NFL demands retraction of New York Times article

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The NFL continues to mount an aggressive response to last week’s controversial New York Times article alleging incomplete concussion research and touting ties between pro football and Big Tobacco. And the strategy is taking on a more official and ominous feel.

Last week, the league issued a pair of statements with specific responses to the various allegations made in the Times story. On Monday, the league specifically demanded an “immediate retraction” of the story, on the basis that it was “false and defamatory.”

The letter, signed by Brad S. Karp of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison (a/k/a the Ted Wells firm), explains that the league provided “extensive evidence” to the Times reporters prior to publication of the story, accuses the Times of using a “sensational headline” tying the NFL to the tobacco industry without sufficient evidence to merit the link, and explains that the Times “recklessly disregarded the truth and defamed the NFL.”

The letter directs the Times to preserve all notes, correspondence, emails, recordings, work papers, and other related documents, a clear indication that the NFL is at least considering the possibility of suing.

The six-page letter addresses the league’s specific concerns about the story, starting with the alleged sleight-of-hand effort to tie the NFL to the tobacco industry while still pointing out that there was no “direct evidence” that the league obtained any of its strategies from the tobacco industry. The leage also points out that the Times rewrote the digital headline for the print edition to delete any reference to the alleged tobacco link and accuses the Times of “reckless and dangerous” tactics.

“The Big Tobacco smear is especially pernicious and unfair because the truth is that there are few institutions in American life that do not have some intersection with the tobacco industry at some point, however devoid of meaning,” Karp contends, pointing out that a search of the 14 million documents from tobacco litigation archives revealed “significant ‘connections’ between the Times and the tobacco industry — connections far more concrete than the phantom connections contrived by the times purporting to ‘tie’ the NFL to the tobacco industry.”

For instance, the league found: (1) “interlocking board memberships between the Times and Philip Morris”; (2) “Times directors who had been partners at law firms that defended tobacco companies”; (3) “Times directors who were connected with research firms that did studies for Big Tobacco”; (4) “a fundraising letter to the Tobacco Institute asking for the purchase of a $25,000 table at an event chaired by the Times publisher”; and (5) “over one hundred million dollars in tobacco advertising the Times accepted long after the Surgeon General first warned of the link between smoking and premature death.”

The letter also challenges the contention that the NFL deliberately concealed concussion data from 1996 through 2001. The league’s biggest concern arises from the suggestion that the flawed concussion research was engineered in a way that was “parallel to tobacco research,” and from the failure of the Times to point out that it was “repeatedly and expressly disclosed in the studies themselves” that they were not based on a complete count of concussions. The league claims that the concealment of those facts creates the impression that the Times “had uncovered a secret and nefarious plot by the League to suppress relevant data and manipulate the test results, in a manner learned through the League’s ‘ties’ to Big Tobacco.”

Whether the NFL actually sues the Times is a separate issue. Even with a retraction, the league could sue for damage already allegedly done. The letter makes it clear that a lawsuit could indeed be coming, regardless of what the Times does next.

172 responses to “NFL demands retraction of New York Times article

  1. LOL! Dear NFL – Your game turns its players’ brains into mush, and 90% of your players are on HGH according to some reports.

    You and your herd of ambulance chasers can go pound sand.

  2. They put more research into their rebuttal of this story than they did in all of Deflategate.

    I am kind of enjoying the NFL getting their comeuppance, after smearing the Patriots, regardless of which side is telling the truth.

  3. The NFL getting upset over what they say is lack of proof and hearsay? Worked for you in Deflategate though. Ridiculous.

  4. It is more likely than not that the NFL was involved in a scheme to mislead the public and its players about the hazards of playing football and Roger Goodell led this scheme.

  5. The NFL has made a lot of mistakes but I’m behind them on this one. This story is based on nothing. The NY Times has been a joke for a long time but people somehow still believe there’s some truth in their reporting.

  6. Who cares what the New York Times has to say. I didn’t even hear about the article. I don’t hate football, so I have no interest in the agenda of those who do.

  7. Please sue the New York Times. Discovery would illuminate the decades of lies promoted by NFL Health & Safety.

    Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.

    It would be in the national interest to have the NFL tell the truth.

  8. The NFL needs to be concerned about the diminishing product on the field not vrap in a newspaper…… fans won’t leave because of some article in a paper but we will KEEP leaving if the product on the field continues to be bogged down by reviews, challenges and just plain idiotic rules (ie “the catch rule” etc)….

  9. So let me get this straight…Wells submits their defense to the Times and they misinterpret and misrepresent their findings with lies and sensational headlines. Are you kidding me Roger! Give the Patriots back their stolen picks. Stop with the lies about everything from framegate to stealing union money to CTE……then resign.

  10. Kettle meet pot. The NFL wrote the book on false leaks and misinformation to push forward its agenda/narrative of the week. Sucks to be on the other side of it for once, huh, Rog?

  11. “The New York Times is a dying paper. Believe me. They’re a dying paper. I’m a great businessman. The Daily Trump newspaper gets 10x the readership as that failing company does, that I can tell you.”

  12. I’m sure at the corporate level most big businesses operate in a similar manner and swap personnel on a regular basis. Running a corporation is essentially the same no matter what product is being sold – minimize risk and maximize profits. Running a tobacco company is probably not all that different from running the NFL.

  13. The NFL has tried hard to create a public image that makes owners look charitable (endless media images promoting their connection to the United Way and Play 60) and patriotic (military flyovers and color guards) but the facade is crumbling away.

    Several major stories (concussion cover-ups, deflategate lies exposed by a federal judge, teams leaving cities in the lurch) have stripped the veneer of respectiablity from callous billionaires. As in most cases (cops and doctors), the good guys cover for the bad guys. You would think they would keep clowns like Irsay under wraps. Instead, Goodell openly does the bidding of the Irsays, Jones, and Kroenkes while kneecapping the NFL’s best and brightest.

