In March, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones privately communicated his concerns to his partners regarding the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. On Friday, he applauded the league’s decision to collaborate with the NFLPA in studying the potential benefits of marijuana in managing pain for the league’s players.
“I agree with what the NFL is doing,” Jones said in his Hall of Fame press conference. “There is real fertile ground there. It is a labor issue that like several things, not just that one, I understand the sensitivity about that particular issue. A lot of people would disagree it’s a labor issue, but that’s the way these things work. A lot of things get thrown in that hat. The fact we’re discussing it, it’s no secret the Players Association have wanted to discuss that area and do better in that area.
“I think that’s accurate that we should have it as something to improve on. The problem I’m having here is I do not know what is the definition of improvement, but we can all do better here.”
The league currently bans marijuana in its collectively bargained substance-abuse policy and has taken a strong stance against its use by players. However, in a recent letter to the NFLPA, the NFL offered to work with the players in further research.
Jones, though, wouldn’t go as far as saying the league should stop testing for marijuana, only that the issue deserves further research and discussion.
“I’m not going to define it,” Jones said. “I really can’t because we’ve never been in any real serious conversations about how to really discuss it, the parameters, I want to be real clear there. What I have said and feel is it’s an area that has been a topic of consideration for many times with players, the Players Association. We should always look for ways to improve our game and improve our player performance or our players standards or what our competitive, and I underline, what our competitive agreements are, and this is one of them.
“This hits all of those areas. It’s health. It’s competitiveness. It hits the entire area. It’s legal. It’s social. It hits moral. This is all of those. You know that. I just want you to know I know that. That’s a comprehensive approach to discussing something we should discuss.”