The NFL says that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers did not violate league rules when he previously consumed the psychoactive beverage ayahuasca.
Via ESPN, “NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Monday that it wouldn’t have triggered a positive test result on either the substance abuse or performance-enhancing substance policies collectively bargained by the NFL and its players’ association.”
Rodgers, who is currently preparing for his 18th season in the league, has created quite a stir during training camp with his revelation that he consumed ayahuasca in Peru prior to the previous two seasons. In each of those seasons, Rodgers was named the league’s most valuable player, his third and fourth time winning the award respectively.
Rodgers said he doesn’t “think it’s a coincidence” that he claimed the top individual honor after those experiences in South America.
“I really don’t. I don’t really believe in coincidences at this point. It’s the universe bringing things to happen when they’re supposed to happen,” Rodgers said on an episode of the Aubrey Marcus Podcast last week.
Rodgers said on the podcast that the experience left him forever changed.
“For me, I didn’t do that and think ‘oh, I’m never playing football again,’” Rodgers said, as quoted by USA Today. “No, it gave me a deep and meaningful appreciation for life. My intention the first night going in was ‘I want to feel what pure love feels like.’ That was my intention. And I did. I really did. I had a magical experience with the sensation of feeling a hundred different hands on my body imparting a blessing of love and forgiveness for myself and gratitude for this life from what seemed to be my ancestors.”
Rodgers, who has spent the entirety of his career with the Packers, went deeper on the subject in an interview with longtime football writer Peter King that was published on Monday, explaining how the experience in Peru came together.
“I have a dear friend that I’ve known for 25 years that went on an ayahuasca journey in 2019. He came back, and we played golf one day and he told me all about it. I said, okay, I think it’s time that I do it. So we put together a trip to Peru [in 2020] and had a great experience. Then I went again this offseason and had another beautiful experience. Different, very different. Different size group, different amount of days,” Rodgers told King.
“We sat three different nights with the medicine. I came in with an intention of doing a lot of healing of other relationships and bringing in certain people to have conversations with. Most of the work was around myself and figuring out what unconditional love of myself looks like…,” Rodgers continued. “In doing that, allowing me to understand how to unconditionally love other people but first realizing it’s gotta start with myself. I’ve got to be a little more gentle with myself and compassionate and forgiving because I’ve had some negative voices, negative self-talk, for a long time. A lot of healing went on. There’s things—images from the nights, the journeys—that will come up in dreams or during the day I’ll think about something that happened or something that I thought about. It’s constantly trying to integrate those lessons into everyday life.”
For years, the NFL took a hardline on recreational drug use among its players, routinely handing down lengthy suspensions for mere cannabis use.
But in recent years, the league has relaxed its drug policy. During the 2021 offseason, with a new collective bargaining agreement taking effect, the NFL did not conduct random drug tests for marijuana, marking a sea change in the league’s rulebook.