a rookie, according to documents obtained by The Denver Post. This year, the NFL suspended Miller for six games. The suspension was increased from the original four games because the NFL believed Miller tried to cheat the drug- testing system by working with a specimen collector who accepted a fraudulent sample.
“I don’t have a substance-abuse problem,” Miller said when the penalty was announced. “I feel like I’ve definitely made some mistakes in the past. I can’t shy away from that. But I’m working hard to fix it. I’m working hard to gain everybody’s trust back.”
Carmelo Anthony: In October 2004, while a member of the Nuggets, the star forward was cited for marijuana possession while boarding the team plane at Denver International Airport. Anthony, only 20 years old at the time, said marijuana was left in his backpack by a friend who borrowed the backpack. Anthony was charged with possessing less than 1 ounce of marijuana, a petty offense at the time, with a maximum $100 fine and no jail time.
Michael Phelps: The Olympic swimming champion, who won a record eight gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, made a public apology in February 2009 after a photo in a British newspaper showed him inhaling from a marijuana pipe.
“I engaged in behavior which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment,” Phelps said in the statement. “For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public it will not happen again.”
Tim Lincecum: In October 2009, the San Francisco Giants pitcher who won the National League Cy Young Award in 2008 and 2009 was stopped for speeding and marijuana possession and use of drug paraphernalia in Washington state. Lincecum, 25 at the time, was released after being fined $622.
Ricky Williams: The running back tested positive for marijuana multiple times during his 11-year NFL career, yet he remains an advocate of the drug. He made news in October when he told the website Campus Insiders: “I don’t agree that (pot) was an Achilles’ heel. I kind of think it was more like spinach for Popeye.” According to former Miami Dolphins teammate Channing Crowder, Williams smoked pot before games, including a game against Buffalo on Dec. 1, 2002, when Williams rushed for 228 yards. Williams said he used marijuana to help with his social anxiety disorder.
Nate Newton: During his 14 seasons as a star offensive lineman with the Dallas Cowboys, Newton was selected to six Pro Bowls. In November 2001, he was arrested for hauling 213 pounds of marijuana through Louisiana. While out on bail six weeks later, Newton was busted again for ferrying another 175 pounds of pot in the trunk of his car.