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  Mark Stepnoski Put a Lot on The Line
Posted by CN Staff on November 15, 2003 at 21:22:20 PT
By David Tarrant 
Source: Dallas Morning News  

NORML For the record, Mark Stepnoski says he is not moving to Vancouver because of pending legislation in the Canadian Parliament to decriminalize marijuana.

"If that's all I cared about then I could move to one of the states that have decriminalized marijuana," he says. He has a lot of friends there, he says, and "it's one of the best cities in the world."

He didn't say it, but a stint in the Great White North might also take some of the heat off after his year in the spotlight as president of the Texas Chapter of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. The group favors legalization of marijuana.

For most of his National Football League career, Mr. Stepnoski preferred to let his accomplishments do the talking. And they spoke loudly.

An All-American in high school and college, his 13 years in the NFL included five consecutive Pro Bowl appearances and a spot on the NFL's all-1990s second team. He started at center for two Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl championship teams, paving the way for two sure-bet Hall of Famers, quarterback Troy Aikman and the NFL's record-setting running back Emmitt Smith.

When Mr. Stepnoski retired from football last year, few people would have predicted anything other than his fading quietly and gratefully into private life at his home in west Plano.

But for the past year, he has spoken out in a way that could cause his hard-earned reputation to go up in smoke.

"I think the laws against marijuana use are hypocritical," he says, noting that marijuana is the third most-used recreational drug behind tobacco and alcohol.

"We've all known people who have used it. If that many people have tried it, maybe they aren't all criminals. Maybe it's just a bad law," he says.

A small force

At 36, Mr. Stepnoski still resembles the disciplined player who spent hours in the weight room. He was always one of the league's smallest linemen at 6 feet 2 inches and 265 pounds – a throwback to the 1970s before the days of 300-pound behemoths pounding away at each other.

Playing against much bigger defensive tackles, he made his reputation with his quickness, intelligence and determination.

The other feature that set him apart was his shoulder-length hair, parted in the middle – another '70s throwback and the only sign that he might have a maverick side.

On this autumn morning, his hair is still long as he sits at the kitchen table, sunlight streaming in through a large window looking out on the rolling greens of a posh golf course.

The west Plano neighborhood is the kind of wealthy, Republican community where one might find a professional athlete, but not a leading marijuana advocate. His two-story house is listed on property tax rolls for nearly $1 million.

Since buying the home a few years ago, Mr. Stepnoski has lived there with his girlfriend, Brandi Mollica. He met her in Houston when he played for the Oilers before the franchise moved to Tennessee.

A "For Sale" sign stands in his front lawn. But it's not a sign of defeat, he says. He's not being run out of town.

"Personally, I haven't heard from anyone who says I shouldn't be doing this. I know there are people who feel that way, who think I'm not being a good role model, but they don't feel compelled to tell me that."

He plans to move to Vancouver sometime soon but will remain involved to some extent with NORML, probably as a speaker, he says.

Mr. Aikman knows Mr. Stepnoski as well as any NFL player. As center, Mr. Stepnoski snapped the ball to Mr. Aikman and protected him from onrushing defensive lineman. He disagrees with Mr. Stepnoski, but the issue hasn't affected their friendship.

"Mark's one of my closest friends," says Mr. Aikman, while visiting players at the Cowboys' practice facility at Valley Ranch in Irving.

"As a teammate and a friend, he's always been there anytime I needed him," Mr. Aikman says. "I don't agree with what he's doing right now, and he respects my opinion on it."

Mr. Aikman, now on Fox's lead NFL broadcast team, says that when Mr. Stepnoski went public with his views on marijuana last year, "it came something as a surprise."

What didn't come as a surprise was Mr. Stepnoski's decision to stand up for his convictions.

"He's someone who is extremely intelligent. His positions are well thought out. If he believes in something, he stands up for it – that's one of the reasons he was a leader in our locker room."

Complete Title: Mark Stepnoski Put a Lot on The Line in Marijuana Effort

Snipped:

Complete Article: http://www.freedomtoexhale.com/stepnoski.htm

Newshawk: CorvallisEric
Source: Dallas Morning News (TX)
Author: David Tarrant, The Dallas Morning News
Published: Saturday, November 15, 2003
Copyright: 2003 The Dallas Morning News
Website: http://www.dallasnews.com/
Contact: letterstoeditor@dallasnews.com

Related Articles & Web Site:

NORML
http://www.norml.org/

Texas NORML
http://www.normltexas.org/

Don't Step On The Grass
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread17462.shtml

NFL Player Works To Change Marijuana Laws
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread16214.shtml

Why More Jocks Turn To Marijuana
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread16194.shtml


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Comment #12 posted by Nicholas Thimmesch on November 16, 2003 at 15:37:14 PT:

Mark's departure from the USA....
....is Canada's gain, our loss: too bad we could not get him to stay and run for Congress...especially as a Republican!

