Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce just talked about how cannabis prohibition almost ended his football career while hosting Saturday Night Live (SNL) this weekend.
SNL tapped Kelce to host the show just weeks after he helped his team win Super Bowl LVII with a narrow 38-35 lead. For one skit, the showrunners also enlisted Kelce's brother Jason, center for the Philadelphia Eagles – the team that played against the Chiefs in the Super Bowl. In his monologue, Kelce talked about how his friendly rivalry with his brother started long before the recent game.
“Jason and I have actually been playing football together since we were little kids, and he was always better than me at everything,” Kelce said, according to High Times. “In high school, he was an honor student. And I got kicked off the team because I failed French. And English too. But, French sounds way better. And then when we were in college, I actually got kicked off the team because I tested positive for marijuana. So it just goes to show you if you smoke weed and you’re bad at school, you can win the Super Bowl twice.”
Kelce's love of weed nearly ended his football career. Back in 2010, he got suspended from the University of Cincinnati Bearcats for an entire year after testing positive for weed. “I got kicked off the team for having a little too much fun off the field,” he told The Kansas City Star. During that time, he considered quitting football entirely, but quitting pot clearly wasn't an option. Fortunately for the Kansas City Chiefs, he chose to get back into the game after his suspension.
The NFL also used to suspend players for smoking weed, but those days are over at last. In 2020, the football league amended its outdated cannabis policies as part of an agreement with the NFL Players Association. Under the new rules, the league agreed to shorten their drug testing window from four months to only two weeks. And most importantly, officials agreed not to suspend any player that does test positive for THC metabolites.
The NFL has also partnered with the Players Association to fund research into how CBD and THC could potentially help players recover from serious injuries. Several clinical research studies have found that cannabis (and psilocybin) can potentially help the brain recover from traumatic injuries. The anti-inflammatory powers of pot can also help athletes cope with chronic pain without resorting to addictive opioids.
But although the NFL may have relaxed its pot policies for players, it hasn't backed down on its cannabis advertising restrictions. The league still bans all cannabis companies from advertising their products during the Super Bowl or any other official game. Legal weed companies that want to advertise their wares during the big game have had to come up with creative alternatives, like hosting weed-friendly golf tournaments.