Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers' use of the hallucinogenic drink ayahuasca during an offseason retreat isn't considered a violation of the NFL's drug policy, according to league officials.
According to ESPN news sources, Rodgers discussed on "The Aubrey Marcus Podcast" last week how he went on an ayahuasca retreat to Peru in 2020, before the third of his four MVP seasons. Ayahuasca is defined as a psychoactive beverage native to South America and is often used for religious, ritualistic or medicinal purposes.
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.
Earlier Monday, Packers coach Matt LaFleur was asked whether he was concerned the league might discipline Rodgers, and LaFleur said: "I really haven't given it much thought at all."
Rodgers said on the podcast that the retreat gave him "a deep and meaningful appreciation for life" and added that "I came back and knew I was never going to be the same."
Rodgers explained his "ayahuasca journey" to Peter King of NBC Sports. "We sat three different nights with the medicine," Rodgers said. "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 of myself. 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."
He told King that the journey changed him in many ways. "The most important way was really that self-love part," Rodgers said. "I think it’s unlocked a lot of my heart. Being able to fully give my heart to my teammates, my loved ones, relationships because I can fully embrace unconditionally myself. Just didn’t do that for a long time. I was very self-critical. When you have so much judgment on yourself it’s easy to transfer that judgment to other people. When you figure out a better way to love yourself, I think you can love people better because you’re not casting the same judgment you cast on yourself on other people. I’m really thankful for that.”