Skip to content

NFL defers to state law, when it wants to

Zz04MGJjNWFkMDg1YWUwNjI1MDEwMjRlODlhNGQzYWYxNA== AP

Even if the owners would like to see a less evasive Commissioner Roger Goodell, they pay him millions in part to be the pin cushion for the scrutiny and criticism of their business practices. He earned a bonus on Friday when trying to reconcile the league’s positions on marijuana and daily fantasy.

Vastly different on the surface, the issues link together on the question of what state law does and doesn’t allow. State law allows DFS? We’ll embrace it. State law allows marijuana use? We don’t care.

“We always review our drug policy,” Goodell said at Friday’s press conference regarding the possibility of adjusting the league’s prohibition on marijuana use given the gradual expansion of its permissible uses, both medicinally and recreationally. “That is something that our medical professionals do on a regular basis. We have had discussions with them in the past about that, not recently. They have opposed that. We are not restricted obviously by the state laws. It’s an NFL policy and we believe it’s the correct policy, for now, in the best interest of our players and the long-term health of our players. I don’t foresee a change in that clearly in the short term but we’ll continue to be in touch with our medical personnel. If that changes, we’ll discuss it.”

Even with increasing anecdotal evidence regarding the benefits of medical marijuana for football players, Goodell isn’t ready to change the league’s position.

“I don’t distinguish between the medical marijuana and marijuana issue in the context of my previous answer,” he said.  “Our medical professionals look at that. That is exactly what we talked to them about.  I would assume that it would be used in a medical circumstance or if it is even in recreational, our medical professionals look at it in both ways and determine whether they think it is in the best interest to do that. Yes, I agree there has been changes, but not significant enough changes that our medical personnel have changed their view. Until they do, then I don’t expect that we will change our view.”

So who cares if state law allows it? Father Football knows best, and the NFL will continue to reach into the private lives of players and prevent them from doing what they legally could otherwise do, in certain states.

With daily fantasy, the NFL is willing to take full advantage of partnerships with companies that do business in states where this specific form of non-gambling gambling is legal — and in states where the law is unsettled and litigation to determine its legality has been filed.

“I don’t make that determination,” Goodell said regarding the legality of daily fantasy. “Each state makes that determination. We are obviously going to follow the law. We’re going to abide by that in every which way. I said before that I think as it relates to daily fantasy there needs to be more consumer protection. I want that for our fans. I think our fans deserve that. But the primary interest I have is in the integrity of the game. So, that’s why we’ve opposed sports gambling in the past. When it comes to daily fantasy, I think there’s a different issue here. You have mash-ups of players. There are different issues that are raised that are not raised with sports gambling or traditional sports gambling. But, we are obviously working with all officials in each state. We will cooperate fully, and we will also abide by the law. I think for our long-term growth, fantasy football is more than daily fantasy. Fantasy football is fun. It’s something that I think our fans love to enjoy, but we also make sure – we have to make sure – that we’re protecting our fans at all times.”

Yes, Father Football will protect the fans from others. And Father Football will continue to protect the players from themselves — primarily because Father Football realizes that any change to the marijuana policy becomes a matter of collecting bargaining. Which requires the NFL Players Association to protect the players from Father Football, who will never relax the rules on marijuana without a concession or two (or more) from the players.

Through it all, discussions about what state law does or doesn’t allow represent the carefully-massaged talking points aimed at publicly justifying the things the NFL privately has decided to do, with Goodell being the public face and voice of positions that at time hopelessly conflict.

Permalink 42 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Home, Rumor Mill
42 Responses to “NFL defers to state law, when it wants to”
  1. sonhoodoo says: Feb 6, 2016 10:33 AM

    Well, not really. It doesn’t matter if state law allows for sale pot, employers can fire people for using it. I think this was upheld by the Colorado State Supreme Court, but not sure of the issue in Washington.

    Employers can fire you for showing up to work drunk or for drinking on the job. Showing up high or testing positive for pot is no different.

  2. shadywarrior says: Feb 6, 2016 10:34 AM

    I’ve never met someone who was anti-weed (not necessarily someone who doesn’t use it, but those who have an issue with others using it) who wasn’t a complete fool. Roger is no exception.

  3. chc4 says: Feb 6, 2016 10:36 AM

    “NFL defers to state law, when it wants to”
    ________________________________

    Kinda like every other business in this country? This is not unique to the NFL but of course that doesn’t support your “NFL/Goodell is evil” agenda. It’s ironic how much you contempt you have for the league that supports your very comfortable, cushy lifestyle.

