Ahead of Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2, NFL head Roger Goodell told ESPN that he'd be open to the idea of treating players' injuries with medical marijuana. At the moment, the NFL takes a hard stance on marijuana, and has suspended a number of players this season for reportedly testing positive for the drug. But America's perception of marijuana is changing, and the NFL knows it: 20 states have approved the use of medical marijuana, with more expected to come.
“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," Goodell told ESPN, "but we will continue to support the evolution of medicine.”
The full interview will be aired Tuesday night, but an a sneak-peek blog post, ESPN summarized: "Goodell said he could envision a time when players use medical marijuana to treat pain in states where it is legal."
It's a progressive stance for the NFL — though, as ever, they're a little late in the game. Colorado is already running a full-scale weed industry with "pot shops" and huge profits; New York is all set to become the 21st state to legalize medical marijuana; and recent polls indicate that more than half of Americans favor legalizing the use the drug for medical purposes, at the very least. Plus, Massachusetts recently hinted that it might legalize recreational weed — and if it does, three American states will have done so.
All eyes are on the NFL at the moment, as the football league prepares to hold the Super Bowl in New Jersey. (If you want to get your diamond-encrusted designer helmets before they sell out, you can get one for the big Sunday here.) It's good to see that the league supports the evolution of medicine, in spite of the fact it's failed to support the evolution of gay rights: activists say that homophobia is so ingrained in the NFL that not one of the league's 2,000 players has ever publicly come out, and scouts have apparently ask players their sexuality before signing them.
Oh, and there was that whole breast cancer scam thing. Oh, and all of that furor about how the NFL had covered up the brain damage many of their ex-players had suffered in later life. And the possible Super Bowl sex trafficking problem.
All told, it hasn't been a good year for the league. The NFL came under fire a fortnight ago when a former player, Chris Kluwe, alleged in a lengthly article on Deadspin that he'd been fired for his gay-rights activism. Kluwe's outspoken stance on gay marriage was, in fact, the most pro-gay activism ever seen in the NFL, and according to Kluwe, he was fired for it. ESPN, amongst others, have argued that it's actually because Kluwe just wasn't that good at football anymore — but that doesn't mean the story that Kluwe tells isn't credible. Choice quote:
As we sat down in our chairs, Mike Priefer, in one of the meanest voices I can ever recall hearing, said: "We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows."
Right. Well, maybe NFL can jump back on board that progressive train, and work on some more stuff, eh?