I have a theory. I don’t think we really care if athletes smoke marijuana, per se, we’re just mad that a) they’re doing something that we aren’t legally supposed to do and b) we like getting one up on people we’re inherently jealous of. Because let’s face it, we’re jealous of athletes. But we’ll touch on that later. First, let’s explore the issue of legality.
We aren’t allowed to smoke pot. The government says so. It’s illegal. So when we see or hear of someone smoking pot, we get slightly upset. Not because that person is toking up, but because they’re doing something that we cannot legally do. We hate it when other people do things we can’t do, especially when it comes to the letter of the law. It’s probably humanity’s biggest pet peeve. Like for instance when we witness a solo driver cruising down the carpool lane during rush hour, we get angry. Here we are sitting in traffic behind a beat-up Geo Metro with the “If you can read this, you’re following too close” license plate frame and about 67 bumper stickers supporting millions of stupid causes that we’ve come to hate in the time we’ve been behind this slow-moving bastard driver and we are incensed. We want to be in the carpool lane like the jerkoff that just passed us, but we fear the inevitable cop car that looms right around the next bend in the road, waiting to pull us over as soon as we make the merge to the Dark Side.
As individuals, each of us may or may not want to smoke pot. That has no bearing on the point, though. The point is, whether we have a desire to smoke pot or not (and personally, I’ll admit, I do not), we crave the freedom to do things we aren’t supposed to do without our moral standards or the arm of the law coming into play. We see guys like Michael Phelps sucking on a bong and we get upset because he can’t do that! It’s our inner tattletale coming out. If I can’t do it, and we can’t do it, then these athletes are certainly no exception. No one can do it. I can’t, you can’t, we can’t. It’s only fair.
Then there’s the whole jealousy issue. We’re jealous of many things, none moreso than celebrities, including athletes. Most celebrities are good looking, wealthy, and live a lifestyle we can only dream of. We hate that. Which is why we take every chance we can possibly get to break them down. I once sat next to a fat girl during a lunch break at work who opened up a People Magazine and began hating on nearly every single actress that graced the pages before her. I thought, how can this ugly fat chick honestly say that Katherine Heigl is not attractive? What’s wrong with this beyotch? Here she is with her Lean Cuisine and her Diet Coke, thinking she’s pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes when we all know she’s sneaking Twinkies and cheeseburgers on her way home from work. Let me tell you something woman, I know that the lightly seasoned broccoli you’re eating right now didn’t put those 200 some odd pounds on that beefy frame of yours. There ain’t no way those belly rolls just showed up one day, after years of pounding the sugarless, tasteless, calorie-free diet crap cola. You aren’t fooling anyone, so why pick on famous people? Jealousy, that’s why. We pick on the people who have it all because it is all we can do to bring celebrities down to our level. It’s an underhanded tactic, but we love to use it.
Which is why we catch wind of a potsmoking athlete–pick one, Ricky Williams, Josh Howard, Leroy Hill, the list goes on for days–and we freak out. We get excited. This is our chance to tear down a paper hero! This is our chance to make them one of us! Using this newfound knowledge, we can destroy them! We cream over it. Forget the fact that they’re smoking a blunt, we just want to see them eff up any which way they can. The weed is merely an accomplice to the bigger crime: celebrity flub.
No matter our true feelings, we’ll always just say we “don’t condone the use of marijuana” when we all know that’s not true. We don’t care if athletes smoke marijuana. Hell, we simply laugh it off when people we know are openly using pot because, after all, it doesn’t really bother us. We just want to get our potshots in (pun intended), take the famous people down a notch, and let the rest of the world know that if we can’t do it, no one can.