After netting an incredible free-kick and setting up teammates for two other goals in a 3-0 victory over Colombia on Tuesday in San Juan, superstar forward Lionel Messi informed the gathered press that his Argentinian National team would no longer be speaking with the media going forward.
According to Messi, the press boycott is a direct result of an Argentine radio host’s claim on Twitter that fellow teammate Ezequiel Lavezzi had smoked cannabis while at the team’s training facility.
Argentina’s National team team has come under heavy criticism lately for their performance on the pitch, but the perennial power’s biggest star finally had enough when the stories got personal.
“We have made the decision not to talk to the press anymore, obviously you know why,” Argentina’s captain Messi explained while the entire team stood behind him in solidarity. “There were a lot of accusations, a lot of disrespect, and the accusations they made against ‘Pocho’ (Lavezzi) are very serious.”
As waves of marijuana reform wash away decades of unnecessary cannabis prohibition worldwide, it remains to be seen how evolving laws and public opinion will affect marijuana’s place in certain occupational sectors — including sports.
Argentina’s Supreme Court decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana in 2009, and public consumption is often met with a blind-eye by law enforcement. Lavezzi’s trial in the court of public opinion is unnecessary, as athletes should absolutely be allowed to use cannabis to treat pain, stress, or anxiety — especially when their local marijuana laws are in agreement.
The World Anti-Doping Agency, a collective started in part by the International Olympic Committee, oversees the drug testing for the World Cup. WADA has fairly liberal views toward marijuana, in particular when compared with more restrictive organizations like the NFL. For example, Olympians aren’t even tested while training; athletes are only subject to the WADA regulations while competing.
So, if WADA or the player’s country of residence don’t care if athletes use cannabis therapeutically while training — why does the media? That’s what Lionel Messi (and the rest of us) want to know.
“We know that most of you guys don’t play that game of disrespect. We can be criticized if we lose, or win, or if we play well or badly. But this is getting into personal lives,” Messi told the reporters. “If we don’t put a stop to it now, we’ll never stop it.”
For his part, Lavezzi has vehemently denied that he smoked while at the training facility, and plans to file a lawsuit against the radio personality. Lavezzi stated he is suing the journalist for “…false statements against me and the serious damage that have generated to my family and in my work.”
On behalf of soccer and marijuana fans alike, we hope Lavezzi wins the lawsuit and spends the fortune on mucha chala in preparation for the 2018 World Cup.