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New York Times has no public response to retraction demand from NFL

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The NFL has launched an extensive attack on the New York Times in response to a double-barreled article regarding flawed concussion research and alleged ties to the tobacco industry. In response, the New York Times has nothing to say publicly.

Contacted by PFT Live with a request for a reporter, editor, or anyone who would address the situation on the air, the New York Times had this to say: “We have already responded in detail to the first few rounds of [the NFL’s] complaints about our story. To date, we note, the [NFL] has not found a single factual error in our reporting and now appears to be trying to divert attention away from the article itself.”

Some would disagree with the assessment that the NFL is trying to divert attention from the article. The six-page letter sent by the league’s outside legal counsel demanding a retraction focuses exclusively on the article, embracing its content in an effort to point out what the NFL contends are factual flaws.

Some also would disagree that the NFL has not found a single factual error. While every word written by the Times may technically be factually accurate, the league believes the story was presented in a way that creates a factually incorrect impression that the league falsified concussion research as part of a plan hatched in reliance on advice from those who helped the tobacco industry falsify its own research.

Implicit in the decision of the Times to say nothing publicly about the NFL’s letter is the position that a retraction won’t immediately be issued. Which is hardly a surprise; when a media company takes a strong position on a controversial story, abandoning that position would be a sign of major weakness.

The next question is whether the Times will privately respond to the league’s letter, and whether the league will follow through on a fairly clear threat/promise to sue. Whether the NFL will pursue that tactic will be the subject of another post later today.

If, in the interim, you’re curious to hear more about that specific angle, dial up PFT Live at 6:00 a.m. ET on Sirius 213, XM 202, and NBCSportsRadio.com.

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60 Responses to “New York Times has no public response to retraction demand from NFL”
  1. Who Me? says: Mar 30, 2016 5:39 AM

    One has to wonder if the NFL Owners are so blind to the fact that under Goodell the league flops from one public relations disaster to another.

    The greatest sport in the world is being tarnished by the egos of billionaires and the incompetence of Goodell.

    With all of the serious issues that have surrounded football, and threaten its very existence, the league has devoted most of its time and money trying to destroy the Patriots over a non-issue psi scam.

    While Rome burns Nero fiddles.

  2. thesmartest1 says: Mar 30, 2016 5:43 AM

    Good job NYT. You run your business ethically and maybe the NFL will too.

  3. ipdaily69 says: Mar 30, 2016 6:07 AM

    The NFL deploys bully tactics and misdirection to silence dissenters. The longer Roger and the Full 32 deny reality that their sport scrambles brains, the bigger the lawsuits. Sad these money grubbers willingly choose to be on the wrong side of history…..like big tobacco and asbestos.

  4. yette1 says: Mar 30, 2016 6:22 AM

    Goodell – When you admit that you and your cronies lied in court about Brady and Framegate, the NY Times will admit that they got their story right.

    NFL Fans don’t trust anything that comes out of your mouth. Keep your head on a swivel.

  5. TheBrownsareClowns says: Mar 30, 2016 6:28 AM

    And why would the NY Times issue an apology. The NFL has consistently lied about everything they do. Just because the NFL doesnt like it doesnt mean the Times is lying.

    Too bad NFL stop your corruption, unethical and criminal behavior and handle your business ehtically and all the negative press you get will cease. Criminals like the NFL dont stop crimes until they are in prison. Yeah NFL you are criminals and corrupt

  6. rportkid says: Mar 30, 2016 6:36 AM

    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.

  7. mindelm42 says: Mar 30, 2016 7:04 AM

    This story makes no sense…

  8. greenmtnboy31 says: Mar 30, 2016 7:20 AM

    Where was the NFL’s demand for a retraction of Chris Mortenson’s false report on underinflated footballs?

    Was that one ok because it served the NFL’s purposes to prop up their own false position?

  9. tlndma says: Mar 30, 2016 7:42 AM

    “While every word written by the Times may technically be factually accurate, the league believes the story was presented in a way that creates a factual incorrect impression that the league falsified concussion research as part of a plan hatched in reliance on advice from those who helped the tobacco industry falsify its own research.”
    So the Times article was factually accurate while the NFL’s response to it was clearly not, as pointed out by the Time’s response. So who needs to retract what?

  10. davebarnes21 says: Mar 30, 2016 7:51 AM

    sounds alot like how the NFL responded to the New England Patriots organization after lying about them.

    #shoeontheotherfoot
    :)

  11. worldizending says: Mar 30, 2016 7:51 AM

    Actually, they do indeed have a response. The problem is that they can’t stop laughing long enough to release it. Now I am not sure, but I think most of New England is also laughing and shaking their heads.