  4. chc4 says: Feb 6, 2016 10:38 AM

    I’ve never met someone who was anti-weed (not necessarily someone who doesn’t use it, but those who have an issue with others using it) who wasn’t a complete fool. Roger is no exception.
    ___________________________________

    Your subjective opinion is irrelevant. Fact is weed is illegal in most states and as long as it is, it’ll be a crime to possess/use it. You can hammer the league office for a lot of things but this isn’t one of them.

  5. rogerdw66 says: Feb 6, 2016 10:47 AM

    Pot helps you tolerate pain, period. And w/out all the side effects of all other prescription pain medications. It in no way enhances performance. The NFL will allow players to use it when they can figure out a way to make a dollar off it.

  6. timtomandkevin says: Feb 6, 2016 10:48 AM

    Interesting take since this site is usually full on board for the ‘tsk-tsk’ style of reporting for anyone who has been caught with pot.

    Attaboy!

  7. Punk says: Feb 6, 2016 10:48 AM

    What is also becoming clear as research on marijuana opens up is that not all of the effects of marijuana use is healthy.

  8. helicopterpilot13 says: Feb 6, 2016 10:49 AM

    Boring. Who cares?

  9. jimnaizeeum says: Feb 6, 2016 10:53 AM

    In just about every business if employees test positive for weed they are diciplined, doesn’t matter if it is legal in that state.
    Kind of like post injury alcohol testing, test positive and you face discipline…and alcohol is legal in all states.

  10. whybotherifeverythinggetscensored says: Feb 6, 2016 10:55 AM

    Let me sum Goodell’s comments up for everyone: “We make A LOT of money from DFS, but not from marijuana.”

  11. neil0311 says: Feb 6, 2016 10:56 AM

    Am I the only the only one who just has a visceral dislike for Roger Goodell. When I see his picture or hear him speak, it elicits a physical response. The guy just makes me sick.

    The only people who elicit a similar reaction are Obama, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton.

  12. nyfootballgiants says: Feb 6, 2016 11:01 AM

    Rediculous argument. Currently, the collective bargaining agreement prohibits use of marijuana. This was agreed to by the league and the players union. Many players contracts also ban rock climbing or ski diving. Those are both legal.

    Marijuana use is banned by a majority of states -so it is banned in more states the NFL is in than legal.

    Finally you know how collective bargaining works. Players want pot to be legal? What are they willing to trade to gain this right? Reduction in salary cap? Addition of an additional game or two?

  13. cwwgk says: Feb 6, 2016 11:12 AM

    “Even if the owners would like to see a less evasive Commissioner Roger Goodell, they pay him millions in part to be the pin cushion for the scrutiny and criticism of their business practices.”

    Good to see PFT with increased frequency as of lacknowledging Goodell’s more accurate role in league policy as one of spokesperson instead of architect. If more people realized this, they could stop letting Goodell ruin their lives.

    As such, a later passage in the article would better read: “Even with increasing anecdotal evidence regarding the benefits of medical marijuana for football players, [the owners aren’t] ready to change the league’s position.”

  14. harrisonhits2 says: Feb 6, 2016 11:15 AM

    The NFL double standard. If I was a player in one of the states where weed was legal I would openly smoke and if Goodell tried to suspend me I would take the league to the cleaners.

    You can’t have it both ways. Either state law trumps or Federal law does.

    Roger Goodell’s National Integrity League

    Goodell is VILE

    Godell and his cronies must go

  15. factman66 says: Feb 6, 2016 11:20 AM

    Just stop screening for it. The NBA doesn’t test for it, take a lesson from them.

  16. rainydayinterns says: Feb 6, 2016 11:28 AM

    The NFL will defer to whichever will make it the most money, save it the most money, or give it the most money…that is the reality of having the NFL in “the family!”

  17. bledee10 says: Feb 6, 2016 11:35 AM

    One potentially impacts the quality of the on-field product, and the other doesn’t. In that context, it makes sense.

    Or another angle – they are for one and anti the other, and they are bound by law where it applies. That’s pretty simple to understand, too.

    I don’t see why we are comparing these two, except in the context of “let’s try to villify Goodell any way we can, no matter how big the stretch.”

  18. wolverineinnc says: Feb 6, 2016 11:39 AM

    Roger Goodell… his photo is next to the word HYPOCRITE in Webster’s dictionary. Fand want this clown fired “for the integrity of the game.” But he’s the owners’ puppet, so THAT’S not going to happen. Can you at least just shut up, Roger. We know you’re nothing more than just a mouthpiece for the owners. Go deflate yourself….

  19. ratsfoiledagain says: Feb 6, 2016 11:41 AM

    In states where marijuana is legal, there are thousands of companies, and government agencies, in which their policy’s do not allow their employees to be under the influence of said drug while at work.

