[NFL] Travis Henry, All-American

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Travis Henry, All-American

Posted Oct 8th 2007 11:48AM by Josh Alper

Filed under: Broncos, AFC West, Denver, Pressing Issues

Most observers would say that Travis Henry has been an embarrassment to the Denver Broncos since he joined the team before this season. Whether it's the fact that he's been forced to establish a $250,000 trust fund for the nine children he's fathered with nine women in four different states or the failed drug test that leaves a guillotine hanging over his head, he's clearly brought more trouble than you'd like from a running back who isn't helping the team win games.

None of the above seems to make him a poster boy for all that's wrong with the NFL but Mark Kiszla is using him in that role for a column in today's Denver Post. Kiszla starts by arguing that the team should part ways with Henry before the season goes to pot, hardy har, but his biggest problem seems to be with the sanctimony of a league that punishes a player for smoking a joint when there are other problems with the league.

It seems obvious there's something sticky and icky in the image- conscious NFL when lighting a joint could cost a player his job, but irresponsible, unprotected sex is no big deal.

"It's a far more egregious offense to not pay child support than to use marijuana," said Mason Tvert, executive director of SAFER, a local group that works to decriminalize marijuana. "This only goes to show you the skewed priorities of a league that says it's concerned about character issues."

Kiszla, Tvert, you and I might believe that there's nothing wrong with using marijuana but that doesn't change the fact that it violates both criminal and league law. Henry knew that he wasn't allowed to smoke pot and that a failed test would lead to a suspension so the larger issues surrounding the case aren't all that relevant to the discussion. We also might find it reprehensible to father children all over the country but that doesn't run afoul of the law, whether we like it or not. The legal sexual proclivities of players seems to fall well outside the purview of Roger Goodell and the league office, as well they should.

In a league in which beer is pushed from the instant spectators enter the stadium gates, at a time when the real drug threats to the NFL's integrity are human growth hormone and designer steroids, I shared a laugh with Henry months ago about a league that seems obsessed with stamping out weed.

"Marijuana is not a performance-enhancing drug when it comes to being an athlete. If it was, that would run counter to all the stereotypes about how marijuana makes you lazy and a stoner and unable to accomplish anything," Tvert said.

The NFL thinks Henry smokes dope. After losing three straight games with the Broncos, could anyone blame him?

Henry can tote that rock. And maybe it's none of our business what he does behind closed doors.

Maybe it isn't but that holds just as true for the irresponsible, unprotected sex Kiszla decried earlier in his piece. The NFL's see-no-evil policy when it comes to HGH and other PEDs is lamentable but, again, it doesn't really matter that weed isn't a performance enhancer because it's illegal.

The hypocrisy of the NFL and the country when it comes to alcohol and tobacco, for that matter, vs. marijuana is a story best discussed in another place because it has absolutely nothing to do with Travis Henry and the Denver Broncos. What is relevant is that the Broncos are reeling and it looks like they will be without their starting tailback for some portion of the season and will have him as a distraction at the least. And for that Henry only has himself to blame.


Between him and Carnell "Cadillac" Williams (out for season), my fantasy draft pics aren't looking so great right now.

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You actually picked up Travis Henry in your draft? I'm sorry, but with his history, he can't be a consistent provider on any fantasy team. As for the article, it definitely provides an alternative viewpoint to the current drug policy in the NFL.

I knew he had a good number of kids, but from 9 different women? Cot damn!

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Pot is illegal, having a brood of kids is not. That is why it is a league no-no, not because of moral issues.

We have courtrooms to administer justice though so why is the league adding their two cents?

I can see legislating moral issues that could negatively affect the reputation of the league but simply mirroring the courts is a bit silly.

In terms of morality, I would wager that most people would find fathering 9 kids with 9 women and having to be forced into paying child support is far, far, far worse that someone who smokes a joint every once in a while. It clearly is not a performance-enhancing drug. Morally it is a minor, minor issue.

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