  12. truthinesshurts says: Mar 30, 2016 7:55 AM

    NY Times stonewalls the stone wall. And there was much rejoicing…

  13. weepingjebus says: Mar 30, 2016 7:59 AM

    According to the Washington Post, the NY Times is standing by its reporting. So I guess the NFL will have to sue, and then Goodell can be deposed about concussion cover ups and the use of “independent” Big Tobacco experts like Exponent. Great plan!

  14. n0hopeleft says: Mar 30, 2016 8:15 AM

    The New York Times is a joke of a media outlet.

    Regardless of whether this story is true, NYT’s strong liberal agenda makes it impossible to read. The morons who run that company should give their papers away for free.

  15. iowahbr says: Mar 30, 2016 8:25 AM

    Don’t need one. Sometimes a silent “bring in on buddy” is the best response to an empty threat.

  16. fireroger says: Mar 30, 2016 8:25 AM

    So the NFL can demand a retraction when they want to. Huh. Who knew?

  17. footballfan441 says: Mar 30, 2016 8:45 AM

    That’s because the NYT is sitting back licking their chops, The NFL has no CBA with the NYT. The NFL can’t be judge, jury and executioner in this case. REAL law will rule this case.

  18. dsigrey says: Mar 30, 2016 8:45 AM

    The NFL and the owners do not want to put themselves out there for discovery. Tough talk, but it will never happen.

  19. Great Caesar's Ghost says: Mar 30, 2016 8:50 AM

    Two big corporations going at it.

  20. cinzano08 says: Mar 30, 2016 8:54 AM

    NFL greed is going to bring them down and I could care less. They need to sweep out the trash at 345 park ave, admit cte connection and deal with it and stop asking taxpayers to fund stadiums. The arrogance of these billionaire owners is clouding their judgement and killing this once great game.

  21. publikwerks says: Mar 30, 2016 8:57 AM

    “Some also would disagree that the NFL has not found a single factual error. While every word written by the Times may technically be factually accurate”

    Then there is no factual error.

    While you may not agree with the conclusions such that the NFL acted much like the tobacco companies did, conclusions are not facts.

    And I’m sorry, but I agree with the Times. The NFL did act like the Tobacco companies. They had false and misleading studies done on concussions. They buried and hid concerns until they could no longer do so.

  22. harrisonhits2 says: Mar 30, 2016 9:00 AM

    Shame, I was hoping it would be along the lines of “suck on it NFL”

  23. raidernation37 says: Mar 30, 2016 9:10 AM

    Ny Times “All the opinions fit to pass off as news”

  24. streetyson says: Mar 30, 2016 9:11 AM

    “Some also would disagree that the NFL has not found a single factual error. While every word written by the Times may technically be factually accurate, the league believes the story was presented in a way that creates a factually incorrect impression”.
    ————————————–
    Well, if every word is factually accurate, it might be able to present an “incorrect impression” but not really a “factually incorrect” one. And I can just see the NFL’s multi-million dollar defamation case in court: “Yes, your honor, the paper stated the facts, but we didn’t care for their tone…”

  25. hatersgonnahatehate says: Mar 30, 2016 9:13 AM

    NFL doesn’t like circumstantial evidence being slanted in a way to sway public opinion…interesting.

  26. pwellz says: Mar 30, 2016 9:23 AM

    The NY Times says they will “Review any new information.”

  27. abninf says: Mar 30, 2016 9:28 AM

    thesmartest1 says:

    Good job NYT. You run your business ethically
    =================================

    LOL

  28. sonhoodoo says: Mar 30, 2016 9:35 AM

    The NYT is just showing the NFL how to do this correctly.

  29. jjackwagon says: Mar 30, 2016 9:36 AM

    The NYT has no need to respond. By keeping quiet and letting the NFL rant, it just makes the the NFL look worse the longer they go.

  30. 6thsense10 says: Mar 30, 2016 9:38 AM

    While every word written by the Times may technically be factually accurate, the league believes the story was presented in a way that creates a factually incorrect impression that the league falsified concussion research as part of a plan hatched in reliance on advice from those who helped the tobacco industry falsify its own research.
    ———-
    Hold up. The same league that was willing to send a player up the river not based on proof but based on “more probable than not” that he did something is now crying about an article that is factually accurate? Maybe the Times reviewed all the facts they had and concluded that it was more probable than not that the NFL was guilty of lying about and covering up the impact of head injuries from playing football. Why don’t the league live by the same standards of proof they use against their players?

  31. Akula says: Mar 30, 2016 9:42 AM

    The NFL vs the New York Times = The Iran vs Iraq war.