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #11 posted by CongressmanSuet on November 16, 2003 at 13:37:14 PT:

Bush and "alcohol abstinence"...
This grand liar tells us he quit drinking when he hit 40, and found God. Check out...

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #10 posted by JSM on November 16, 2003 at 11:03:34 PT
Jose
I completely agree with your post. And for an example, check out Dana Larsen's debate with Randy White (http://pottv.com/)on Doug Kooy's show. The point I want to make is this: If the Randy Whites and Doug Kooys of this world could wave a magic wand and make all marijuana use and demand disappear, just exactly what would happen to the Canadian economy? Inasmuch as the production, marketing, and sales of cannabis is one of the top 5 industries in Canada (check out this month's Forbes magazine) their already shaky economy could not bear the results - there would be a major depression, the current crop of politicans would all be looking for a job and we would see radical changes very quickly. There is nothing politicans and their corporate sponsors fear more than a serious depression. The economy has been overgrown and if Randy White and company refuse to recognize this reality, they will pay dearly.



[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #9 posted by E_Johnson on November 16, 2003 at 10:09:09 PT
The most telling section of all
"At 36, Mr. Stepnoski still resembles the disciplined player who spent hours in the weight room. He was always one of the league's smallest linemen at 6 feet 2 inches and 265 pounds ? a throwback to the 1970s before the days of 300-pound behemoths pounding away at each other.

Playing against much bigger defensive tackles, he made his reputation with his quickness, intelligence and determination.

The other feature that set him apart was his shoulder-length hair, parted in the middle ? another '70s throwback and the only sign that he might have a maverick side."

Quickness, intelligence, determination, not relying on ignorant brute strength from just being bigger than everyone else, long hair, marijuana -- all throwbacks to the seventies.

Things we've all discarded to move our society forward.



[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #8 posted by Jose Melendez on November 16, 2003 at 08:31:44 PT
harsh. true?
http://prorev.com/whydrugwar.htm

"The war on drugs is, in fact, a war to sustain the drug industry and its collateral beneficiaries. America's drug czar is also the country's biggest drug lord, because without his phony battle, the artificial economy of prohibition would collapse and with it the industry he falsely claims to be fighting.

While clearly, many of the drug warriors in politics and the law are driven by myopic, infantile evangelism, we must bear in mind that for many others, fighting drugs is as much as business as dealing them, a cash business never reported to the IRS. It is long past time to discover who amongst our leaders are merely stupid and who are themselves drug war criminals."

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #7 posted by WolfgangWylde on November 16, 2003 at 08:29:03 PT
Well, I know what the Drug Warriors...
...I debate on the web will say: "Good riddance, pothead!" I hear it all the time. They hope we'll all move to Canada. Any way you look at it, Mr. Stepnoski is cutting and running. Not that I blame him. If I had the financial independence to move to Vancouver, I would to.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #6 posted by Treeanna on November 16, 2003 at 07:39:11 PT
Dr. Tod Strikes Back!
Hey! Go read this lawsuit Dr. Mikuriya filed ;b

http://www.mikuriya.com/tm_v_mbc_injunc.html

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #5 posted by Sam Adams on November 16, 2003 at 07:28:52 PT
Telling picture
So here's a guy who making a sacrifice to stand up for what he believes in, to be honest, to have integrity. And, according to this paper, he should feel lucky that he's not being accosted regularly by friends and acquaintances, and he should feel damn lucky he's not being run right out of town! Welcome to America - conform to the sacred hypocrisy, greed, and lying, or LEAVE!

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #4 posted by Jose Melendez on November 16, 2003 at 05:33:41 PT
Bush One Sucked One Up After 1992 Anti-Drug Speech
from:

http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu/papers/1992/92022603.html

So, let us renew our resolve. Let us strengthen our commitment to guarantee all people drug-free communities. And as we work to advance the quality of life in our own hemisphere in so many ways, let us win a lasting victory in the war against drugs.

And once again, a warm welcome to San Antonio, Texas. And may God bless you and all the peoples of the Americas. And may I raise a glass in honor of our distinguished guests and the important mission that all of us share.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #3 posted by John Tyler on November 16, 2003 at 05:30:01 PT
a word of caution
I just read in my local paper this morning that Paul Martin, the next Prime Minister of Canada, says that he is planning to really "suck up" to the Bush Administration. A word of caution to our Canadian readers as changes may be instore.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #2 posted by CorvallisEric on November 16, 2003 at 01:59:34 PT
Answer?
Quoting: He plans to move to Vancouver sometime soon but will remain involved to some extent with NORML, probably as a speaker, he says.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #1 posted by FoM on November 15, 2003 at 22:18:46 PT
Question
I read the article but I can't figure out if Mark Stepnoski is moving to Canada or staying in Texas. If he goes to Canada will he still be president of Texas NORML?

[ Post Comment ]

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