NFL’s Roger Goodell: Marijuana is ‘addictive’ and ‘may not be healthy for the players long term’

Commissioner Roger Goodell smiles as he walks onstage during the first round of the NFL draft on April 27.
(Matt Rourke / Associated Press)

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell thinks weed is addictive and bad for one’s health.

Although legal in one form or another in 25 states, marijuana is still banned by the NFL. And based on the commissioner’s comments on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” show Friday morning, that’s not going to change anytime soon.

“I think you still have to look at a lot of aspects of marijuana use,” Goodell said. “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 an 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.”

Under the NFL’s current pot policy, players can be suspended after a fourth failed test. But the league has gotten more lenient about marijuana use in recent years, increasing the limit for a positive test from 15 nanograms per milliliter to 35 nanograms per milliliter in 2015.

And Goodell indicated Friday that the league may consider approving the use of marijuana for medical purposes at some point.

“We look at it from a medical standpoint,” Goodell said. “So if people feel that it has a medical benefit, the medical advisors have to tell you that. We have joint advisors; we also have independent advisors, both the NFLPA and the NFL, and we’ll sit down and talk about that.

“But we’ve been studying that through our advisors. To date, they haven’t said, ‘This is a change we think you should make that’s in the best interests 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.”

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