Consider the typical realities of college life, including peer pressure, experimentation and free time, and add the atypical challenges of being a college football player, such as pain and a stressful workload, and marijuana’s prevalence is anything but surprising. “Let’s be honest,” says Fenuki Tupou, an Oregon alum now with the Saints. “When you’re bored, it’s not like you’re going to read a book.”
Tupou says he never smoked, and it’s not as if other players blaze at the corner of 13th and Kincaid. At Oregon, there is a long tradition of players policing themselves. Several Ducks reference a “code” followed by teammates who handle weed-related matters in-house on a case-to-case basis. “Some guys who use marijuana go out and ball because they’re relaxed,” says former QB Akili Smith, “but if it affects his play, you sit him down and tell him, ‘Yo, it’s not for you.’?” Today, that code still stands. “If you’re not hurting the team, everyone’s cool with it,” says a current Ducks player.