  14. I’m just wondering when Brady is going to be filing his multi faceted defamation law suit against the NFL/Goodell, BSPN, Exponent, & Wells law firm???
    Man I hope it’s SOON!!!!

  15. The NFL has done a pretty good job lately of defaming itself and doesn’t need any help from the Times to do so. As long as Goodell, Wells and Blandino are around, they will have no credibility and their threat to sue is laughable.

  16. Wait…..they’re complaining that the news article wasn’t based on science. So they’re complaining about a report about them not being based on scientific fact.

    That’s understandable. I mean imagine if the league paid an investigator, claimed they were independent, and then that investigator filed a report condemning a team and their star player. And the report completely ignored basic established science.

    That would just be crazy, and would make the NFL look like complete hypocrites in this situation

  17. This can’t be real – the NFL claims the the Times “recklessly disregarded the truth and defamed the NFL.”

    This past year the NFL “recklessly disregarded the truth and defamed” Tom Brady.

    The hypocrisy and irony here is so unbelievable, but the NFL is getting exactly what they deserve.

  18. The NFL’s response of “they do it too” regarding the tobacco connection is juvenile and mimics the Trump/Cruz crapfest going on right now. Pathetic.

  19. The NFL is big tobacco.

    It might be a stretch.

    It’s nowhere near the quantum leap that the possibility of an equipment violation is the same as multiple positive tests for illegal drugs or a positive test for a performance enhancing drug.

    Integrity

  20. Sorry, but most of us KNEW back in the 70’s and 80’s that head trauma (i.e., concussions and the like) lead to problems later in life. All we had to do was look at Muhammad Ali and other boxers. This myth that the NFL was hiding information, that had the players known, would have prompted something different (some not to play, others to push for rules and regualtions) is what is FALSE!!!! Mike Webster would not have done anything differently; Ken Stabler would not have taken a stand to make changes to the game; Junior Seau would not have demanded more information, studies, etc. before taking the field.

    Hell, those of us that never got paid to play (in HS or college) still played knowing there were risks- maybe not the specific risks, but risks nonetheless. To now revise history and claim that the NFL (and by extension, NCAA, high school federations, youth leagues) are somehow negligent or responsible for not enumerating all the specific risks is as disingenuous as it is absurd.

  21. Pot calling the kettle black Disregard for the facts and truth,sensational headlines,smear job: Boo hood hoo. Just what the NFL did to the Patriots and Brady with deflate-gate What goes around comes around. Goodel.

  22. Ted Wells and the firm he works for defended Philip Morris in a class action suit. That sounds like a connection to big tobacco to me. They also defended big pharma and Johnson and Johnson ( Yeah, the company owned by the Jets owner) in other class action suits. And then there’s the hack job they did on the Patriots on behalf of Roger and his inept minions at NFL central. It’s great to see this whole pack of criminals on the run .

  23. The NFL hasn’t had the best record in court the last few years. Please sue the NYT. The fallout from the beating they will take will likely be the only thing that will get Rodger out of office in the next 20 years.

  24. The NFL knows people are stupid. And they used that stupidity to win the court of public opinion against the Patriots. Which is why they have never corrected the proven lies/false information leaks against the Patriots.

    And since they know how affective the court of public opinion is, they are now fighting hard to get the “misconceptions” and “lies” retracted. As far as I’m concerned, the NFL can go screw on this. Even if it harms all 32 teams, and even if it nearly kills the NFL (like baseball in the 90’s), as long as Goodell and the whiney owners who forced deflategate down our throats are crushed and publicly destroyed, I’m good with it. Bring it on.

    Maybe Goodell can give us his cell phone… Doesn’t matter if it is needed or not, if he refuses that means he’s guilty…

  25. NFL gets what it gives, Times does not need you like ESPN or one of your franchises.

    I wouldn’t think with their record the NFL would want to go to court of ANYTHING .

    The Billionaires are going to lose a lot of wealth over the concussion issues that they’ve tried to hide for decades.

  26. Irregardless of the alleged “false and defamatory. and also possible ”punitive”
    nature of the Times article, ..the proverbial cat…is out of the bad ! Everyone knows that there IS an ugly link between the play of football and CTE. No matter how many “fires ” the NFL tries to put out on this issue,10 more will rise in its place…this is not going to go away and I, for one, believe that it could end up with NFL Football making changes that will reduce contact to the point of making the game virtually unwatchable.I hope I am wrong…but I don’t see any other viable solutions …because of the violent physical nature of the game that we have all grown to love.

  27. How about the NYT retracts it’s story when the billionaire owners stop making taxpayers pay for their stadiums?

  28. “The NY Times has been a joke for a long time”

    The New York Tines might be the only newspaper in the United States that still has correspondents across the globe reporting news while others cut and paste virtually everything they print.

    That said, the Times certainly has had its low moments, as when Judith Miller was taking dictation from a White House leading us into a war in Iraq based on lies.

    I give then credit for taking on the NFL. Most media outlets are too busy sucking on the NFL teat to tell the truth and shame the devil.

  29. I blame Roger Goodell for hiding concussion info from 1996 to 2001.

    I don’t care that he became commish after that time. It is still his fault.

  30. Not defending the NFL’s conduct concerning their obfuscation of the correlation between tackling and concussions but the N.Y. Times is a terrible media outlet to be accusing anyone of hypocrisy.

    The Times has become a laughing stock regarding reputable news reporting. It’s a newspaper driven by a hard left liberal agenda and the NFL is an organization it would love to take down. Believe nothing you read in the Times. Or, at least look beyond the headline and get an understanding of the reporter’s political agenda.

  31. Big tobacco incarnate. They are fools who will pay a much bigger price for hiding this than accepting reality and working with it.

    Look at MMA and the other extreme fighting sports. Guys are getting pounded in the head but they acknowledge the possible dangers and make it clear to the fighters and there is no issue.

