Randy Gregory

Ex-49ers LB Gregory sues NFL, Broncos over fines for THC use

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A former 49ers pass rusher filed a lawsuit against the NFL and the Denver Broncos. 

Randy Gregory, who played with San Francisco during the 2023 NFL season after being acquired from the Broncos, sued the league and Denver on Wednesday under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act. 

The 31-year-old’s lawsuit comes after being fined over $500,000 for THC use since March 2023. In his civil complaint, Gregory’s representatives argue that the current Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker needs THC to treat social anxiety disorder and PTSD.  

“Mr. Gregory requested an accommodation from the NFL and Broncos to consume Dronabinol to treat his disabilities,” the civil complaint states. “Specifically, Mr. Gregory sought to consume Dronabinol, which is synthetic cannabis, at the direction of his treating physician during non-work hours. The NFL and the Broncos denied his request noting that THC is a federally controlled substance.

"Since requesting an accommodation, Mr. Gregory has paid $532,500 in penalties to the NFL for consuming THC to treat his disabilities. Regardless of a positive test, Mr. Gregory is expected to play in every game, attend practice, attend media sessions, and fulfil his job responsibilities. In other words, he cannot be suspended for a positive test alone. Significantly, the NFL and the Broncos profited from Mr. Gregory’s continued employment.”

Currently, the NFL doesn’t suspend players for THC use, but as a banned substance, players who test positive are subject to fines. 

The defender, who recorded 11 total tackles and 2.5 sacks in 12 appearances with San Francisco, had his permission request to use Dronabinol denied by the NFL and the Broncos, resulting in Gregory not receiving full pay despite having to work. 

Gregory, who featured in all three of the 49ers' 2024 postseason games, is seeking damages “including, but not limited to, repayment of the monetary fines that Mr. Gregory was required to pay including interest to the fullest extent permitted by law in an amount to be determined at trial,” per the lawsuit. 

San Francisco is not a defendant in the lawsuit.

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