NFL Faces Increased Scrutiny From Players and Team Managers over Marijuana Policy

shutterstock 205708945
shutterstock 205708945

Players and management are publically challenging NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and pro football’s marijuana policy.

Even as medical marijuana is legal in the majority of the United States, it is still illegal for players in the NFL to use it. Commissioner Goodell routinely cites marijuana as potentially dangerous to his players, the same players that are routinely described as modern day gladiators. This week Goodell took things further with a statement that could have just as well come from Jeff Sessions.

“You’re ingesting smoke, so that’s not usually a very positive thing that people would say,” Goodell said in an interview on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” radio show. “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 seems that Goodell does not realize that opioid-based painkillers, repeated head collisions, and CTE (all realities for NFL players) are much more dangerous than marijuana.

Because of how he has handled many issues including the Ray Rice situation, letting teams leave their home cities, and seemingly ignoring player’s health, Goodell is accustomed to being the villain.

But it appears that players and team managers are coming out in force after Goodell’s recent radio comments.

“The fact that he portrays it in this light, as if has to be smoked, it feeds into the stigma of it rather than understanding that this can be used as a tincture, a capsule. It can be provided in many different forms,” former offensive lineman Eben Britton said.

It is not just the players that are calling for a new conversation on marijuana policy in the NFL. Dallas Cowboys Director of Player Development Stephen Jones (son of owner Jerry Jones) was asked about the NFL’s marijuana policy and seemed to think some changes were in order.

“Well, our system, our testing, has been in place for years and not unlike we do in our organization . . . we always look to see how we can do it better,” Stephen Jones said in an interview with PFT Live.  “I think Jerry’s opinion, my opinion, is this program, this system has been in place for a long time. I think it needs to be heavily scrutinized in terms of its results.”

While the NFL is extremely popular, its ratings dropped considerably last season. This is the first time in decades that the NFL may have to work for its success.

Are violent injuries driving away the NFL’s audience? In an ominous sign for pro football, youth organizations are adopting new rules that will significantly cut down on contact.

There are signals all around that football, as we know it, is over. Could the NFL extend its lifespan by helping players heal safely and join the 90 percent of Americans who support medical marijuana?