  32. Well, they paid for a medical journal to publish their “football doesn’t cause concussions” articles in the 90s. That was under Tagliabue with Goodell second-in-command. After that, would anything surprise you?

  33. Imagine Goodell on a federal stand needing to answer questions about fraud, sabotage. collusion, and now, what is the defamation of Tom Brady?

    How awkward.

    It will be even more awkward when we find out this was Harbaugh’s idea, with Pagano/Irsay/Grigson colluding with Goodell/Vincent on it.

    Hmm.

    It could bury not only Goodell, but the other people I just mentioned.

    Are we supposed to be stupid and not realize Harbaugh and Pagano are friends and Harbaugh was so embarrassed and ticked off about the Eligible/Ineligible WR rule, that it is why this witch hunt began?

    If “everyone knows NE deflates footballs” per Indy equipment manager, Sean Sullivan, why on god’s green earth didn’t the NFL and why did it only come out AFTER Brady advised Harbaugh to read the rule book?

    Can any Goodellite answer this please?

    Also, while you’re at it, can any explain why Brady would want to throw a ball that would rotate slower, if it was significantly softer?

    You idiots have been duped by a lying commissioner.

  34. The nfl knows they are at the top of the legal food chain because of the mountain of money and lawyers they have, with no real threat of being sued from inside or outside their sphere.
    Why else would they be so bold as to go after a publication like the NY Times which has engaged in far less false or defamatory rhetoric as has the nfl on any number of issues?

  35. “The letter directs the Times to preserve all notes, correspondence, emails, recordings, work papers, and other related documents, a clear indication that the NFL is at least considering the possibility of suing.”

    Yeah, you know – all the same things you denied the Brady defense team, like Pash’s notes on the Wells report draft…

  36. There’s zero chance the NFL actually sues the NYT for defamation here. The NFL would not survive all the back-and-forth discovery. Zero chance. This is bluster, designed to muddy the waters and/or intimidate others from following the same course. I hope the NYT sticks it to them.

  37. The league’s behavior during Deflategate seems to have triggered recognition of their behavior in the past in regards to concussions.

    Yeah Roger, you got those draft picks and fines from the Patriots, but oh how badly you lost the war.

    Best part is reading the article and realizing that the accusation is that the NFL was doing shady things in their supposed research and it may be from advice given from tobacco companies. The best argument the NFL can come up with is that the Times had connections to tobacco companies too. But did we expect anything better than an elementary to middle school response from the NFL?

  38. “The letter directs the Times to preserve all notes, correspondence, emails, recordings, work papers, and other related documents, a clear indication that the NFL is at least considering the possibility of suing.”
    ——————————————————-
    Yet the NFL would NOT allow Tom Brady’s defense team access to their notes & their interviews !! Nor would they allow attorney Pash to be questioned by Tom’s lawyer!! All in violation of federal law.

  39. So the NYTimes drew comparisons to the Tobacco Industry’s lying/denial/covering up, and the NFL doing the same, concerning head trauma, in their reporting. So did ESPN and PBS in their documentaries. Because it’s painfully obvious. And all the NFL has to say is there’s no proof they asked Big Tobacco about strategy. Good for The Times, shame on the NFL.

  40. Well, well, well, the worm has turned again! I can honestly say I love the game of football and hate with a passion those who are running it into the ground and those brain dead haters who never get off their soap box complaining about any team that kicks their ass continually believing that everyone is cheating but their own teams.

    Hypocritical, lying, duplicitous fascists running a glorious game like pro football is like Hitler going to the U.N. and complaining that other nations are aggressively attacking Germany and other peace loving nations which is likely to plunge the world into war. It truly sucks that the love of money causes the innocents of this world shear misery 24/7. Take what you need and leave the rest of the food on the table and leave something for the children to eat you greedy bastards.

    Screw Roger Goodell and the owners who cry to him for help in winning games they don’t deserve and may their day of reckoning be not far behind

  41. … The NFL lies.

    It’s amazing just how inept the leaders of the NFL really are.

    I don’t even care if the NFL is right on everyone of their accusations to the NY Times, in effect they’re appearing to deny the whole CTE/football correlation issue.

    It looks as foolish and sneaky as Tobacco and the optics of this response will help tear down the NFL.

    +1 point for Mark Cuban.

  42. BAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHA.!!!! The NFL threatening Libel!!!!!

    BAHAHAAHAHAHAHAA!

    Way to go NFL, you just got the NYT to give a darn about your lying ways. Prepare for the worst. You have lied and libeled so many in recent years

  43. So a bunch of Pats fans point to everything the corporate NFL does is “hypocritical.”

    Oh, and the above post so much proves this point when it states to preserves all items, and you want to give Pash a hard time? What about Tommy boy preserving his phone? You all want it only your way.

    Need I point out, that the actions between the League, the Patriots, and Tom Brady, were not covered by a court, such as a defamation suit would be. The fact that the league appealed a court ruling in the Brady ball deflation matter was over the validity of the CBA to allow the league’s governance over that issue.

    I care about concussions, but I don’t. To me, there are too many football players, retired and active, who will state they knew there were (generalized) risks to playing football. Over the last 50 years, has one NFL player predicated whether they played football or not, based on whether the NFL said it was safe? I think not!

  44. “bigbits2 says:
    Mar 29, 2016 12:50 PM
    The nfl knows they are at the top of the legal food chain because of the mountain of money and lawyers they have, with no real threat of being sued from inside or outside their sphere.
    Why else would they be so bold as to go after a publication like the NY Times which has engaged in far less false or defamatory rhetoric as has the nfl on any number of issues?”


    Only they are not at the top. They are teetering on the edge of oblivion with this concussion issue, and their incredible incompetence has provided a massive opening for credible journalists to bore in and expose them for all that they are.

    The NYT will not back down. They will ramp it up.

  45. You start messing with a newspaper as powerful as the NY Times, that buys ink by the train load and paper from a million trees, you are going to get burned, for sure. Don’t get me wrong. the Times sucks, as they are biased in favor of the Democrat Party. But in the 1964 New York Times v Sullivan case before the Supreme Court, they won a case of libel that still is the benchmark of all libel cases.

