Denver Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway shakes hands with Broncos first round draft pick Shane Ray at Dove Valley on May 1, 2015. (Andy Cross, The Denver Post)

Kickin’ it with Kiz: Marijuana has become part of the NFL’s culture

Kickin’ it with Kiz is a regular feature in which Denver Post sports columnist Mark Kiszla responds to readers’ letters.

Fails the eye test. I can see it now: Instead of the ice bath, the Broncos can pass around the bong after a game. You evidently don’t mind your bus driver being a stoner or the guy handling your money smoking marijuana. What about the guy who wrenches on your airplane (my career for 29 years)? I grew up in the 1970s and know a stoner when I see one. Broncos draft pick Shane Ray is not a casual user. Maybe instead of trying to justify Denver trading up for Ray, you could have set an example for a young man who clearly needs help with responsibility.

Dave, Elizabeth

Kiz: Unless marijuana can be considered a performance-enhancing drug, it makes little sense to me that the NFL tests for it. Like it or not, the cold tub and weed are both part of the league’s culture. As former NFL safety Ryan Clark told ESPN in February: “I know guys on my team who smoke. … Guys look at this as a more natural way to heal themselves, to stress relieve and also medicate themselves for pain.”

Unsocial. Colorado, my home state, has become completely fouled up. People like you have been at the forefront of the idiocy. Marijuana should be illegal. And you should be opining about sports, not social issues. It’s quite clear your opinion on social issues is uneducated and probably self-serving. Take a hike in the beautiful Rocky Mountains, Kiz, and get lost … permanently.

Kevin, fresh-air lover

Kiz: There is a martini shaker at Kickin’ It headquarters, but no pipe. I don’t smoke. I respect your opposition to marijuana, but also humbly suggest a more severe problem in the NFL than weed is painkillers such as Vicodin and Toradol that keep injured players on the field.

Make it clear. Here’s some clarification on the Ray case from a retired cop who made a few drug arrests in my day. Possession of less than 35 grams of marijuana is a misdemeanor criminal charge. Ray could have actually possessed as little as 1.5 grams and been charged with a less than 35.

Mark, always on the case

Kiz: It’s an important distinction between the cops finding enough weed in the car for three joints or a big party. My bad for not making that distinction clear. According to a report in The Kansas City Star, an officer for the Missouri State Highway Patrol found a small amount of marijuana in a compartment of Ray’s vehicle after pulling him over early Monday morning.

Bad pick. And today’s parting shot is from a disgruntled Broncomaniac still irritated that the Broncos took quarterback Brock Osweiler in the 2012 NFL draft.

Was Elway high when drafting Brock?

R.D., via Twitter

Mark Kiszla: or

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