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  1. #1
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    League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth.



    Why on August 29, 2013, did the National Football League agree to pay $765 million to settle a lawsuit involving more than 4,500 players?

    An answer can be found in the well-researched and condemning book written by two ESPN investigative reporters called League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth. Authors Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru methodically piece together the NFL maneuverings and cover-up of information on the correlation between football and brain trauma in NFL players, and their attempts to downplay such evidence.

    Here's an investigative review of that book that puts the NFL's cover up on par with that of the tobacco industry and cancer.

    League of Denial.jpg
    Follow me on Twitter @ russellstreport




  2. #2

    Re: League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth.

    IMO, and most players will agree, you know what you're getting into when you sign up. I do feel the NFL should be providing better benefits for old retired players though. The NFL had no choice but to settle, otherwise it would have looked very bad.




  3. #3

    Re: League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth.

    Ah yes, keep the long knives out for the NFL. That will bode well for the long term viability of RSR.

    Also for an article that is bemoaning the character assasination of one doctor, it does a whole lot of character assasination of another doctor.




  4. #4
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    Re: League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth.

    Quote Originally Posted by alienrace View Post
    IMO, and most players will agree, you know what you're getting into when you sign up. I do feel the NFL should be providing better benefits for old retired players though. The NFL had no choice but to settle, otherwise it would have looked very bad.
    They know what they're getting into. When you hear players say hit me high so I can still play, but don't take out my knees... I'd think they're okay with it.
    We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid. - Benjamin Franklin




  5. #5
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    Re: League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth.

    We had a few threads on this when the book came out, IIRC.

    I tend to side with the owners / league on many issues and this one is no exception. To hold the NFL accountable during a time when CTE dangers were in their infancy is not equivalent to tobacco or asbestus dangers.

    We are still very early in the CTE science. The cigarette industry knew the dangers of cigarette smoke for decades. By comparison, and but the admission of the book's authors, the league did goof by trusting too much on that dude from the Jets and not enough from outside, independent sources for a period of about 8 years, hence the settlement.

    And the players lose a bunch of credibility when people like Jamal Lewis and his fake memory loss that just so happened to occur during an interview when all the while he's been living a pretty normal life.
    WARNING: This post may contain material offensive to those who lack wit, humor, common sense and/or supporting factual or anecdotal evidence. All statements and assertions contained herein may be subject to literary devices not limited to: irony, metaphor, allusion and dripping sarcasm.




  6. #6
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    Re: League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth.

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRaven View Post
    We had a few threads on this when the book came out, IIRC.

    I tend to side with the owners / league on many issues and this one is no exception. To hold the NFL accountable during a time when CTE dangers were in their infancy is not equivalent to tobacco or asbestus dangers.
    While that is true, for anyone to say the NFL has been forthright in letting players or the public know the full potential dangers, well . . .

    The NFL had information concerning links to concussions and CTE and surpressed the information for over a decade. Studies may be in their infancies, but the NFL made a concerted effort to discredit the results. Players may know that it's a dangerous sport and should take responsibility for the consequences, but it's pretty clear players didn't know the full consequences and the NFL had way more of a clue than they ever let on. The only reason the NFL takes the position it does now is that their hand was forced on them. Otherwise, they would continue in their attempts to smear the researchers and the research.




  7. #7
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    Re: League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth.

    At one time Asbestos was commonly used as a fire retardant. Decades later it was found to cause cancer under certain circumstances. So with thousands of ambulance chasers, many lawsuits were filed. The thing is that science did not know the dangers of Asbestos when originally used.
    Football players, even decades ago, knew there were risks in running into another human being at high speed. With those physical/mental hazards now known...still thousands of young men play football, with the hope of being drafted into the NFL. The cat is out of the bag on dangers of present day football play.
    When you take on certain jobs (police officer, fire fighter, soldier) there are inherent risks, just as there are playing football. I'd like the league to be more generous to those old-time players, who were generally underpaid and need some financial support. However, anyone who wants to sue because the NFL kept some sort of information from them gets no sympathy from me... Bc




  8. #8
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    Re: League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth.

    Quote Originally Posted by alien bird View Post
    While that is true, for anyone to say the NFL has been forthright in letting players or the public know the full potential dangers, well . . .

    The NFL had information concerning links to concussions and CTE and surpressed the information for over a decade. Studies may be in their infancies, but the NFL made a concerted effort to discredit the results. Players may know that it's a dangerous sport and should take responsibility for the consequences, but it's pretty clear players didn't know the full consequences and the NFL had way more of a clue than they ever let on. The only reason the NFL takes the position it does now is that their hand was forced on them. Otherwise, they would continue in their attempts to smear the researchers and the research.
    Isn't this basically what I said in my full post?

    The only issuer I have, again, is holding the NFL accountable when there were just as much research that backed their claims. They're not a scientific research body to to say they "suppressed" anything is very far fetched.

    Ignored? Perhaps. But I tend to follow Hanlon's razor on these matters.
    WARNING: This post may contain material offensive to those who lack wit, humor, common sense and/or supporting factual or anecdotal evidence. All statements and assertions contained herein may be subject to literary devices not limited to: irony, metaphor, allusion and dripping sarcasm.




  9. #9
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    Re: League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth.

