NFL Commish Roger Goodell Softens Stance on Marijuana Use By Players

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AP Photo/Jason DeCrow

Commissioner Roger Goodell appears to be “softening” his position on the issue of players using marijuana for pain management.

On Thursday, Goodell referred to marijuana as a “medical issue” that deserves more research. Not too long ago, the commissioner gave a different message on the topic of the controversial drug saying that it was “unhealthy” and “addictive.”

“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,” Goodell opined on the Mike & Mike show in April.

Speaking at a forum at the Broncos’ Dove Valley headquarters, the NFL’s 58-year-old top executive said on Thursday, “If pain management is something that medical marijuana can address responsibly, that’s something that our medical community is evaluating.”

Goodell is now working in conjunction with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA)  to study the “potential benefits of marijuana in managing pain,” according to Pro Football Talk.  “We just proposed to our union in the last month or so that we put some research money behind that to see how we could implement that . . . if they can address pain management in an effective and safe fashion. That’s something that I assume will get a lot of discussion, but hopefully it involves a lot of research and medical opinions that can help us make the best decisions,” the commissioner said.

On Monday, the Washington Post reported that The NFL wrote an open letter to the NFLPA offering to work in conjunction with them to study the use of marijuana as a pain management tool.

“I do think that issues of addressing it more in a treatment and less punitive measure is appropriate,” DeMaurice Smith, the NFLPA’s executive director told the Post. “I think it’s important to look at whether there are addiction issues. And I think it’s important to not simply assume recreation is the reason it’s being used.”

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