  46. I don’t watch football for the offseason drama. If I needed drama, I’d tune in the soap operas. It is crazy to see how many supposed fans live for the off field drama. Personally, I am bored. Training camp can’t get here soon enough.

  47. One thing to go after Gawker but an entirely different to tackle the NY Times. Mr. Goodell would be wise to just leave this at the “huff and puff” level. My guess is that there is not a single NFL poobaa that wants to go thru the depositions that the suit would bring including Roger.

    The fans don’t care about this story nor do the beer and car commercial guys. Some lawyers for players might but very little in comparison to the notoriety that an actual suit brings. My outsider guess is that the NFL would look lousy even for the judges who haven’t seem the Will Smith version.

  48. Here comes the Fan Boy Army with their Goodell hate. Hey Army, when will you learn that Goodell is a mere tool for the majority consensus of the 32 owners?

    Oh, BTW, since you have zero business experience, please be advised that the subject matter of this PFT post is serious shat. Have fun Fan Boy Army! Cookie time in 10 minutes!

  49. Frustrating to get railroaded by a false report isn’t it Roger? Now you know how the Pats feel. Quit whining and take it like a man like Kraft did.

  50. Sounds like we’ll all be glad when they finally shut this league down. We hate them so much.

  51. With each passing day, Goodell resembles Captain Queeg of The Caine Mutiny just a little bit more.

  52. They need to Fire Goodell and Ted Wells for this pronto! I dont even care if they are to blame, they need to take the fall for something in the name of karma!

  53. iowahbr says:
    Mar 29, 2016 1:21 PM

    One thing to go after Gawker but an entirely different to tackle the NY Times. Mr. Goodell would be wise to just leave this at the “huff and puff” level. My guess is that there is not a single NFL poobaa that wants to go thru the depositions that the suit would bring including Roger.

    Since the NFL is primarily interested in the field of public perception, what’s really important here is the threat and creating the “perception” that the NY Times report is flawed. And we already see some of the drones here buying into that story.

    I agree – the NFL is very unlikely to actually sue the NY Times. Many of the accusations made are not only unsupported, but also ridiculous to anybody who reads the story. The story is well-written, with many qualifications taking care to not over-accuse the NFL.

    The NFL ownership group is populated by some exceptionally emotionally immature billionaires. They’re used to getting their way, and they don’t let trifles like “facts” get in their way.

  54. I think if Goodell was smart he would set up a punishment committee to deal with all the felons that are involved with the NFL . He is only damaging himself by trying to do too much alone.

  55. As long as the NFL is selling out 32 stadiums on Sundays, they’ll have all the financial power they need to bully whoever they want to.

  56. cma1973 says:
    Quit whining and take it like a man like Kraft did.
    —————-
    You mean like when Kraft* cried 2 weeks ago wanting his picks back?

  57. So let me get this straight. The NFL thinks it is unfair to allege something without extensive evidence to support the accusation because it is false ans defamatory. Isn’t that what deflategate is based upon? Furthermore they do not want to be associated or compared to the tobacco industry. Didn’t Ted Wells hire the same firm the the tobacco industry used “back in the day”? How hypocritical can they be? I hope Roger the idiot finally gets his what he deserves, a swift kick in the ass right out the door.

  58. devindenv says: Mar 29, 2016 12:36 PM

    Sorry, but most of us KNEW back in the 70’s and 80’s that head trauma (i.e., concussions and the like) lead to problems later in life. All we had to do was look at Muhammad Ali and other boxers. This myth that the NFL was hiding information, that had the players known, would have prompted something different (some not to play, others to push for rules and regualtions) is what is FALSE!!!! Mike Webster would not have done anything differently; Ken Stabler would not have taken a stand to make changes to the game; Junior Seau would not have demanded more information, studies, etc. before taking the field.

    Hell, those of us that never got paid to play (in HS or college) still played knowing there were risks- maybe not the specific risks, but risks nonetheless. To now revise history and claim that the NFL (and by extension, NCAA, high school federations, youth leagues) are somehow negligent or responsible for not enumerating all the specific risks is as disingenuous as it is absurd.

    ……………………

    Wrong, there are still owners like Jerry Jones who do not believe football causes CTE and the NFL suppressed research by hand picking scientists who were less critical of them. And while there obviously were known physical tolls from previous generations, no one knew the extent. Players are losing their minds in their early 40’s and some even earlier, not when they are sitting in a retirement home and old and losing their health anyway.
    And that is even aside from the glaring point that the NFL has historically taken terrible care of its ex players while today’s league experiences unprecedented growth and wealth.

  59. collectordude says:
    Mar 28, 2016 11:06 AM
    The owners say whatever they want because there is no one in authority at the NFL main office in NY.
    goodell is a puppet of the owners. Nothing more.
    ==============================
    Nonsense. Goodell is no puppet. But he’s like Bill Clinton was as President. Before he said anything about anything he took a poll and then came out with his position. Goodell does the same thing. He knows which owners are in which cabal on every single issue. And the members change from issue to issue. The position he takes is always based on the cabal in power on that issue.
    What’s Goodell’s skin in the game? Nothing. You can bet he’s telling Irsay to speak up knowing the guy can’t put two intelligent words together. And will come out some time later saying thanks to him (Goodell) he has limited the owner’s liability to only $250 billion.
    Goodell has the owners wrapped around his fingers. Not the same fingers mind you, but wrapped around them never the less.
    The perfect puppet master always appears as though he is the puppet.

  60. It will be interesting if the NFL did pursue a defamation suit because they have to open up their records just as the defense would. Not sure if the NFL would be up for that.

  61. HA! It’s all been said already, but are they serious? Really?? Hypocrisy means “to criticize someone for a fault you also possess.”

    I’ll toss this one on the fire for good measure…..

