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Thursday, January 23, 2014
New Sports Illustrated Article: How should the NFL deal with increased legalization of marijuana?

Roger GoodellOver the last several months, I've worked on a project for Sports Illustrated on the impact of the legalization of marijuana on the NFL (and other leagues).  I have a new feature article for Sports Illustrated on this topic. I interviewed several former NFL players, a former NFL GM, a current prominent NFL agent and several doctors.  I hope you have a chance to read it.  Here's an excerpt:

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A more dramatic change would be to permit NFL players to use marijuana for medicinal purposes. This change would not be made until players in all states could legally use marijuana for medicinal purposes. Should that time come to pass, the NFL and players' association could develop and implement therapeutic use exemption application procedures for marijuana use. The procedures would be comprehensive and would only permit a player to use marijuana when he proves the necessity. Such procedures already exist for Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) medication. The league rejects use exemption applications for Adderall and other ADHD medication unless players can convincingly establish a medical need. Players generally need to provide physicians' evaluations, medical tests and treatment plans to be seriously considered.

An even bolder change, and again one requiring clear legalization of marijuana, would be for NFL teams to actively use marijuana vaporizers and sprays to treat players for pain management and even concussion treatment. While the idea sounds far-fetched in 2014, perhaps it won't be five or 10 years from now. And as Goodell said, the NFL "will continue to support the evolution of medicine."

A potential road block to changes to the NFL's marijuana policy is the negotiation process itself.

"Everything that the league and players agree to stems from the give-and-take of negotiations," the former GM says. "Players will ask to use marijuana and the league will want something in return." 

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To read the rest, click here.


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