Tiki Barber was never suspended for marijuana use during his 10-year NFL career, nor does the former New York Giants running back admit to using the drug now.
But as part of an investment firm launched late in 2018, Barber, who is one of the hosts of "Tiki and Tierney" on CBS Sports Radio and CBS Sports Network from 3-6 p.m. ET on weekdays, is aiming to combat the way the NFL punishes those who do use cannabis.
As reported by FOX Business, the 43-year-old former Pro Bowler "plans to back young marijuana and cannabis startups" as co-founder of Grove Group Management, a company that's already "signed on many small business owners" in an effort to collectively overcome evolving regulations on marijuana business. And one of his chief motivations, per Jade Scipioni, appears to be the way the NFL has punished infamous pot users like Josh Gordon, Martavis Bryant and Randy Gregory.
"We've seen the punitive nature with which the NFL attacks users of cannabis," Barber told FOX Business, "and I believe a lot of these guys are just self-medicating. They don't want to be caught in the opioid addiction crisis that has affected a lot of former players because of the constant damage to your knees and your joints, and that's not even to mentioning the head trauma."
Reports from this offseason have indicated the league could soon revise its substance abuse policy, but for now, four-game suspensions are typically issued to first-time offenders, with yearlong and indefinite bans issued to repeat offenders.
In promoting the marijuana businesses, Barber has also shed light on the NFL's drug tests, telling FOX Business that, during his playing days, it wasn't difficult to pass random tests -- even if the NFL was aware of drug use.
"We always used to call it, like, the 'dummy test,' because you know when the test is going to happen, so just be clean and as long as you're not in the (substance abuse) program, you can probably get away with it," Barber said, "even if they technically know that it's happening."