    “beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye” without considering “the beam that is in thine own.”

  62. Funny “Big Tobacco” pushed they posion overseas to pad their pockets and the NFL is trying to move to London.

  63. Oh, oh, me so bad! Me hate Goodell!! Me tough can take on NFL. Me Fan Boy Army. Nobody mess with us!!

    Hey Fan Boy Army, did you ever realize that it is 99.9% likely that the owner of your team is directly behind all of Goodell’s actions and words? Yes, the 32 owners of the NFL team are Goodells BOSS (Gasp!!!).

    If you hate him so strongly, why not put money where your comic book mouth is and boycott your own team?? Not sayin’ but really just sayin’

    You may go now.

  64. It’s kind of funny in a way: one group of liberals causing trouble for another group of liberals.

    There are parallels with tobacco lawsuits: football players should already know about the dangers involved with repeated concussions just like smokers have been warned about the dangers involved with smoking.

    The trick would be finding players who didn’t know about the dangers during the alleged period that the NFL knew about it but kept it secret. Good luck with that.

    NFL players have already been exposed to head trauma in high school and college. I don’t see how you can sort out what damage was caused by the NFL. Is the name Jahvid Best familiar to anyone?

  65. Perhaps the NFL should retract their “11 of 12” story

    Or perhaps retract Goodell’s lie that Brady asserted he had no conversations about DeflateGate with Jastremski after the story broke

    Or perhaps retract Well’s statement that the NFL didn’t want or need Brady’s Cellphone seeing as Goodell inexplicably changed his mind about that and used it to justify a rejection of Brady’s appeal

    Or best yet – retract the Owners rule that says the Commissioner “shall be a person of unquestioned integrity”

    Because in case everyone failed to notice, Goodell has NO integrity

  66. Wow!! Putting the NY Times on notice to preserve any and all notes
    and data relied upon for the potential defamation lawsuit.
    ( I find it hilarious that the league denied Brady and his counsel raw notes of the Well’s investigation) This is clearly Roger Goodell and that
    temper of his. Those of us who know Roger know he is thin skinned and was always a competitive person who hates to lose. Slow down
    Roger. The last thing the NFL needs is more litigation, more facts about what it knew or should have known about concussions., I hear
    the league and helmet manufacturers knew more than they would like to admit. Of course the concussion settlement contains non-disclosure
    clauses that would not allow the release of what the NFL knew. Roger
    If you file the defamation action all that bad stuff will come out!!!
    How about this approach …” The study was our first attempt to determine the effects of concussion on player safety. The data reviewed at the time did not include all concussions as a result of
    Inconsistent diagnosis by trainers and team doctors. We at the NFL
    are committed to improving diagnosis protocals and the treatment of
    conclusions.”

  67. does the NFL really want to open that door by suing the New York Times? (granted, it is newspaper) What level of risk do they (the NFL) expose themselves too by opening the door about how thorough they’ve been in their concussion research? or how lacking they’ve been in their research and what it could really expose. They’d of been better off leaving it rest.

  68. Just savoring the irony of this situation. I’m sure the league office will find some other issue to do a bait and switch.

    CTE what CTE … ask Jerrah or high druggie buddy Irsay.

  69. Perfect – the NFL versus the New York Times. Two New York entities where any resemblance to truth is purely coincidental.

  70. I also like how Pash is cc’d on the letter. It makes his various emails stonewalling over all the false and defamatory leaks to ESPN about Deflategate even more hilarious. If anyone knows anything about making wild accusations without any facts, it’s him.

  71. The NFL really has no business talent whatsoever, and it should be clear the deflate gate dishonesty and shenanigans will have an impact on the league’s overall health in a severely negative way. And now, they have no moves. They can’t admit truth in deflate gate or they’ll appear dishonest. They can’t admit truth in CTE for obvious reasons. The reality here is that for us who like and enjoy football, players need to be made fully aware of the extent of the risks associated with playing, and since they have so much at stake, they deserve a larger piece of the pie.

    Stock in football ownership is absolutely cratering. Player stock is rising.

    Place your bets.

  72. Goodell will find his puppet, he always does.
    He got Ted Wells to steer the Wells report in his favor,
    He got Mike Martz to give his stamp of approval for how Spyagte was investigated ( granted – with a little embellishing of what Martz actually said/thought)
    And now he will some NY Times reporter to say all the right things in NFL favor.
    GoodellMustGo😊

  73. If I were an executive in the Big Tobacco industry I would certainly vote to pursue litigation against the Times.

    Big Tobacco is obviously a slime pit inhabited by low forms of life but they don’t deserve to be compared to the likes of the NFL. The pond scum over at 365 Park are far worse.

    It is particularly reckless, dangerous and pernicious to have the Times draw a link from Big Tobacco to the NFL.

  74. The only thing the NFL cares about is money. That’s the only reason Roger Goodell is still cimissioner. And if this NY Times investigation leads to the NFL getting scrutinize like big tobacco and paying massive fines, penalties, or settlements then that would be great because it would be the only thing that would get the owners’ attention and possibly lead to the reassignment of Goodell. FYI the NFL doesn’t fire people that high profile. It would mean the owners admitting they made a mistake.

  75. Spygate, Greg Hardy, Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice, Deflategate…Remember NFL, what goes around comes around, and this one is going to bite the NFL’s collective asses big time!

  76. Time unload that 250 million dollar defamation suit, Tom.

    Fly in on a helicopter, land in Manhattan, walk right in and put it on Goodell’s desk.

    From there, we can open up Goodell’s phone and emails and show the world how he lied about Spygate as well and just who Goodell was colluding with there, too.

  77. Apparently Patriots fans are going to use every opportunity to whine about Deflategate between now and when the sun uses up its hydrogen and swells into a red giant, and then they will still be pointing to the sun’s expansion as evidence of the physics of inflation even as they gasp their last breaths on a dying planet. (Then the sun will die back into a white dwarf, and any fans still living will start harping on the physics of the shrinkage.)
    Dallas was punished for doing exactly what the league said they could do in the uncapped year, and they whined for a few months and then moved on. Both teams had justification for complaining about the NFL’s actions, but one got over it. Weird when Jerry Jones is the mature one.