  32. atlantacynic says: Mar 30, 2016 9:49 AM

    The NFL is about as likely to sue the NYT as Peyton Manning is to sue Al Jezerra

    Lawsuits mean depositions – I would love to have Roger under oath – I doubt the NFL owners would

  33. rootpain says: Mar 30, 2016 9:52 AM

    Hadn’t really considered this as a possible route to Goodell being fired. But it’s a good one.
    There have been lots of posters that have called for Goodell’s firing. All have been NFL customers in one way or another. But no one with enough clout to do anything about him. But whenever there are that many people who dislike someone, there is probably going to be someone who is powerful who also dislikes the person. And that person(s) may have their own reasons to bring Goodell and the NFL down. With the difference being that they have all the resources to do it. And maybe the owners of the NYTs are just the ones to do it.
    Do I want to see the end to the NFL? Absolutely not. Do I want to see its management and some of its ownership changed for the good of football. Absolutely yes.
    Goodell is a narcissistic bully who cannot and will not face the reality of his limitations. Well he is playing a different game now in a different stadium with different rules. Much more like the gladiators in the Roman coliseum fighting lions to the death. It won’t be so pretty Roger. But you have asked for it with all your arrogant baiting and taunting.

  34. cabosan1978 says: Mar 30, 2016 9:52 AM

    I am a big fan of the NFL – that is why I am on this page. So many haters on here. Goodell is doing a phenomenal job, as are the owners – hence why the league is so popular. The NYT article was complete BS – and they know it with their” no response”.

  35. patriotsticketssince1978 says: Mar 30, 2016 9:55 AM

    Factual accuracy is so confusing to the NFL.

  36. coke4mauk says: Mar 30, 2016 10:06 AM

    Was hoping the front page today would be – simply but boldly – BRING IT ON, ROGER!

    The discovery phase of that trial would be fantastic.

  37. palpablyunfairact says: Mar 30, 2016 10:09 AM

    “Some would disagree with the assessment that the NFL is trying to divert attention from the [NYT] article. The six-page letter sent by the league’s outside legal counsel demanding a retraction focuses exclusively on the article.”

    In a previous post, the author quoted from the NFL’s letter, including a substantial section accusing the NYT of having had ties with big tobacco. This has nothing to do with the content of the article or its accuracy and is surely an attempt by the league to divert attention from the article itself.

  38. mogogo1 says: Mar 30, 2016 10:09 AM

    This will continue to get worse for the NFL. The more Goodell and his cronies protest, the more you know they are afraid of having additional things uncovered.

    And Goodell’s treatment of subordinates–like the story where right after his $40 million salary had been announced him questioning if a guy was worth his tiny paycheck to his face– makes you wonder if somebody won’t stick a nice fat package of documents in the mail one of these days.

  39. TB12RALLYCRY says: Mar 30, 2016 10:56 AM

    Oh Yea Goodell……..well Hows it feel to want?? tough beans

  40. pwellz says: Mar 30, 2016 11:12 AM

    atlantacynic says:
    Mar 30, 2016 9:49 AM
    The NFL is about as likely to sue the NYT as Peyton Manning is to sue Al Jezerra

    Lawsuits mean depositions – I would love to have Roger under oath – I doubt the NFL owners would

    I almost think he’s dumb enough to try. Roger in jail would be a god send.

  41. 88ibis says: Mar 30, 2016 11:23 AM

    Blame Goodell if it makes you happy.

    Except, the head trauma problem existed long before Goodell worked for the NFL. The NFL’s first “Blue Ribbon” panel of “Experts” denying the existence of a head trauma problem was created while Goodell was still fetching coffee for league bigwigs. The league demanded a retraction of the original research paper naming CTE about 5 years before Goodell became the commish.

    Goodell is part of the problem, but he didn’t create it, and his bosses want him to stay the course. He’s the guy handed the helm of the Titanic twenty minutes after it hit the iceberg and given instructions to keep the ship from sinking.

  42. ipdaily69 says: Mar 30, 2016 11:33 AM

    The NY Times has to be very comfortable with their position given all Goodell ever does is LIE LIE LIE
    Bring on a lawsuit Roger….lets get some discovery going

  43. bigbroncomama says: Mar 30, 2016 11:35 AM

    The Beavis Fan Boy Army simply doesn’t understand that Goodell is a puppet/tool for the majority vote of the 32 owners. Beavis Fan Boy Army thinks Goodell owns the NFL and is the unquestioned king. LOL at Beavis Fan Boy Army!

  44. freedomofspeechyesway says: Mar 30, 2016 11:37 AM

    How much higher is the CTE rate in ex football players vs. all people?

