NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that he is open to the idea of one day letting football players use medical marijuana in states where the drug is legal to deal with pain in an interview with former chief White House correspondent for the Associated Press Ben Feller last week at the 92nd Street YMCA in New York City.
"I don't know what's going to develop as far as the next opportunity for medicine to evolve and to help either deal with pain or help deal with injuries but we will continue to support the evolution of medicine," Goodell said on Jan. 7.
Feller joined “The Morning Show” to discuss the interview, and the attention Goodell’s comment drew. “It was surprising to me that [Goodell’s answer] was so sort of open ended, you know ‘supporting where medicine goes’” Feller said. “It’s being interpreted as him being supportive of it, him opening the door to it. And that’s a whole different conversation for the NFL.”
Also on “The Morning Show,” 7-time Pro-Bowler and Super Bowl Champion Lomas Brown said that he would welcome marijuana as alternative to more traditional painkillers, which are often addictive. “I would just think that the use of marijuana for pain management, it would be a far better outcome to me than it would be for the abuse of heavy narcotics like pills of vics or percents or whatever the pill of choice is for pain in the NFL,” he said.
Brown added that he would estimate 50 percent of league players use marijuana. “The NFL, they have to protect their logo, they have to protect their image, but I say at least 50 percent of the players smoke.”
“I think that is a startling number,” Feller said. “[Brown] would know much better than those of us outside the league, but if it is anywhere near that high that poses a huge question for the NFL… to have a former player with the stature of Lomas Brown say 1 out of 2 players is doing it, that’s really amazing to me.”
But the league’s players contracts, which are collectively bargained through the league’s national players union, prohibit marijuana use. In 2012, when Colorado and Washington state legalized recreational drug use, the league said that their policy would not change. “"Marijuana remains prohibited under the NFL substance abuse program,' NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello said to USA Today in 2012.
"The use of medical marijuana is not permitted and the medical advisers to our joint substance abuse program with the Players Association do not believe it should be permitted," the NFL said in a comment to Fusion via email.