SBD/October 9, 2013/Media

"League Of Denial" Portrays NFL, Tagliabue, Goodell In Negative Light

PBS' "Frontline" last night debuted its "League of Denial" documentary, and "not surprisingly, it was damaging to the NFL," according to Josh Katzowitz of The NFL's "denial about the concussion problem for so many decades was fascinating to experience." Most of the "knowledge that emerged from the film has been documented in various media outlets throughout the last decade or so." But that it was "all put together in this narrative was devastating for the league." Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue "didn't come off well in the film, as the former lawyer orchestrated the league's initial response." In fact, he "blamed the concussion issue on pack journalism" (, 10/8). SPORTS ON EARTH's Patrick Hruby offered five takeaways from "League of Denial." The first was the players "didn't know what they were signing up for." In addition, the "Big Tobacco analogy is apt" and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is "part of the problem." The NFL "deserves skepticism, not trust." Finally, "where was the union?" (, 10/8).

FINDING PROGRESS: Pro Football HOFer Harry Carson said, "I’m happy that the story has been told in the largest possible platform, so that people can make up their own minds about what they need to do before deciding whether their kids can play or not." He added, "It doesn’t exactly paint the NFL in a favorable light. The players know how the NFL operates. And people who were unaware, like [former NFL team physician] Bennet Omalu, he said it best in the film -- about how the NFL can squash you." Asked whether that remark will make him unwelcome at Giants President & CEO John Mara’s house, Carson said, "I don’t think it will be a problem. The Giants organization knows I’ve taken a very strong stance on this issue for about 20 years. So it’s nothing new." He added, "I even shared with them prior to the season that I was working on the documentary, and said that if it’s a problem, they should let me know. When I go on the air and do the (Giants First and Ten) show, I talk football. I’m not talking concussions, so there’s a separation there. If there is any kind of blowback, it probably would have already occurred. And if there is down the road, so be it" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 10/9). For additional reaction, check out today's Morning Buzz.
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