Roger Goodell opened up about the NFL’s stance on marijuana use during an interview on Friday, saying the league is open to the use of medical marijuana if it is recommended, but is still hesitant to allow recreational use until more is known about the long-term effects.
Goodell was a guest on ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike” when he was asked about recent examples of players testing positive for diluted urine samples at the NFL combine. While there are other reasons it can happen, one concern is that the players are trying to mask the use of marijuana.
Goodell was asked where the league stands on the growing number of players who believe medical marijuana should be allowed in the NFL. Goodell explained that the league is open to it if their medical people advise, but as of yet, that has not happened.
Here is Goodell (emphasis ours):
“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. But as you point out, there are changes in this. Medical marijuana is something that is evolving and that is something that at some point the medical advisers may come to us and say ‘this is something you should consider.’“
Goodell was then asked about the recreational use of marijuana.
Goodell said there are still concerns about the long-term health impact on players. His answer also sounds like something that could be a backlash from the concussion crisis in the NFL, suggesting that, like the recent concussion lawsuits, that the league is more cognisant now and more hesitant to allow things where the long-term health impacts aren’t completely known.
From Goodell (again, emphasis ours):
“I think you still have to look at a lot of aspects of marijuana use. Is it something that can be negative to the health of our players? Listen, you’re ingesting smoke, so that’s not usually a very positive thing that people would say. It does have addictive nature. 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. And it’s not as simple as someone just wants to feel better after a game. We really want to help our players in that circumstance but I want to make sure that the negative consequences aren’t something that is something that we’ll be held accountable for some years down the road.”
Here are Goodell’s entire comments:
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