Five billboards highlighting the hypocrisy of the National Football League’s marijuana policy were launched Tuesday in locations surrounding MetLife Stadium, where the Super Bowl is scheduled to be played Sunday. Images of the billboards, which were paid for by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), can be viewed and downloaded at mpp.org/SuperBowl.
Two 60-foot-wide digital billboards feature images of football players and read: “Marijuana is less harmful to our bodies than alcohol. Why does the league punish us for making the safer choice?” The color schemes of the ads reflect the teams competing in this year’s Super Bowl, both of which hail from states that have legalized marijuana for adults.
“Marijuana is less toxic, less addictive, and less harmful to the body than alcohol,” said MPP Director of Communications Mason Tvert. “Why would the NFL want to steer its players toward drinking and away from making the safer choice to use marijuana instead? If it is okay for athletes to douse each other with champagne in front of the cameras, it should be okay for them to use marijuana privately in their homes.”
Two additional 60-foot-wide digital billboards highlight the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol and playing professional football. One features an unconscious man holding a bottle laying on the ground next to an injured football player, accompanied by the text: “Marijuana: Safer than alcohol … and football.” The other features a mug of beer, a cracked football helmet, and a marijuana leaf below the words “Beer,” “Football,” and “Safer,” respectively.
“Taking a big hit of marijuana poses less potential harm than taking a big hit from an NFL linebacker or a big shot of tequila,” Tvert said. “Whether it’s a concussion or a hangover, it’s a sign that you’ve done more harm to your brain than marijuana could ever do.”
The fifth billboard resembles a scoreboard and shows that the number of marijuana arrests in the U.S. each year is nearly equal to the total attendance of the last 10 Super Bowls combined. There were 749,824 arrests for marijuana-related offenses in 2012, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and 751,203 total attendees at Super Bowls XXXVIII through XLVII, according to SportingCharts.com.
The billboards are located on I-78 near the New Jersey Turnpike toll plaza in Newark; on I-495 leading to the Lincoln Tunnel west of Routes 1 and 9 in North Bergen; on I-80 east off the turnpike in Teaneck; and two are located on the Garden State Parkway near the Raritan toll plaza north of Sayreville.
MPP also launched a Change.org petition directed at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, calling on the NFL to change its marijuana policy — see. The organization will deliver the petition — which has received more than 12,000 signatures — to the league on Wednesday following a media availability at 10:00 a.m. ET in front of NFL Headquarters (345 Park Avenue, New York City).
“Most Americans think marijuana should be legal, and laws around the country are beginning to reflect that,” Tvert said. “The NFL needs to catch up with the times. It is no longer necessary or popular to punish adults simply for using marijuana.”
WHAT: Media availability and delivery of petition to NFL executives, calling on the league to stop punishing players for using marijuana
WHEN: Wednesday, January 29, 10:00 a.m. ET
WHERE: In front of NFL Headquarters, 345 Park Avenue, New York City
WHO: Mason Tvert, Marijuana Policy Project director of communications