I can’t remember what it was, but there was something pretty significant going on during Friday in the world of the NFL. If anybody can remember what significant event occurred over the course of the weekend, please let me know. I really feel like I should remember what it was…
Anyway, the point is that Commissioner Roger Goodell used that focusing lens as an opportunity to make some public comments without the same level of scrutiny that he would have received had he chosen a less opportune time to do so.
Appearing on Mike & Mike on ESPN, Goodell reasserted the league’s stance on the use of medical marijuana among its players, retaining the belief that it is harmful and a safety risk to its employees without proven medicinal purposes.
Nearly three-fifths of all states in the US have laws on the books allowing for the use of medicinal marijuana, but I guess that’s none of my business…
“We’ve been studying that though our advisers”, Goodell told his hosts. “To date, they haven’t said, ‘this is a change we think you should make that is in the best interest 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”.
He later said in the interview that “ingesting smoke [is]…not usually a very positive thing that people would say. It does have an addictive nature. There are a lot of compounds in marijuana that may not be healthy for the players for the long term”.
It might be useful at this time to point out that the league is facing a large-scale lawsuit by nearly a couple thousand players alleging that practices within the league regarding the way that they were administered painkillers was unsafe and deceptive. Several former Steelers are among the plaintiffs.
Making the argument that medical marijuana might not be entirely beneficial while dismissing the fact that painkillers are proven to be not entirely beneficial—and arguably significantly more addictive—is a bit obtuse and tone deaf.
He did concede that “medical marijuana is something that is evolving, and that’s something that at some point the medical advisers may come to us and say, ‘this is something that you shoulder consider’”. At the same time, it’s highly unlikely that the league would ever get completely on board unless it were made legal on a federal level, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has already stated that he wants to enforce the federal illegality of marijuana more harshly.