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.