Marvin Washington & Boo Williams Tackle The NFL “Drug Free Sports” Policy on Debut of “The 5th Quarter”

By David Rheins

It is a tipping point moment for the movement to mainstream marijuana when two former NFL players team up to host a talk show dedicated to educating the world about cannabis.  The 5th Quarter, starring former NFL Super Bowl Champion Marvin Washington and co-host former New Orleans Saint “Boo” Williams, kicked off its inaugural episode this past Thanksgiving on Cannected.TV, a new streaming app available on AppleTV, GooglePlay, ROKU and other OTT platforms.

The series, which features candid conversations with nurses, doctors, attorneys, and professional athletes exploring the many intersections of cannabis and sports – think ESPN with a canna focus – is designed to appeal to mainstream viewers, football fans and the canna-curious.


The 5th Quarter is a hit.  Marv Washington is a natural as host.  He has a calm demeanor that exudes both credibility and empathy.  And co-host Boo Williams reveals a vulnerable side of himself that makes his story extremely compelling.  I thoroughly enjoyed The 5th Quarter, and look forward to catching Episode Two.


Episode One sets the serious tone, as the former New Orleans tight end Williams sharing his personal journey from professional football player to outspoken cannabis advocate.  Revealing his struggles – first how to keep his mind and body in the tiptop shape necessary to compete in the grueling football league, and later how to redefine himself after that professional sports career ended, Williams tells a powerful tale of struggling to manage physical injuries – both body and brain injuries including Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) – and his emotional and spiritual road to recovery that included cannabis.

There are headlines and news made in Episode One, as the two former players pull back the curtain to reveal the NFL policy for treating player injuries – and how a regimen of pain blockers and anti-inflammatory drugs is dispensed to players not just on game days but during practices as well.  “It’s a seven day a week, 17-week routine,” Washington explains. “And we didn’t know about alternatives.  And one of the best alternatives is cannabis.”

While the official League policy forces all players to take pharmaceuticals, most NFL players choose to self-medicate after hours with marijuana.  “When I would leave practice,” Williams shared, “I would have a joint rolled up waiting for me in the ashtray.  Because most of us need something to decompress – to slow the brain down and live a normal life. Cannabis was our way of living a normal life in a fantasy land.”

League-wide, the two co-hosts estimated that between 50 and 70% of all NFL players use cannabis regularly to decompress, for stress and pain relief, despite a league ban.  “The majority of the NFL uses cannabis,” Mr. Williams frankly declared.

How is it possible that 70 percent of players are using cannabis when the NFL has a “Drug Free Sports” program?  “We all knew that once a year you would get tested by the NFL,” Williams explained. “So, we knew to be clean around fall practice or spring practice. And if you got tested during those days, that would be the only days that you would get tested. All you had to do was be clean during those days, and hey, you could use cannabis the rest of the year.”

The 5th Quarter is a hit.  Marv Washington is a natural as host.  He has a calm demeanor that exudes both credibility and empathy.  And co-host Boo Williams reveals a vulnerable side of himself that makes his story extremely compelling.  I thoroughly enjoyed The 5th Quarter, and look forward to catching Episode Two.