  78. Oh the hypocrisy! And I love the heavy-handed threatening letter (it’s as if Moonie Manning is already Commissioner!). But anyway, the NFL would struggle in a defamation case against the NYT because established news media have more latitude to report what they think is newsworthy. Beyond a mere retraction, the NFL would have to prove the reporting was entirely malicious rather than mistaken, which is a tall order, and the NFL doesn’t want or need more protracted publicity on the issue, let alone the opening of all it’s skeleton-packed closets.

  79. 6thsense10 says:
    Mar 29, 2016 2:55 PM

    The only thing the NFL cares about is money. That’s the only reason Roger Goodell is still cimissioner. And if this NY Times investigation leads to the NFL getting scrutinize like big tobacco and paying massive fines, penalties, or settlements then that would be great because it would be the only thing that would get the owners’ attention and possibly lead to the reassignment of Goodell. FYI the NFL doesn’t fire people that high profile. It would mean the owners admitting they made a mistake.
    ——————

    Goodell is the fall guy for the owners. They’d fire him in an instant if it served their interests.

  80. mattbilleauthor says:
    Mar 29, 2016 3:07 PM

    Apparently Patriots fans are going to use every opportunity to whine about Deflategate between now and when the sun uses up its hydrogen and swells into a red giant, and then they will still be pointing to the sun’s expansion as evidence of the physics of inflation even as they gasp their last breaths on a dying planet. (Then the sun will die back into a white dwarf, and any fans still living will start harping on the physics of the shrinkage.)
    Dallas was punished for doing exactly what the league said they could do in the uncapped year, and they whined for a few months and then moved on. Both teams had justification for complaining about the NFL’s actions, but one got over it. Weird when Jerry Jones is the mature one.
    ———————

    If we’re still talking about at that point, it will be because Goodellbot, commissioner of the Galactic Football League, has dragged it out that far, searching the galaxy for any court of justice that will respect his authority.

    Kraft tried to move on, and let it go, until he found out just how duplicitous the league office was.

    Patriots fans are ready to move on, but since Goodell can’t accept defeat, it is still going on.

  81. Ooooh, they’ve been exposed! Ah Ha, Goodell and his cronies are going down! Brady is gonna get all the NFLs assets when he sues! OMG, we’re watching the fall of the NFL!….. wadda bunch of schleps. The amount of cluelessness is breath taking.

  82. The NFL cannot dispute the CTE evidence….so instead it mounts a campaign against the NYT premise that they are treating CTE like Big Tabacco treated cancer. Its smoke and mirrors folks…CTE is real…and Goddell et al know it. Any kind of smoke screen that the NFL can throw between them and the truth will save them money…for a while. This is all about mitigating lawsuit damage going forward.

  83. So, what’s the outcome of all of this? A label?

    Warning: The Surgeon General Has Determined That Playing Football is Hazardous to Your Health.

  84. mattbilleauthor says:
    Mar 29, 2016 3:07 PM
    Apparently Patriots fans are going to use every opportunity to whine about Deflategate between now and when the sun uses up its hydrogen and swells into a red giant, and then they will still be pointing to the sun’s expansion as evidence of the physics of inflation even as they gasp their last breaths on a dying planet. (Then the sun will die back into a white dwarf, and any fans still living will start harping on the physics of the shrinkage.)
    Dallas was punished for doing exactly what the league said they could do in the uncapped year, and they whined for a few months and then moved on. Both teams had justification for complaining about the NFL’s actions, but one got over it. Weird when Jerry Jones is the mature one.

    ——————
    Goodell could easily remedy the situation. He could share the findings of the ball pressure measurements from last season, admit he was wrong, apologize and give the Patriots back their draft picks. This would be the respectable thing to do and go a long way in proving that he really cares about the integrity of the league. But he does not. He only cares about two things: being unchallenged and being right.

  85. Pats fans are actually ENJOYING this?? Football players are dying young or can’t remember their children’s names, but at least this clears Tom Brady of cheating! I wonder if Mosi Tatupu would enjoy this karma? Or if it helps his family find closure?

  86. Is it possible to defame the NFL beyond what it’s own actions and statements already have?
    To the posters with the fanboy army comments I would simply say that many of us love the game itself even while we are concerned with it’s direction and fear for it’s future at the hands of it’s supposed stewards. If you aren’t concerned with the rationality of an organization that can steal over $100M from the shared funds pool under the guise of ‘an accounting snafu’ that we have heard almost no follow up on but cries foul when it is brought to task on other issues the rest of us can only wonder who the actual fanboys are.

  87. Spazz says:
    Mar 29, 2016 3:58 PM
    Pats fans are actually ENJOYING this??
    ____________________________
    No, but Pats fans enjoy seeing Goodell and his league office be exposed for the frauds that they are.

    As a Pats fan who lived through Daryl Stingley and other tragedies (the latest being Kevin Turner) the NFL needs to learn how to truly be transparent and have integrity as they so often claim. If they were just honest about the situation and would seek real solutions, they would have much more credibility than trying to dispute every piece of evidence linking concussions/CTE to the violence of the game.

  88. One other comment …no one knows the law of defamation like the NY Times. In law school when studying defamation the lead case is
    New York Times vs Sullivan where the Supreme Court established
    the requirement that where the defamed person is a public person the
    person must show ” actual malice ” on the part of the publisher.
    In other words it is a very tough uphill battle if the NFL chooses
    to litigate. However in light of Goodell’s action in the Brady case it seems as if Goodell does not seem to mind bad publicity to prove a point. You want to draw Roger? ( sic) …..go way now this one is no good for you.”

