Cliff Robinson: Commissioner Goodell’s Cannabis Comments Are Inaccurate And Harmful

By Johnny Green


The NFL has had a rough history when it comes to caring about the health of its players. As information continues to leak out about how the NFL has handled concussions and the use of painkillers, it becomes more and more obvious that the league has not always had its players’ well-being in mind. Marijuana would do wonders for the NFL. From helping the league to treat brain injuries, chronic pain, and other common conditions that NFL players face, to helping NFL players reduce their reliance on pharmaceutical drugs, the NFL would benefit greatly from reforming its ridiculous marijuana policy.

Yesterday NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made comments about marijuana that were so archaic that even the ghost of Richard Nixon was shocked and appalled. In an interview on ESPN’s Mike & Mike, Commissioner Goodell had the following to say about marijuana:

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell delivered a strong statement against marijuana use Friday, telling ESPN Radio that the league sees no medical benefits and adding that “it may not be healthy for the players long term.”

“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?

“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 going to be something that we’ll be held accountable for some years down the road.”

No medical benefits? None at all? Seriously? That claim is so easy to debunk that it begs the question of if Commissioner Goodell is even serious, or if he is just trying to keep prohibition in place at all costs that he doesn’t even care about the truth. In reaction to the comments by Roger Goodell, retired NBA All-Star Cliff Robinson had the following to say via his website

“Commissioner Goodell’s comments aren’t just scientifically inaccurate, they are harmful to players.” Cliff Robinson said. “By denying cannabis’ medical value, Mr. Goodell negatively impacts the important conversation regarding medical cannabis and players in the NFL. Cannabis can help players that are battling brain injuries, chronic pain, and other conditions. But rather than work on a policy that is based on science and compassion for players, the Commissioner appears to want to continue to enforce a failed policy, and in the process, push players towards more harmful substances like opioid painkillers.”

Roger Goodell’s comments have been described by many media outlets as being ‘dangerous’ and I couldn’t agree more. Where is the compassion for players? If there was truly no medical benefit to marijuana, then I could wrap my head around Roger Goodell’s opposition to marijuana (although I would still disgree with him). But it’s BEYOND known that marijuana has medical benefits, and specifically, benefits that NFL players desperately need. Roger Goodell needs to put his personal views aside and let the facts drive the NFL’s marijuana policy. Goodell has claimed in the past that’s what he wants to do, but with comments like the ones he offered up yesterday, it’s clear that he is not pursuing the effort in good faith.

Original story appeared at

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