SBD/May 18, 2017/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFL, NFLPA Working To Gather Info From Patriots About Brady's Alleged Concussion

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Brady was never listed on the Patriots' injury report with a concussion last season
The NFL said that it is working with the NFLPA to "gather more information" from the Patriots' medical staff regarding QB Tom Brady possibly suffering a concussion last season, according to Tom Pelissero of USA TODAY. Brady's wife, Gisele Bundchen, yesterday on CBS said Brady did have a concussion last year despite the fact the Patriots "never listed Brady on the injury report with a concussion or head injury last season." An NFLPA spokesperson deferred to a statement earlier yesterday by Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith, who told CSN Mid-Atlantic the union would "proceed with our process as we normally would for any player." Pelissero notes the NFL and NFLPA have a process under the CBA to "investigate possible deviations from concussion protocol," so, this amounts to a "routine follow-up -- albeit one involving a high-profile player" (USA TODAY, 5/18). Brady's agent, Don Yee said that there "would be no comment from his client" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/18). The Patriots also "declined comment on Bundchen's remarks." In Boston, Jim McBride notes Bundchen’s claims may "highlight the weakness of the policy -- that it can’t detect the minor concussions that can be just as dangerous to a player’s long-term health" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/18).

MORE QUESTIONS TO COME: In Boston, Karen Guregian writes Bundchen's comments "opened up a major can of worms" for Brady. Guregian: "She put her hubby in a tough spot." Brady is now "going to have to address his history with concussions" (BOSTON HERALD, 5/18). ESPN’s Bob Wischusen said Bundchen has “stirred up a hornet's nest” with her comments. Brady is the “face of the entire league” and there has to be a “little bit more of a sense of urgency on his end, and on the Patriots' end, to maybe get out in front of this and talk about it so that we’re not left to speculate" (“NFL Live,” ESPN, 5/17). YAHOO SPORTS’ Frank Schwab writes Bundchen’s comments “raised eyebrows for a few reasons.” Brady is the “biggest name in the sport,” and with the Patriots, people will “use any excuse there is to accuse them of skirting rules.” Additionally, the concussion issue is “always a hot-button item.” Schwab: “The NFL will look into it, and probably find nothing. And players will probably keep hiding concussions, no matter how much the league doesn’t want that to be the case” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 5/17).  ESPN’s Pablo Torre said the NFL is probably “not happy about” Bundchen's comments. However, league officials likely also are “unsurprised because a concussion is the hardest injury to track in sports” and the Patriots are the “least incentivized to ever disclose medical information” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 5/17).

PATRIOTS' GAMES: FS1’s Colin Cowherd said the news is "interesting because the Patriots have been that one organization that occasionally hides information." Cowherd: "Since it’s New England, it’s, ‘There they go again.’ For the people on the fence or don’t like New England, here’s more ammo that they’re putting guys out there -- hiding reports and hiding injuries” (“Speak for Yourself,” FS1, 5/17). ESPN’s Dan Le Batard said the aspect that "should bother" people is that the Patriots are "supposed to be honest and ethical about this stuff." Le Batard: "We’ve never once heard about Tom Brady having a concussion" ("Highly Questionable,” ESPN, 5/17). ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said, "It’s not a good thing for the NFL and it’s not a good thing for New England Patriots lovers everywhere. All it says to me is that the concerns that Tom Brady or others may have expressed are exponentially higher, rather, than what they have expressed” (“First Take,” ESPN, 5/17).  In Chicago, Rick Morrissey writes under the header, "If Patriots Hid Tom Brady's Concussions, It's Worse Than Deflategate" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/18).

IF BRADY HIDES THIS, WHO WON'T? In N.Y., Gary Myers writes if Brady is so "worried about his job security and is hiding concussions," then NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's league is "really in trouble." If Brady is "hiding concussions to stay on the field, then imagine what players with less stature and security than him are doing" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/18). ESPN.com's Mike Reiss noted concussions can happen on "less obvious plays, even in practices, and there are times when the onus falls on players to report symptoms of a concussion." From a big-picture standpoint, it is "possible that several teams around the NFL have players who have suffered unreported concussions because the player didn't report it to the medical staff himself" (ESPN.com, 5/17). But PRO FOOTBALL TALK’s Josh Alper noted a player who is “able to keep symptoms from being readily apparent to others is something that can’t be accounted for in those protocols." Alper: "It’s difficult to imagine how they’d be able to come up with one that could account for such situations happening in the future” (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 5/17).
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