Monday, January 31, 2011

Football & Concussions from the New Yorker

Another great Football & Concussions article from the New Yorker. Before I get into it, I have to say that I'm a huge fan and have season tickets. I'm really conflicted on this.

The article starts out slow with an irrelevant bit about a football player who didn't even have concussion problems (no idea why) but get's really strong. I found this passage very interesting, because it reminded my of stuff Phillip Morris or Asbestos companies used to pull, but this time it's the NFL.

"Schwarz may not have been out to get football, but he was clearly less emotionally invested in it than most of his predecessors and peers, who had helped build the sport into the de-facto national pastime with romantic coverage of heroic sacrifice. He was not a fan. “I’d been pitching this to reporters for years,” Nowinski told me, of the head-injury problem in general. “People in football told me, point blank, ‘I don’t want to lose my access.’ It literally took a baseball writer who did not care about losing his access, and didn’t want the access, to football.”
Schwarz’s math background came in handy, too, as he batted away the statistical objections about the unknown incidence of C.T.E. from skeptical doctors. And Schwarz had the backing of a news organization that did not see itself as having any symbiotic ties to the game’s economic engine. (ESPN, which drives the national conversation on sports, invests more than a billion dollars a year in football broadcasting.) “There’s certainly been a lot of tension between Alan and the N.F.L., and the N.F.L. and our editors,” Jolly said. “Their communications people made it clear that they were not happy with the reporting. Some of their folks were pretty brusque and not particularly eager to work with Alan."