New England Patriots player Chandler Jones made what he called a “pretty stupid mistake” this weekend, resulting in a hospitalization and a scandal off the field. The defensive end had a bad reaction to a substance he put into his body, which the The Boston Globe reportedwas synthetic marijuana. Jones has not admitted to using the chemical compound and has not been charged with any crime. Though Jones will most likely not see any punishment over this incident, Boston’s Mayor (and known anti-drug crusader) Marty Walsh is concerned about the message Chandler is putting forward if he gets on the field tomorrow night.
“It’s definitely sending the wrong message to kids,” Walsh told Boston Public Radio host Jim Braude during his monthly Ask The Mayor segment.
At the beginning of the interview, Walsh said he believed that the substance was legal. "I think the hard part with that case is that he used synthetic marijuana," Walsh said. "I know what he had was legal, I think. They’re selling it in stores in Dorchester, so he’s not taking an illegal drug. I think if he smoked marijuana and got caught, he’d be suspended."
"But he is taking a drug," Braude responded.
“I think that any time you’re an athlete, or any time that you’re in a high-profile position, an elected official, I know your life is your life, on the private side," Walsh said, "but unfortunately, people look at you differently.”
Braude prompted Walsh further, “so would you prefer he not play, based upon that?”
Walsh responded, “I don’t know if they have the right rules. Let’s assume it was something different, if he was taking a different drug, he shouldn’t be playing tomorrow.”
It's definitely sending the wrong message to kids
Minutes later, Braude informed Walsh that even if Jones had been using synthetic marijuana, the substance is illegal in the state. A 2014 law prohibits the use of synthetic marijuana in Massachusetts, “including “K-2” or "Spice", any form of cannabis, including synthetic compounds or structures that are molecularly similar to cannabis.”
According to the NFL’s substance abuse policy, players must be criminally charged to be eligible for punishment for using illegal substances, and synthetic marijuana is not included on the NFL’s official banned substances list.
To hear Mayor Marty Walsh’s interview with Boston Public Radio, click on the audio link above.