  89. IF the NFL sues the NYT and IF Tom Brady sues the NFL for 31 Billion Dollars, the NFL will have an impartial jury in charge. Brady will own the league and can rent the teams out to their current owners.

  90. Tag’s going to pop up and eat these guys alive. The Times should’ve picked on Goodell … that’s a gimme.

  91. ebdug says:
    Mar 29, 2016 5:15 PM

    Tag’s going to pop up and eat these guys alive. The Times should’ve picked on Goodell … that’s a gimme.
    ————————

    What?

  92. Surf Bandits says:
    Mar 29, 2016 5:09 PM

    N Y Times is NOT writing a retraction.
    ———————–

    Why would they? They’ve already debunked the other two letters the NFL sent them.

    The NFL really needs to look into changing whomever it is that is giving them legal counsel.

  93. I would demand the same thing!!

    Imagine a professional organization built on integrity printing a scathing story based on innuendo, supposition and things taken completely out of context to further a predisposed agenda.

    It’s unconscionable!

  94. Is there one person left out there commenting that likes the NFL? I hate that they change the rules all the time but other than that it’s the best thing on TV bar none.

    New York Times doesn’t need the NFL? Then how come their propaganda only gets pub when they bring up the most popular sport in America.

    You’re reading PFT, I’d think at least some of you still like football..

  95. stew48 says:
    Mar 29, 2016 6:18 PM

    All the defenders of the NYT are probably Hilary supporters!
    ————————-

    That, or they are people with functioning brains.

    What is it going to take for you defenders of the NFL to wake up and face reality?

  96. Dear Beavis and Butthead Fan Boy Army. You hate Goodell. We get that. Despite the fact that he is only a tool/puppet of the majority vote of the 32 NFL owners, you want to beat him up really bad. Yeah! Make him cry because FB Army is sooooo dangerous and tough. The FBA doesn’t mess around, no sir!!

    If you really feel this way, why not go to the real source of your hate, the owner of your team. Yeah, Fire Beavis, Fire!!! Show him who the real boss is by boycotting his product, ie your NFL team. Refuse to watch, read or talk about your team!!! Come on Beavis Heads, show us you have some stones!

  97. “Pats fans are actually ENJOYING this??”

    Enjoying seeing Goodell humiliate himself.

    I will also point that it is far more than just Pats fans enjoying that fact.

  98. All you have to do is watch the Movie League of Denial
    The NFL did everything in the world to crush Dr Omalu, who originally found this in Steelers lineman Iron Mike Webster. They finally forced him into a small practice in Rural nowaresville!
    They knew for sure this was an issue and did everything to cover it up..
    If you don’t believe me Watch the movie for yourself!
    It is on You Tube!
    The NFL is just another Big Corporation where players are just pawns and only worth anything until they can’t play.

  99. mattbilleauthor says:
    Mar 29, 2016 3:07 PM

    Apparently Patriots fans are going to use every opportunity to whine about Deflategate between now and when the sun uses up its hydrogen and swells into a red giant, and then they will still be pointing to the sun’s expansion as evidence of the physics of inflation even as they gasp their last breaths on a dying planet. (Then the sun will die back into a white dwarf, and any fans still living will start harping on the physics of the shrinkage.)
    Dallas was punished for doing exactly what the league said they could do in the uncapped year, and they whined for a few months and then moved on. Both teams had justification for complaining about the NFL’s actions, but one got over it. Weird when Jerry Jones is the mature one.
    _______________________________________
    Says the troll whining about the Patriots on a message board…

    Humm…Refresh all our memories. When was Goodell, NFL ESPN, Ravens & Colts all caught in repeated lies during the Dallas salary cap issue? What did the Federal Judges say about it? What’s that? We can’t hear you…

    Not our fault you can’t tell the difference between the two situations…

    Also, funny how the hater trolls have no problem taking shots at the Patriots for months, but as the public opinion tide turns, they want it to end. I’d want everyone to “get over it” too, if the guy I was supporting was getting exposed as a lair at every turn. You’ve been duped by a master marketer. There’s something for you to “Get Over”…

    Run along now…

  100. bigbroncomama says:
    Mar 29, 2016 1:27 PM

    Here comes the Fan Boy Army with their Goodell hate. Hey Army, when will you learn that Goodell is a mere tool for the majority consensus of the 32 owners?
    _____________________________________
    Hey troll, we all understand that Goodell is the punching bag for the 32 owners. They’ve offered him up, so we’re punching him..You don’t think the owners get the message when they see how the fans react to their lying mouth piece the way we do?

    You act like you’re telling us something we don’t know. We are not going to write 31 posts to 31 different owners.

    Especially when it seems to get under your skin so much!

  101. “What is it going to take for you defenders of the NFL to wake up and face reality?”

    A higher level of education than the 3rd or 4th grade that they barely managed to get through ?

  102. Spazz says:
    Mar 29, 2016 3:58 PM

    Pats fans are actually ENJOYING this?? Football players are dying young or can’t remember their children’s names, but at least this clears Tom Brady of cheating! I wonder if Mosi Tatupu would enjoy this karma? Or if it helps his family find closure?———————————————————————————————————————————————————–Pats fans are laughing at the fact the NFL wants a media retraction. If you want to spin it your way to make us look bad, that’s your issue, pal. Have you heard that the Patriots are early super bowl favorites? Sounds like you already know.

  103. suhmonster90 says:
    Mar 29, 2016 6:33 PM

    Is there one person left out there commenting that likes the NFL? I hate that they change the rules all the time but other than that it’s the best thing on TV bar none.

    New York Times doesn’t need the NFL? Then how come their propaganda only gets pub when they bring up the most popular sport in America.

    You’re reading PFT, I’d think at least some of you still like football..
    ——————————–

    I love NFL football. That doesn’t mean I have to love the bozos running it. They are guilty of conduct detrimental to the integrity of the game.

  104. 15o comments all ripping the NFL. If you don’t like it don’t watch. You all realize you don’t have to be a victim right? Internet commenters are such whiny losers.

