Randy Gregory sues NFL, Broncos over fines for THC use

Yahoo News

The NFL has largely abandoned the notion of suspending players for marijuana. However, they can still be fined. And one player is pushing back against more than $500,000 in fines that have been imposed on him.

Via Justin Wingerter of BusinessDen, former Broncos defensive end Randy Gregory has sued both the league and the team under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act. The argument is that Gregory needs THC to treat social-anxiety disorder and PTSD, and that he nevertheless has been fined more than $500,000 after testing positive for it.

“Mr. Gregory requested an accommodation from the NFL and Broncos to consume Dronabinol to treat his disabilities,” the civil complaint alleges. “Specifically, Mr. Gregory sought to consume Dronabinol,  which is synthetic cannabis, at the direction of his treating physician during non-work hours. The NFL and the Broncos denied his request noting that THC is a federally controlled substance. Since requesting an accommodation, Mr. Gregory has paid $532,500 in penalties to the NFL for consuming THC to treat his disabilities. Regardless of a positive test, Mr. Gregory is expected to play in every game, attend practice, attend media sessions, and fulfil his job responsibilities. In other words, he cannot be suspended for a positive test alone. Significantly, the NFL and the Broncos profited from Mr. Gregory’s continued employment.”

It’s an interesting argument. Gregory is required to work while also not receiving full pay for the work he’s performing.

The situation dates back to March 2023. Gregory allegedly attempted to get an accommodation from the team and the league, but his requests were denied. The fines have been imposed from March 6, 2023, through the filing of the complaint on June 5, 2024.

Although the league does the fining, Gregory contends that the Broncos — as his employer — had a duty to accommodate his disabilities. And he makes a good point; teams can’t just hide behind league rules if those rules result in teams breaking state or local law.

The bigger question is whether Gregory has the power to bring the lawsuit in court. The NFL and the Broncos surely will argue that the case should be resolved under the procedures set for in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

While not the same secret, rigged, kangaroo court that the NFL uses for non-union employees, it’s still not nearly as favorable to the individual as open court proceedings can be, depending on the judge and the jurisdiction.

Gregory was traded to the 49ers during the 2023 regular season, and he currently is on the Buccaneers’ roster. Neither team is a defendant to the lawsuit.


Primary Sponsor

Get Connected

Karma Koala Podcast

Top Marijuana Blog