Goodell Declares Pot Use To Be Unhealthy And Pledges Continued Ban

\As we have discussed, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is the least popular commissioner in the history of the NFL . . . for good reason.  Of course, the mere fact that fans boo Goodell where ever he appears from the NFL draft to a funeral, the owners do not care because they relish the very things that Goodell stands for like putting profits over any concern for the health of players or the interests of fans.  Goodell has been widely denounced for his alleged covering up of the dangers of concussions until there was no way to avoid addressing the serious medical problem facing players.  He is also responsible for contracts that routinely ripped off fans like his recurring contracts with DishTV that requires fans to hand over their cable contracts at ridiculous prices if they want to watch their teams play (a contract denounced by consumer advocates).  Then he was widely criticized for his own obscene salary, shaking down artists, and corrupt contracts and demands from cities who might want to host the Superbowl. In other words, he is the last person on this planet (with the possible exception of Kim Jong-un) who should be holding forth on healthy living tips.  Nevertheless, Goodell declared this week that, even in states where marijuana use is legal, he will continue to ban it because it is not a healthy choice for players.  He said that he is willing to study the possible medical benefits of pot.

Goodell stated on the Mike & Mike show that

“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.”

Somehow the guy accused of covering up concussion dangers seems a tad out of place wringing his hands about possible “negative consequences” to pot and the danger of  being “held accountable for some years down the road.”  One solution is to make them all NFL commissioners where there is apparently no danger of being held accountable for anything.

The position of the NFL is an interesting one.  It has never barred the use of alcohol for “someone [who] just wants to feel better after a game.”  So there is no problem for Peyton Manning saying that he needs a Bud Light after the Superbowl.  Of course, Manning lives in Colorado where pot is legal and could have said that he was looking forward to a joint and some munchies.  The NFL has not said that pot (any more than alcohol) is a danger to players.  Thus, it is currently barring the use of pot in states like Colorado based on Goodell’s view of healthy living.

I admittedly follow a libertarian view on such issues. If pot is legal in Colorado or other states, I am not sure of the basis for the NFL to ban it unless it can show a nexus to sports injury (that are different from alcohol).  There is no indication that pot improves performance. Indeed, it may diminish performance so there is not a concern of “enhancement.”


Of course, Attorney General Jeff Sessions appears to have a fixation on marijuana and it is still not clear if the Trump Administration is going to attack a multi-billion dollar industry that is funneling hundreds of millions of dollars into states like Colorado.  Assuming that there is no danger found for players, do you think that the NFL should be able to ban the use of a lawful substance in states like Colorado.

27 thoughts on “Goodell Declares Pot Use To Be Unhealthy And Pledges Continued Ban”

  1. Er, isn’t the libertarian view that the players can freely enter contracts that waive their rights in regards to what they ingest?

    (Also note that it is perfectly legal to refuse to hire applicants who smoke cigarettes, and to fire employees who do so. Same with booze, except for ADA considerations.)

    I’m not a fan of this policy, but I think it’s legal. Not to endorse Goodell, whom you characterize well here.

  2. The misinformation and paranoia about cannabis continues to astound me. I know a lot about it, probably more than anyone who has commented here. I’ll be brief. Cannabis most certainly has medicinal qualities. Even the most adamant cannabis hater has to admit it helps tremendously w/ glaucoma and chemo patients. I can attest it has good pain relief properties, particularly via edibles. It is less addictive and destructive than alcohol. There are down sides. For me, it’s being a depressant caused me to cease using it a few years ago. I do not drink any longer or use cannabis. I had no addiction issues w/ either, for which I am grateful. Many are not so fortunate The biggest danger is for teenagers using it chronically. It retards the growth of their brains that are still forming, particularly the part of the brain that controls decision making and impulsive decisions.

    1. Great and informative post, Nick.

      A friend’s husband recently died young from cancer. The pain was bad by the end. Marijuana helped his pain for a while.

  3. Is Goodell a licensed physician? I don’t think so. Sounds to me like he is offering a medical opinion, and that means practicing medicine without a license. Goodell ought to stay out of this fight, or he better watch his a$$ …

  4. IMHO, pot smokers are nothing but dope fiends. Maybe dope fiends lite, but dope fiends all the same. Most people are stupid enough as it is without smoking dope and making it worse. And darn straight it is addictive.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

      1. As the French say, Eau Contraire!

        Is Marijuana Addictive?
        The First Question: Is Marijuana Addictive?