    The NFL is no different.

    I’ll bet ya a wooden nickel those advocating the NFL, is wrong, and live in states where it’s legal, are not fighting the same fight with the companies they work for as they are on here saying Goodell is wrong.

    It’s a work place policy. Don’t like it, get a job where a company doesn’t care.

  20. yooperman says: Feb 6, 2016 11:43 AM

    Maybe it’s time for players to flex their collective muscle. Have a good old fashion Smoke In. Hundreds of players meet in a Washington and invite the media. (10 to 15 per team which is a low number) What would Goodell do?
    Party at Wilson’s house in Seattle.

  21. 6ball says: Feb 6, 2016 11:56 AM

    .
    @chc4

    ” It’s ironic how much you contempt you have for the league that supports your very comfortable, cushy lifestyle. ”

    Maybe it’s not contempt? Maybe the author cares about the league and wants it managed in fair and efficient manner.
    .

  22. ajg314 says: Feb 6, 2016 11:57 AM

    Geez, more anti-NFL? More anti-Goodell? It’s starting to get tedious. Let it go Elsa.

  23. cwwgk says: Feb 6, 2016 11:57 AM

    harrisonhits2 says:

    “The NFL double standard. If I was a player in one of the states where weed was legal I would openly smoke and if Goodell tried to suspend me I would take the league to the cleaners.

    You can’t have it both ways. Either state law trumps or Federal law does.”

    An unfortunate and woeful misunderstanding of our legal system. If this poster would try to take Goodell to court under his hypothetical, the only thing he would be taking to the cleaners thereafter would be Goodell’s laundry as a sanction for filing a frivolous lawsuit.

    I don’t think the league should test for weed, but the players agreed in the CBA to submit to urinalysis. And to be disciplined if the results came back positive. Contract law trumps both state and federal drug statutes in this situation.

  24. mullman76 says: Feb 6, 2016 12:07 PM

    @neil0311:

    Yeah, but I bet Trump makes you blush.

  25. lscottman3 says: Feb 6, 2016 12:18 PM

    He gets paid good money to let the fans believe he is the one responsible for the owners moronic beliefs and decisions.
    This includes deflategate.
    There is no question in my mind that witch hunt is driven by a group of owners who gave an agenda that the patriots have been too good too long

    Someday they will all turn on each other and I can’t wait

  26. antneejay2 says: Feb 6, 2016 12:19 PM

    I understand that the owners pay Goodell some serious scarole just for being their stooge, but I think he’s worth it. He’s a world class B.S.er. People with his sleaze quotient don’t grow on trees.
    I’d like to borrow him to take to my upcoming traffic citation hearing.

  27. abninf says: Feb 6, 2016 12:24 PM

    rogerdw66 says:

    Pot helps you tolerate pain, period.
    =======================================

    No it doesn’t really. Let’s be realistic. 99% of people who smoke dope do it simply to get stoned. You remind me of the pro-abortion crowd who only talks about abortions where the mother’s life is in danger.

  28. padraighansen says: Feb 6, 2016 1:05 PM

    Even from a legal perspective, Marijuana is a Federal violation, despite the states where it’s legal. The retail dispensaries in those states are also cash only, as the federal illegalities of marijuana influence electronic payments, banking, and tax laws. Conversely, Fantasy sports- which DFS is currently considered – is protected by the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act), and like Marijuana, has exceptions from only a few states.

    And, as others have pointed out with Marijuana, it was collectively bargained as a banned substance.

  29. hbegley6672 says: Feb 6, 2016 1:18 PM

    I could care less if they allow it or not. They’re the employer, it’s within their rights. Quick question… Does the NFL ever do anything right in your eyes?

  30. kd75 says: Feb 6, 2016 1:19 PM

    Woke up last night/this morning, around 4:30am with heartburn, headache and feeling nauseous.

    Two bong hits later and I felt great. Fell right back to sleep.

  31. postintelligence says: Feb 6, 2016 1:22 PM

    I agree that it’s disingenuous for the league to hide behind state law with respect to one issue but not the other. So, kudos for pointing out that inconsistency.

    But there are a couple of relevant issues that distinguish DFS and marijuana as far as the NFL is concerned:
    1. Marijuana possession is still illegal under federal law (regardless of the feds’ ability to enforce that ban). DFS isn’t.
    2. The league has a far stronger, more legitimate basis for controlling the behavior of its own employees as opposed to fans/consumers.

    Of course at the end of the day this is all about money: even if the league can’t suck directly from the teat of DFS, it benefits indirectly in terms of increased fan interest and advertising revenue. Marijuana is at best neutral from that perspective and probably even a loser, if the league thinks (for example) that tolerating players’ weed smoking would damage its brand.

