League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis Aired on PBS by Frontline on Oct. 8.
After watching the much anticipated documentary “League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis”, I became an alarmed fan of my favorite sport, Football. What I learned from this documentary left me horrified by the National Football Leagues ability to wrongfully deny the detrimental impact football can have on its players. The coverup left me thinking of my distrust with the NFL and wondering if I was alone in these thoughts…
Frontline and ESPN were jointly connected in the production of a television series which investigated the National Football Leagues handling of concussions. However, this partnership ended abruptly when the NFL got wind of this deal. While the NFL denied reports of pressuring sports mega company ESPN to drop the deal with Frontline,
The New York Times reports, “The divorce came a week after the N.F.L. voiced its displeasure with the documentary at a lunch between league and ESPN executives, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation.”
The NFL involvement in the dissolve of this deal lead to a great deal of media backlash. Despite the denial of ESPN it is clear that the NFL whom is a business partner with ESPN forced the company to squash its deal with PBS.
This past August the league was under scrunity with its lawsuit settlement of “$765 million brought on by more than 4,500 former players, some of whom are suffering from dementia, depression, and other ailments over allegedly covering up concussion risks”. As part of its settlement the NFL was not required to admit any wrong doing. This left be with a bitter taste in my mouth. I believe that the NFL needs to admit how they have wronged their professional athletes and strive to be better.
As its been stated the NFL needs to start conducting safety matters more seriously to regain the trust they have lost. This needs to begin all the way down at the pee-wee level. “If 10 percent of mothers would begin to perceive football as a dangerous sport that is the end of football.” This is something the NFL needs to consider instead of hiding injuries they must help prevent them.
The evidence shown in the Frontline video was immense. It leaves fans like me ashamed by the damages done to former players, while still leaving concern of where the league can go from here. While I am concerned with player safety most of the appeal of football especially the NFL comes from hard hits.
The NFL is making headway with new leaderships direction which emphasizes safety. “In September, the NFL launched Head Health Challenge II, an open invitation that will award up to $10 million for new innovations that can protect the brain from traumatic injury or track head impacts in real time. The initiative is a partnership with apparel brand Under Armour and GE, both of which are NFL sponsors.”
Finally, the NFL is publicly acknowledging with compassion the wrongdoing that was done to former players, without fully saying they are sorry for the negligence (which could lead to serious lawsuits). However, from a PR standpoint do you think this enough to regain trust of players and fans? What else could be done?
I know I am not alone in my concerns. Forbes magazine reports, “The seemingly invincible league and sport might find itself facing a real problem if this story grabs hold. Because walking a field where intellectual dishonesty is one of the better outcomes — while willful ignorance bears down nearby — is nobody’s idea of a Sunday well spent”. At what price are fans willing to pay to watch ethical wrong doing every Thursday, Sunday and Monday knowing something could be done about it.
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