        Let’s deal with this question immediately. Groups that are in favor of medical marijuana or broad legalization sweep this question under the carpet. The fact is that, yes, it IS addictive. You are unlikely to hear this fact on the nightly news, in the newspaper or anywhere else. Marijuana IS addictive. Here are a few statistics to make this clearer.

        What are the odds of becoming addicted? Studies have shown that:

        Of all the people who use marijuana, about one in eleven will become addicted.
        When a young person begins smoking marijuana in his or her TEENS, he (or she) has a one in six chance of becoming addicted.

        Admissions to Treatment

        According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in 2010, more than 360,000 people were admitted to treatment for addiction, with marijuana being listed as the primary drug they were abusing. That is, they went into rehab because of marijuana and its effects on their bodies and minds.
        Twenty-eight percent of those admissions or 103,000 people were between twelve and seventeen years old. (This figure applies only to publicly-funded facilities so the actual number is much higher.)
        Forty-three percent were under 21.
        In general, only about one person in ten receives needed treatment so it could be estimated that well over three million Americans may be addicted to marijuana – a million of them being high school students or younger.
        Among those entering addiction treatment in 2010, 18% said that their primary drug was marijuana but another 21% said that it was their second or third most problematic drug.

        ER visits

        Because of greatly increased potency, mental distress, panic attacks and other problems have also increased. In 2011, there were nearly half a million visits to ERs related to problems with marijuana use. Common symptoms were severe nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, anxiety, panic attacks and paranoia.

        According to the 2013 World Drug Report, an estimated 1 in 15 high school seniors is a daily or near-daily user of cannabis. For parents who once smoked marijuana “on the weekend or at parties,” they can understand what a high school student smoking DAILY would mean to his ability to really do school or be a school kid.

        Marijuana withdrawal

        Some people argue that because marijuana does not have dramatic withdrawal symptoms like alcohol or heroin, it is not addictive. But there are two errors to this thinking. One is that the marijuana of today is more than two times stronger than it was twenty years ago (some say much stronger than that), and withdrawing from that is quite a different matter. The other is that it is simply not true: There ARE withdrawal symptoms when a chronic user stops using cannabis.

        They include:

        Anger and fluctuating emotions
        Loss of appetite
        And of course, craving to continue to use the drug.

        Remember that the above symptoms can be stronger or weaker for the person withdrawing, depending on how much dope he was smoking, over how long, and his own unique physical and mental constitution. (Some people are much more sensitive to drugs. They get higher on less, for example.)

        The report Cannabis and Health Hazards notes that withdrawal effects can be triggered by the use of a normal dose of marijuana (one to two good-quality joints per day) for just eleven to twenty-one days.
        Continuing to smoke pot despite real evident life-trouble

        Perhaps a better measure of addiction is whether or not the person experiences harm from the use of this drug, but is so compelled to use it and the cravings for it are so strong that he continues anyway.

        According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, heavy marijuana abuse is associated with the following problems or effects:

        Worsening mental and physical health
        Relationship problems
        Higher probability of dropping out of school or abandoning goals
        Lower grades and reduced academic success
        Increased absences from school or work
        More workers’ compensation claims
        Less career success compared to peers.

        An addicted cannabis user will continue to use the drug despite effects like these. It is common for a heavy smoker to stop caring about the damage and just focus on staying stoned. This is what is called “addiction.” It applies just as much to marijuana as to crack or meth or pain pills.

        Squeeky Fromm
        Girl Reporter

  5. Gotta do something to earn that $32 million annual salary…

  6. There are many different potencies of pot, and the method of ingestion can markedly affect absorption rates, and length of time affected.

    High potency THC can affect the user for 24 hours. It can affect coordination and memory, as well as have beneficial effects such as pain inhibition. A urine test for an infrequent user will test positive for up to 3 days, but a chronic user can test positive for months after the last dose, showing the persistence of THC in the tissues. There have been concerns over establishing a legal driving limit, since there are so many different consumption methods of pot, and a first time user and chronic user can have vastly different impairment and persistence.