  32. kd75 says: Feb 6, 2016 1:23 PM

    You know the second pot becomes legal in enough states, the NFL will have an “Official marijuana of the NFL” brand/strain just like it does with beer.

  33. davew128 says: Feb 6, 2016 1:49 PM

    harrisonhits2 says:
    Feb 6, 2016 11:15 AM
    The NFL double standard. If I was a player in one of the states where weed was legal I would openly smoke and if Goodell tried to suspend me I would take the league to the cleaners.

    You can’t have it both ways. Either state law trumps or Federal law does.
    *****************
    The issue has been decided in the courts. You’d lose if you litigated it. Not only does any employer have the right, its explicitly written into the CBA.

    Oh and by the way, its still illegal under federal law.

  34. reprob8 says: Feb 6, 2016 2:05 PM

    the NFL has made on billions on the hypocrisy of government, just like corporations & billionaire. hell, I wouldn’t be shocked to find our that Goodell &/or owners have or will invest in marijuana businesses.

    I can hear it now

    “Welcome to the Roger Goodell Ganja Dome in Las Vegas!”

  35. senatorblutarsky says: Feb 6, 2016 2:14 PM

    factman66 says:
    Feb 6, 2016 11:20 AM

    Just stop screening for it. The NBA doesn’t test for it, take a lesson from them.
    _______________________

    That’s probably one of the reasons the NBA has fallen from its position of preeminence. I don’t think the NFL needs to take a lesson from any other sport. Check league revenues and you’ll understand.

  36. TomsulasMustache says: Feb 6, 2016 2:59 PM

    I like the rule against marijuana. The testing is so lax in the NFL, players know when its coming. It’s more of a test to ensure they aren’t addicted or have a problem. If you cant pass the test, most likely means you’ve got more going on. If you can pass the test, that means you’re able to control your usage and it isn’t a problem. NFL would drop in quality if there were no rules around it

  37. TomsulasMustache says: Feb 6, 2016 3:23 PM

    Roger smoked once but didn’t inhale

  38. mongo3401 says: Feb 6, 2016 3:45 PM

    Every majors company in this nation has a drug policy including media outlets. Regardless of the state allows it or not, if you fail a drug test for pot you will most likely be fired or required to get counseling. If you fail it again you are gone

    NFL view on marijuana is no different the. NBC view on marijuana so I see no issue here in how Goodell presented it.

  39. maestro1899 says: Feb 6, 2016 3:51 PM

    nyfootballgiants says:
    Feb 6, 2016 11:01 AM
    Rediculous argument. Currently, the collective bargaining agreement prohibits use of marijuana. This was agreed to by the league and the players union. Many players contracts also ban rock climbing or ski diving. Those are both legal.

    Marijuana use is banned by a majority of states -so it is banned in more states the NFL is in than legal.

    Finally you know how collective bargaining works. Players want pot to be legal? What are they willing to trade to gain this right? Reduction in salary cap? Addition of an additional game or two?
    ————————————————————

    I know this wasn’t your intended point, but you are basically saying that Goodell and the owners are using marijuana as a bargaining chip with the players.

    They obviously don’t care about the health of their players, the fact that marijuana has more anti-inflammatory properties than any NSAID (ibuprofin, etc) known to man, or that marijuana can be used as a pain reliever without the nasty side effects of opium-based pain pills (hey, whatever happened to THAT lawsuit the NFL was facing, the pain pill lawsuit?).

    The NFL, and Roger the Dodger Goodell specifically, are on the wrong side of history in regards to their marijuana policy.

  40. mackcarrington says: Feb 6, 2016 3:54 PM

    factman66 says:
    Feb 6, 2016 11:20 AM
    Just stop screening for it. The NBA doesn’t test for it, take a lesson from them.
    ——
    Then why have players (Larry Sanders, J.R. Smith and others) been suspended for smoking weed? They test for it but they allow higher tolerances before a positive is triggered.

  41. avenger9800 says: Feb 6, 2016 4:47 PM

    I’d bet if all the pot smoking fans quit watching until the NFL changed it’s rules, it wouldn’t take them very long for the league to change their minds. The NFL would loose one half to three quarters of it’s fan base OVERNIGHT! And that’s fact!

  42. Florio Believer says: Feb 7, 2016 10:14 AM

    I didn’t realize so many of the Posters here were so YOUNG….not many folks over 40 care about REEFER, but so many here seem to be more like MY PARENTS and their Blind following ways than those of us who Lived through the 60’s….go get a life youngsters!!!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!