Sunday, October 27, 2013

League of Denial

League of Denial is a documentary about concussions in the NFL. It was originally shot for ESPN, but since the NFL allows ESPN to run Monday Night Football, they pressured ESPN to drop the doc, which is highly critical of how the league has handled the issue. Thankfully Frontline picked it up to run on PBS. It can be viewed in its entirety on their web site here:

Or on YouTube at the link at the top.

They are correct to criticize the NFL, as they had done nothing but threaten litigation against anyone who made a claim to the NFL. There is a now a significant body of evidence that blows to the head in football are at least as bad as in boxing, and that it can affect high school players (and probably even younger). The film does an excellent job of supporting these facts with extensive interviews. (Yesterday it was announced that Brett Favre turned down an offer to return to the NFL because of memory issues; he did not want to risk making them worse.)

It is appalling that a billion dollar industry cannot support their retired players, and is unwilling to look at protecting the current players. The league is compared to the tobacco industry, which knew about the health dangers of smoking, but deliberately buried the scientific evidence so that it could continue to make money from killing people.

As a sports fan, I can understand the desire to keep the NFL in existence, but it does seem like we need to make better choices for kids who choose to play this sport. The NFL, college, and high school football are much rougher sports than when I was growing up, and if modifications are not made to play style and equipment, the NFL will be on the receiving end of a string of class-action lawsuits.

This doc is well worth viewing.

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