Thursday, August 22, 2013

Helmets (follow-up)

I don't quite myself very often, and particularly not one day later, but here's what I wrote at the end of yesterday's post:
What will be interesting to watch is how the business interests of football try to protect themselves... It will be fascinating to see if they are willing, at any point, to be straightforward and honest about the ongoing (and damning) research.

Today, ESPN announced that they were pulling out of a collaboration with PBS on a Frontline documentary about the NFL and concussions titled "League of Denial."

Sixteen days ago, ESPN producer Dwayne Bray (who was working with Frontline on the project) was asked this:
How is ESPN going to go up against the NFL when they are a major rights holder and they basically have profited immensely from the culture of violence that is in the NFL?

Here's his answer:
Well, we don’t see this as ESPN going up against the NFL. People can in their soundbites, they are allowed their opinion. We just see this as reporting the story. Again, we’ve been reporting the story for a very long time, and we’re going to continue to report the story.

...our journalism has been very strong on this issue and so strong that we partner with FRONTLINE. FRONTLINE is about as it’s the gold standard, I’ve said before, of long form investigative documentaries. ESPN is the gold standard for sports journalism from covering the games to investigative journalism. Nobody does it as comprehensively as we do it. 

 ...we respect FRONTLINE greatly. They respect us. And the NFL is going to have to understand that.

Um, yeah. Not anymore, apparently. You can read about it here.

You guys also sent in some interesting links in addition to the story. Scott Hillis sent in a Grantland piece titled What Would the End of Football Look Like?. And Loyd Case sent in a fascinating article about bicycling and concussions in relation to a new helmet design: Senseless. I'm going to replace my unicycling helmet based on the article--it's a great read.

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