NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell thinks marijuana is “addictive” and generally bad for football players, and won’t change his stance until his advisers prove that it’s medically beneficial.
Goodell wouldn’t budge when questioned on ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike” Friday morning, claiming that he had the players’ safety in mind.
“Listen, you’re ingesting smoke so that is not usually a very positive thing … it does have an addictive nature,” he said. “There are a lot of compounds in marijuana that may not be healthy for the players long-term. All of those things have to be considered.”
He’s long been criticized for his strict handling of marijuana use in the league. The NFL Player’s Association is down with dope as a tool for pain management, as are many NFL coaches. Heck, most of the nation is pretty lax about marijuana use these days.
But Goodell is known to hand down extreme suspensions for any hint of THC in a player’s bloodstream. All the while, players are complaining that they’re being fed huge amounts of highly addictive prescription painkillers for pain management, according to Deadspin.
Research shows marijuana may be the least dangerous of recreational drugs, including tobacco and alcohol, and can be even less addictive than caffeine. Painkillers like Vicodin, meanwhile, are classified as potentially very habit-forming.
Apparently, Goodell needs his medical advisers to prove not only that weed isn’t that bad, but that it has medical benefits for football players. He told “Mike and Mike”:
We look at it from a medical standpoint. So if people feel that it has a medical benefit, the medical advisers have to tell you that. We have joint advisers, we also have independent advisers, both the NFLPA and the NFL, and we’ll sit down and talk about that. But we’ve been studying that through our advisers. To date, they haven’t said this is a change we think you should make that’s in the best interests of the health and safety of our players. If they do, we’re certainly going to consider that. But to date, they haven’t really said that.
The health and safety of NFL players has indeed been a topic of interest over the past few years, but not because of reefer. Traumatic brain injuries are a growing problem among players, and Goodell is consistently raked over the coals for his apparent inability to focus his attention on concussions and CTE.
But then again, weed.
To be fair, Goodell did open the floor for later discussion about marijuana, likely due to the fact that seemingly everyone else is on board.
“Medical marijuana is something that’s evolving,” he said, “and that’s something that at some point the medical advisers may say this is something you should consider.”