Roger Goodell—commissioner of a league that is okay with teams pumping players full of wildly addictive opiates, would prefer everyone just ignore football’s potential to irrevocably damage brains, and is generally unconcerned with the well-being of former players—wants everyone to know he’s against NFL players using marijuana because he really cares about player health.
On Mike & Mike this morning, during a discussion about the diluted urine samples of first-round draft picks Jabrill Peppers and Reuben Foster, Goodell said that marijuana, a natural drug used legally for pain management in many states, was simply too unhealthy and addictive for NFL players. Get a load of this:
Listen, you’re ingesting smoke so thats 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. It’s not as simple as, you know, someone just wants to feel better after a game.
Vicodin and Toradol, okay; marijuana, bad. Then, he dropped this line with a straight face (emphasis mine):
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 going to be something that we’ll be held accountable for some years down the road.
Even in pretending to care about player health, Goodell still reveals one of his true—though perhaps not his main—motivations for opposing relaxed marijuana regulations: protecting the shield.
Goodell’s biggest reason, though, for opposing reform to the NFL’s draconian weed policy, which is being legalized and decriminalized all over the country, is much more cynical. The NFL Players’ Association wants to end marijuana testing, and, as my colleague Dom Cosentino noted earlier this month, so do many NFL owners. But, the league and the owners realize they can use this point to pry concessions from the players in the next collective bargaining sessions, so in the meantime, Goodell is going to continue spewing bullshit about the need for “medical proof” regarding medical marijuana. On Mike & Mike, he gave lip service to all the league’s experts who “haven’t really said” that changing the league’s rules on marijuana is a good idea.
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 thing is, this isn’t something that needs to be studied for years and years. It already has been, and by now it’s common sense.