SBD/October 14, 2013/Media

Buffalo PBS Station Delays "League Of Denial" Airing Until Tomorrow Despite Notoriety

Buffalo-based WNED-PBS postponed its airing of the Frontline documentary "League of Denial" for a week until tomorrow night, and "delaying it was a bad call," according to Alan Pergament of the BUFFALO NEWS. WNED Dir of Corporate Communications Megan Wagner said that the station "uses September for its membership campaign instead of PBS’ normal month of August." That "delays the September episodes of PBS series, which was the case for this Frontline episode." But Pergament wrote the station "should have taken into account that 'League of Denial' would be discussed beyond the sports world this week and the delay would aggravate viewers who wanted to know what the talk was all about." The film is a "devastating portrait of how the NFL played defense against doctors who believed they found a credible link between players getting their heads pounded and a brain disease" called CTE (BUFFALO NEWS, 10/13).

WHERE'S THE FIRE? In Boston, Ben Volin wrote the film overall was "a bit too alarmist for our tastes, and dead set on pointing all of the blame at the NFL." Many of the problems described in the film were "things that happened to players in the 1970s and ’80s and have been improved today" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/13). In Toronto, Cathal Kelly writes if the filmmakers' goal was "to rattle the NFL, they failed." Kelly: "Football doesn't feel the need to explain itself because football knows its customers don't care. All of them. Not a single one cares." The film is "pretty damning stuff and pretty riveting television" and "thanks to PBS, it's all over now." The film in the end "will be the coffin lid on the brain trauma controversy" (TORONTO STAR, 10/14). In Illinois, Mike Imrem writes the film "undeniably portrayed" the NFL "in an undeniably negative light." The documentary "didn't necessarily prevent football fans from watching subsequent games on TV or even prevent them from enjoying every time a collision prompted a player to hear Norwegian folk songs inside his battered head." But those who watched the film "have to be concussed ourselves if we weren't a little less comfortable than normal" (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 10/14). In Miami, Linda Robertson wrote, "Denial is the perfect description of the league's mind-set and strategy" (MIAMI HERALD, 10/13).
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