Pot-free Vikings WR Percy Harvin sidelined with migraine headache

Vikings rookie wide receiver Percy Harvin missed practice yesterday and today because of migraines. A long-time migraine sufferer, Harvin missed a game earlier this season due to a headache so severe he couldn't get out of bed.

There were two off-the-field concerns about the Harvin as the NFL draft approached last year: 1) He'd suffered chronic migraines since middle school (he missed two games during his sophomore year at Florida because of the ailment), and 2) He was a fairly regular pot smoker.

Amazingly, no beat reporter ever asked Harvin if (2) had anything to do with (1). Rather, Harvin's alleged transgression was framed as a harbinger of "character" issues, the implication being that his propensity for pot would align Harvin with the Devil, or worse, Ricky Williams. (Plus, the image of an admitted pothead effortlessly clowning a field of defenders might send the wrong message to beer-guzzling NFL fans). The bad rep consequently depreciated his value, which is why Harvin fell into the Vikings' lap at the 22nd pick-- a pretty lowly position for a guy who went on to take NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.

To suggest Harvin's past pot use has anything with his migraines is pure speculation at this point. But certainly he wouldn't be the first migraine-sufferer to self-medicate with THC-- he wouldn't even the first athlete to admit as much. When Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was busted for pot in 1998, the NBA Hall of Famer told the BBC that he toked in order "to control the nausea which comes with the headaches."

There's plenty of science that supports the claim. Marijuana's mitigating effects on headaches have long been noted by doctors.

"Not only are there thousands of migraine patients who benefit from cannabis," Dr. David L. Bearman wrote in the Los Angeles City Beat in '05, "but cannabis has been cited by such historical medical luminaries as Sir William Osler, M.D. (considered the father of modern medicine) and Dr. Morris Fishbein as the best treatment for migraines."

If Harvin gets busted by the police, that's one thing, but the NFL and Minnesota Vikings should leave Percy be. Preemptively meddling in his personal life isn't worth the headache.

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