The NFL conscussion drama continues on and on. Story after story has been uncovered featuring players passing away or dealing with the after-effects of concussions. ESPN initially partnered up with PBS' Frontline series for an investigation into head injuries in the NFL.
ESPN and PBS had been working on this project for 15 months before ESPN pulled out of the venture yesterday. They cited lack of editorial control as the reason why they bowed out. The New York Times' James Andrew Miller broke down what really happened:
Last week, several high-ranking officials convened a lunch meeting at Patroon, near the league’s Midtown Manhattan headquarters, according to the two people, who requested anonymity because they were prohibited by their superiors from discussing the matter publicly. It was a table for four: Roger Goodell, commissioner of the N.F.L.; Steve Bornstein, president of the NFL Network; ESPN’s president, John Skipper; and John Wildhack, ESPN’s executive vice president for production. At the combative meeting, the people said, league officials conveyed their displeasure with the direction of the documentary, which is expected to describe a narrative that has been captured in various news reports over the past decade: the league turning a blind eye to evidence that players were sustaining brain trauma on the field that could lead to profound, long-term cognitive disability.
The NFL responded to the allegations in the Times with this statement:
"It is not true that we pressured ESPN to pull out of the film. The lunch was requested several weeks ago by ESPN. We meet with our business partners on a regular basis and this was not unusual."
The documentaries are based off the work of two ESPN reporters and brothers Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada, who also have a forthcoming book. League of Denial airs on PBS Oct. 8 and 15, and should receive more interest due to this article from the Times.
[via New York Times]