Travis Waldron watched as the National Football League commissioner deflected questions about the links between football and brain injuries:
[T]he NFL has hardly “led the way” into concussion research, as Ta-Nehisi Coates and Malcolm Burnley showed recently in a timeline of the NFL’s response to concussions. The first chair of the league’s concussion task force, formed in 1994, regarded concussions as an “occupational hazard,” and the league rejected the American Academy of Neurology’s guidelines for returning concussed players to competition in 2000. It was still publishing research skeptical of the dangers of concussions in 2005; in 2007, it still claimed that research did not show that “having more than one or two concussions leads to permanent problems if each injury is managed properly,” even though CTE had already been found in multiple dead former football players.
That’s not a history of leading the way. That’s a history of standing in the way. The league and Goodell have plenty of reason to continue standing in the way, given that acknowledging a link between football and brain injuries, as well as the league’s role in obscuring that link in the past, would open it up to legal and medical liabilities it doesn’t want and possibly can’t afford.
Who does Roger Goodell think he is in evading core accountability? The Pope?
(Above: Malcolm Gladwell vividly describes how playing football beats up the brain.)