DALLAS - He’s gone in a puff of smoke… which is fitting for Dallas Cowboys player David Irving. That’s what got him in so much trouble.
Irving announced his surprise departure in dramatic fashion. He went live on Instagram late Thursday while smoking marijuana and talking about how he disagrees with the NFL’s policy on the substance.
The Cowboys defensive lineman was suspended indefinitely on March 1. The NFL said he violated its drug policy three times. Irving hadn’t commented on the suspension until Thursday night when he took to social media.
He started off the Instagram live video by saying, “Basically guys, I quit.” While smoking marijuana, he referred to it as medicine and said he’s not a fan of the league’s current rules on the substance.
“We got this opioid thing going on and I’m prescribed all that bulls*** and I just think its bull**** with that, you know, we got to deal with that policy,” Irving said.
The NFL’s current drug policy tests for marijuana use -- unlike the NBA, NHL or Major League Baseball.
“Like I said, it ain’t about smoking weed. How many NBA players do you see getting in trouble about this? How many coaches do you see getting in trouble about this? How many baseball players getting in trouble? How many UFC players getting in trouble? How many actors? Not many but you do see us football players,” Irving said.
Before Thursday night, Irving was set to become an NFL free agent next week.
Reactions on local sports radio was mostly harsh on Irving for giving up on his pro career.
“If you wanna go out there and just smoke ‘till you can’t smoke anymore that’s on you, do what you gotta do. I guess my point is you’re not wasting anyone’s time anymore,” said 1310 The Ticket’s Donovan Lewis.
Walter Musgrove, a Dallas attorney, also represents pro athletes as an agent.
“I think at this point what every NFL player has to understand is the NFL has made the rules and you have to abide by it,” he said.
The NFL Players Association may try to bargain with owners for modern marijuana rules when the current collective bargaining agreement expires in a few years. Many teams play in states and cities where recreational use is now legal.
But Irving made a decision that may be hard to reverse.
“He's made it clear that he's choosing, at this point, that marijuana over a career,” Musgrove said.
Still, the idea that the NFL could change its stance on marijuana policy is legitimate.
ProFootballTalk reports "the NFL is prepared to make major concessions regarding the substance-abuse policy, especially as it relates to marijuana" during the next collective bargaining agreement negotiations.
Daniel Wallach is a sports law attorney. He believes the NFL will change its policies but not immediately.
“I believe it’s going to be on the table for the next round of CBA negotiations,” he said. “You typically see agreements with the other sports leagues, like the NBA and MLB, they will find an accommodation during the middle of an agreement. They won't wait until the end. I'm less confident that the NFL and its player association will find common ground without the pressure of a deal expiring or without the player association giving up something marginal in return.”
The current collective bargaining agreement expires at the end of the 2020 season.
The Cowboys did not comment on Irving’s video.