    Quote Originally Posted by BcRaven View Post
    Football players, even decades ago, knew there were risks in running into another human being at high speed. With those physical/mental hazards now known...still thousands of young men play football, with the hope of being drafted into the NFL. The cat is out of the bag on dangers of present day football play.
    When you take on certain jobs (police officer, fire fighter, soldier) there are inherent risks...
    You articulated the common defense very well.

    My problem however is that I think it's a weak defense because it focuses of the victims, so to speak. Yes, players accept a risk when they decide to play, but the real question is how clear is the risk and have the league owners conspired to keep hide a slew of facts or purposely misdirected everyone away from knowing the full truth?

    This story reminds me of the lesson the country learned from Watergate. That is, the cover up is worse than the crime. A third rate burglary became a national disgrace when the Nixon Whitehouse went to great lengths to hide the truth from Americans to protect their own self-interests.

    I get the same sense with the NFL -- rather than deal with the truth, they seem to be overtly trying to pull the wool over the eyes of players.

    The defense you laid out focuses on the third-rate crimes -- but I think we need to look at the question of cover-up.

    It's one thing, as a player, to accept the idea that there is some risk of having a career-ending injury, or future memory loss. It's another to later find out the league understated the number of players who will be affected, or the likelihood of early dementia, depression, suicide, etc.

    I don't know the extent of the problem. I don't think anyone knows, including players. And that's the real point here.

    If the league has systematically hidden the truth from players in order to keep profits rolling in, or in order to avoid investing their profits in more research and new technologies, then I do have a great deal of sympathy for players who may have faced much greater risk than they could have known about.

    To use your analogy, yes, firefighters accept the risk of injury or death in the line of duty. But what if we find out that government officials have known for years that firefighters also have enormous risk of developing lung cancer later in life, and they actively hid that information from everyone? To me, that's another story altogether.

    I don't know if that's what the NFL is doing here, but if it is, it's a big, big deal.




  10. #10
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    Re: League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shas View Post
    You articulated the common defense very well.

    My problem however is that I think it's a weak defense because it focuses of the victims, so to speak. Yes, players accept a risk when they decide to play, but the real question is how clear is the risk and have the league owners conspired to keep hide a slew of facts or purposely misdirected everyone away from knowing the full truth?

    This story reminds me of the lesson the country learned from Watergate. That is, the cover up is worse than the crime. A third rate burglary became a national disgrace when the Nixon Whitehouse went to great lengths to hide the truth from Americans to protect their own self-interests.

    I get the same sense with the NFL -- rather than deal with the truth, they seem to be overtly trying to pull the wool over the eyes of players.

    The defense you laid out focuses on the third-rate crimes -- but I think we need to look at the question of cover-up.

    It's one thing, as a player, to accept the idea that there is some risk of having a career-ending injury, or future memory loss. It's another to later find out the league understated the number of players who will be affected, or the likelihood of early dementia, depression, suicide, etc.

    I don't know the extent of the problem. I don't think anyone knows, including players. And that's the real point here.

    If the league has systematically hidden the truth from players in order to keep profits rolling in, or in order to avoid investing their profits in more research and new technologies, then I do have a great deal of sympathy for players who may have faced much greater risk than they could have known about.

    To use your analogy, yes, firefighters accept the risk of injury or death in the line of duty. But what if we find out that government officials have known for years that firefighters also have enormous risk of developing lung cancer later in life, and they actively hid that information from everyone? To me, that's another story altogether.

    I don't know if that's what the NFL is doing here, but if it is, it's a big, big deal.
    Aside from my original post, let me boil it down to this... pro football players make enormous amounts of money, especially compared to the average Joe (like me). Yet, I have medical insurance and see my doctor once a year for a physical, dentist and eye doc too. Are you telling me that a pro athlete doesn't see his own medical professionals on a regular basis? All he does is take the league's word for it? I don't believe that for a second. Thing is that it's a competitive field and many players don't even want their teams to know they're hurting, lest they lose their position. IMO to lay the entire blame on the NFL is not warranted... Bc




  11. #11
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    Re: League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth.

    Quote Originally Posted by BcRaven View Post
    Aside from my original post, let me boil it down to this... pro football players make enormous amounts of money, especially compared to the average Joe (like me). Yet, I have medical insurance and see my doctor once a year for a physical, dentist and eye doc too. Are you telling me that a pro athlete doesn't see his own medical professionals on a regular basis? All he does is take the league's word for it? I don't believe that for a second. Thing is that it's a competitive field and many players don't even want their teams to know they're hurting, lest they lose their position. IMO to lay the entire blame on the NFL is not warranted... Bc
    WARNING: This post may contain material offensive to those who lack wit, humor, common sense and/or supporting factual or anecdotal evidence. All statements and assertions contained herein may be subject to literary devices not limited to: irony, metaphor, allusion and dripping sarcasm.




  12. #12
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    Re: League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth.

    In the agreement that was reached, it's my understanding that the league admitted no wrongdoing or further liability. Players can opt out individually but when the union accepted this deal, they closed the door to some extent.

    I'm not taking a side but I do believe the league made a brilliant move by getting this deal and it will help a lot of former players who are effectively broke and suffering.

    The agreement doesn't prevent future players from making claims or suing the NFL for injuries incurred while playing. But because all current players are party to the current collective-bargaining agreement between the NFL's owners and the league's players' union, those claims would be handled through the arbitration process outlined in the labor deal.
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