  105. What does good ell do when he has to testify? He never answers a question with anything even remotely called a legitimate response. He’ll be eaten alive by any competent cross examination. He’s been lying and laughing at the fans for years, now it’s our turn roger.

  106. When the Lawsuits start coming in Nationally, it will mean the end of the NFL as we know it.
    Prices will be about $500.00 a ticket..
    If they want to use Big Tobacco as a guideline.
    What were they a about a buck a pack? What are they now about $6.00?….. I don’t smoke but you know the Billionaire owners aren’t going to take it in the shorts! They are going to pass the buck, Until
    every contract signed has an anti Contact encephalopathy paragraph. In essence, play at your own risk..
    But the NFL is going to get smacked AND HARD from the minute they received proof and tried to bury the issue! This was back in Pete Rozells watch
    in the later 80’s.
    One of the NFL’s Attorney’s was overheard saying if we don’t kill this, it will mean the end of the NFL!

  107. If the NFL chooses to appeal the conclusions of the NY Times’ investigation ,
    the NY Times will be hearing the appeal of the NY Times’ decision.
    And NO, NFL, you can not see the investigatory
    notes from the NY Times.

  108. Organization that employs felons and promotes gambling ignores RICO statutes and demands retraction from Times.

  109. I hope the NFL sues the NYT. Would be fun to watch the case with serial liar Goodell and his corrupt mob dragged into court and forced to testify under oath. And forced to release all documents, emails, even their cell phones. This suit could go on for many months or even years. Exactly what the NFL deserves.

  110. So wait…

    When you smash your head against another player’s helmet or the concrete (under the turf) hard enough and get a concussion, and then you do it repeatedly for several years… there are some player somewhere claiming they didn’t know that was bad for you?

    Yeah, I get that the NFL lies at every opportunity to bolster their own profit margins, but I don’t really understand the premise that here was something to hide here. And I hate Goodell as much as any Pats fan does.

    It’s all part of the reason those players get paid such a ridiculously extravagant amount of money. Now that this has been publicized, how many of these modern day gladiators are going to walk away from that paycheck?

  111. Goodell won’t sue the NY Times. No way he will put himself through the discovery process and open the skeletons in his closet to the light of day.

  112. The NFL isn’t doing themselves any favors by keeping this in the news like this. You’d think the last thing they’d want is another court battle revolving around the concussion issue but even just continuing to address the Times thing doesn’t seem very smart to me.

    But it’s hard to remember the last time I thought the league actually did something right.

  113. How does it go?

    Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

    There’s way too much circumstantial evidence to suggest they aren’t guilty.

    You all know who you are. Just sayin’.

  114. nbptma1 says:
    Mar 30, 2016 8:02 AM
    Didn’t the NYT print some incendiary comments about the Duke lacrosse players BEFORE they had all the information????

    They had to or be vilified by the race baiters.

  115. fireroger says:
    Mar 30, 2016 12:27 PM
    How does it go?

    Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

    There’s way too much circumstantial evidence to suggest they aren’t guilty.

    You all know who you are. Just sayin’.
    _______________________________________

    Circumstantial evidence = “In my opinion” or “I speculate that”…

    Not good enough when surrounded by leaked mis-information/lies. Those lies taint the circumstantial evidence by negatively swaying people’s opinions and speculations, which is then used to determine guilt or innocence, based on the circumstantial evidence.

    You all know who you are…Just sayin’

  116. bigbear331313 says:
    Mar 30, 2016 4:01 PM
    Circumstantial evidence = “In my opinion” or “I speculate that”…

    Not good enough when surrounded by leaked mis-information/lies. Those lies taint the circumstantial evidence by negatively swaying people’s opinions and speculations, which is then used to determine guilt or innocence, based on the circumstantial evidence.

    You all know who you are…Just sayin’
    ===================
    My comments were more tongue in cheek. I think we agree on where we are re: forming conclusions based on circumstantial evidence.

  117. How does it go?

    Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

    There’s way too much circumstantial evidence to suggest they aren’t guilty.

    You all know who you are. Just sayin’.

    ———————————————————

    What circumstantial evidence would that be? The texts that rant about over inflating the footballs to p iss off Brady? There are no texts about deflating but many ranting about over inflating footballs (eff ing watermelons, etc) after they got yelled at for the footballs being 16 psi (2.5 above the legal limit). And what were their texts after the footballs where at 16? Nothing about deflating them or that they should have deflated them, absolutely nothing about that. Hmmm, how can that be? In fact, the text from Jastremski to his fiancee was “they should have been 13” psi. Wow, that’s overwhelming evidence that the Pats hat a secret scheme to deflate the footballs right into the middle of the “legal” range. How devious!!!!! Cheaters!!!!

    You are right though, where there is smoke there is fire. Goodell’s pants have been a raging bonfire. The nfl leaked lies to the media, lied to the Patriots. Goodell got caught lying about Brady’s testimony. It has been discovered that the Wells report contains fraud and deceit including the falsification of the transient curve data in figures 24-26. You are right, a huge raging bonfire.

    You really have to get past the rudimentary understanding of deflategate to have a conversation with adults that have looked at the details.

  118. fireroger says: How does it go?

    Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

    There’s way too much circumstantial evidence to suggest….
    ————————————————-

    Regardless of how anyone wants to interpret the circumstantial evidence

    No one disagrees that the DIRECT evidence regarding the inflation/deflation of the footballs shows that there was no deflation that took place

    Let me explain this in a way that the Hatriots can understand

    Let’s say you’re accused of murder – given a wealth of circumstantial evidence against you.

    Then the murder victim himself comes strolling into court, as alive as can be

    Sadly, the jury is made up of clueless NFL fans who sentence you to death given the “circumstantial evidence” of the murder of a man who has proven to still be alive

  119. Let me explain this in a way that the Hatriots can understand

    —-

    Let me explain this in a way that you whiny Patriots fans can understand. The NFL is not a court of law.

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