    I do not know the legal grounds for banning substances that can negatively impact performance that are legal to consume in a state. There are certainly performance concerns that would lead the NFL to ban it, but perhaps that should be done on a team by team basis.

    Pot is one of those substances that are a mixed bag – some good and some bad. There is definitely a medical benefit that should be explored. And there is also scope for abuse. Pot is now 7 times more potent than the herb in the 60’s. If they keep concentrating THC levels, it will one day become a hard drug. And it can have psychiatric affects in some people.

    1. The so called dangers of pot are usually pointed out by people who have never used it.

      1. Pot has both positives and negatives. That’s just the reality. It’s neither a panacea nor the devil’s herb.

        I never thought pot was addictive until I knew an addict in high school. He had anger management issues, and apparently had toked pot since he was a kid to self sedate. He would flip completely out if he had to miss toking with his friends. I didn’t even know addiction to THC was possible until I saw it. I don’t know how common it is, however. Regardless, you shouldn’t drive stoned.

        On the other hand, it has tremendous medical possibilities which should be explored, unlike any other recreational drug that I’m aware of.

        Any downside of pot are usually denied by frequent users, while any benefits are usually denied by those without any knowledge of pot at all.

        I’m more enamored of its distant cousin, hemp. It has no possibility of getting anyone high, but is an excellent source of plant based protein. It is used to make paper, rope, clothing, plastics, supplements, cereals, milk…If you’re going to be stranded on a desert island for any length of time, you’d want hemp seeds. It’s sadly been banned from cultivation here because it looks too much like a marijuana plant. You can’t expect police or the DEA to wade through hundreds of acres of hemp fields figuring out if there is any pot hiding in plain view. But hemp products are sold here, just imported from other countries.

        1. On the other hand alcohol, which has impairment properties (negatives) and other side effects, has no identified medicinal value that I’m aware of; and yet it is a legal drug available in all 50 states.

          1. Yes, it has been shown that, for men, up to 2 glasses of wine per day are health improving. Half that for women.

          2. Technically, cigarettes should fall under the purview of the FDA, and as such, by definition, they would be banned. It is a delivery system for an addictive drug, it has zero health benefits, is highly addictive, and causes serious health consequences such as cancer, emphysema, and low birthweight for babies whose mothers smoked.

            But there is a long cultural history for smoking. In addition, there is always the argument against the nanny state interfering with what people consume juxtaposed with the laws that say that you shouldn’t be able to sell something that kills the user and has no benefit. It’s always an interesting argument.

  7. For every two potential health needing marijuana seekers, there are thirty seeking intoxication. I have witnessed a marijuana addict with usage impairment.. Smoke in the lungs is healthy in what way?
    Current NFL commissioner is a different topic. Reminds me of 70’s ‘North Dallas Forty’ movie.

    1. Chris Fr0mm – thanks for naming North Dallas Forty. I have been trying to remember the name of that darn movie all morning. I vaguely remember a scene where they are in the locker room at halftime and all smoking pot. Maybe it’s a created memory.

  8. Goodell may hate God’s green herb (and all it’s benefits) but you can rest assured he’ll find another Satanist to perform at next years Superbowl.

  9. Would Aaron Hernandez still be playing for the Pats if marihuana were legal in Massachusetts?Apparently,his beef with his dealer victim motivated the murder.

  10. He could argue that having marijuana is prohibited by federal law and enforce players’ contracts for clauses mandating obedience to the law. Yet if the players want to smoke weed in legal states and doing so does not affect their performance who cares if they do.

    1. “[T]hey relish the very things that Goodell stands for like putting profits over any concern for the health of players or the interests of fans.”

      Ayn Rand, Joseph Lochner (not Wapner), the Four Horseman, and Wall Street don’t like you very much today.

  11. I do not watch football on tv. Why? Because of the refs. They are always interrupting the game.

  12. Pot Need Love Too stickers! and its up against the wall Redneck Mothers.
    Mothers who have raised their sons so well.
    He’s thirty four and drinkin in honky tonks.
    Kicking hippie arses and raisin hell.

  13. I have heard that pot has some pain relief properties that would be helpful to athletes, especially linemen. I am sure most of the players in the NFL would qualify for a medical marijuana card.

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