    Oh, we don’t know? None of this matters then, unless you can prove that it actually is tied to playing football. Which, without a control number, you can’t.

    I have no doubt that there is a link, I just wish someone would provide ACTUAL data via the scientific method.

  45. tylawspick6 says: Mar 30, 2016 11:55 AM

    Arrest, try and convict Goodell and the owners/GMs/coaches involved in the collusion and sabotage, which is illegal.

  46. gr365 says: Mar 30, 2016 11:56 AM

    The League is so corrupt! How can anyone say CTE isn’t linked to concussions (Jerrah) and still be taken seriously?
    The owners are driving this just like Deflatgate thinking article 46 will bail them out. Guess what NFL, you’re not as smart as you think you are.
    Billion Dollar Boys Club are in for a rude awakening. Run to the second circuit again and be sure to ask for Judge Berman!

  47. fjw2 says: Mar 30, 2016 11:59 AM

    I guess it depends on what you define as “all people.” If you compare FB players to boxers, I’d bet they are in similar situations. Or if the control group is all people who have also had concussions, then also similar. But surely you do not suggest that multiple concussions do not present increased risk of long term brain injury? That ship of denial sailed a long time ago.

  48. lambeauheap says: Mar 30, 2016 12:00 PM

    I am a big fan of the NFL – that is why I am on this page. So many haters on here. Goodell is doing a phenomenal job, as are the owners – hence why the league is so popular. The NYT article was complete BS – and they know it with their” no response”.

    There you are Roggy! What, don’t like it when “facts” are presented in such a way as to create a certain impression as desired by the publisher?

    Hopefully this drags on forever. Many smiles in Boston over this irony

  49. forthegoodofthegame says: Mar 30, 2016 12:30 PM

    Perfect. The NYT should copy Jeff Pash’s response to the Patriots, change the names, and publish it back to the NFL.

  50. jalbs says: Mar 30, 2016 12:42 PM

    The NFL continues to be as successful as it in spite of Goodell, not because of Goodell. There have been more scandals during his tenure than I can count. That proves that pretty much anyone can sit in the commissioner’s chair and the league will still make money hand over fist. I don’t think I have seen a commissioner’s office this corrupt, self serving, and tone deaf in the history of sports. I understand that he is a lap dog for the owners so that’s all you need to know about the “integrity” of the owners.

  51. boyso3 says: Mar 30, 2016 12:50 PM

    cabosan1978
    Mar 30, 2016, 9:52 AM EDT
    I am a big fan of the NFL – that is why I am on this page. So many haters on here. Goodell is doing a phenomenal job, as are the owners – hence why the league is so popular. The NYT article was complete BS – and they know it with their” no response”.

    So you think the reason that the NFL is successful is because of the league itself and the owners? So when you tune into a game are you watching it because you enjoy seeing the owners in the owners box? No, you watch it because of the players and what they do on the field. If all the players decided to move on and create their own league would you keep watching the NFL to see the owners or would you watch the new league to see the players. It’s the players that draw the huge ratings and in turn create the money

  52. patriotsticketssince1978 says: Mar 30, 2016 1:11 PM

    The Sports Editor for the NYTimes publicly stated this morning that they are standing by their articles.

    It seemed like a definitive public response to me.

  53. mmack66 says: Mar 30, 2016 1:19 PM

    freedomofspeechyesway says:
    Mar 30, 2016 11:37 AM

    How much higher is the CTE rate in ex football players vs. all people?

    Oh, we don’t know? None of this matters then, unless you can prove that it actually is tied to playing football. Which, without a control number, you can’t.

    I have no doubt that there is a link, I just wish someone would provide ACTUAL data via the scientific method.
    —————-

    CTE generally happens in people that receive repeated blows to the head, so it is more probable than not that people like boxers and football players are going to develop CTE.

  54. whispersd says: Mar 30, 2016 2:58 PM

    There has been a fuller response since Mike posted this. The NY Times has even pointed out that the NFL is falsely accusing the Times of having published accusations that the Times did not, in fact, publish.

    As we have seen so many times in recent years, the NFL just is not very careful when it comes to telling the truth. Which is the polite way of saying it’s run by a pack of liars.

  55. j huber says: Mar 30, 2016 3:07 PM

    It should be no secret that the NFL is all about making money for the owners. They have even added artificial salary caps, and other traps, to make sure wages are minimized/controlled. The players are just disposable pawns.
    And you thought it was a mistake to omit 100 concussions. They are just using the NE Cheaters favorite phrase, “show me the proof.”

  56. TheBrownsareClowns says: Mar 30, 2016 3:31 PM

    Hey Goodell, the Times will get around to their apology right around the time they feel new information has become available to them, kinda like your approach to overturning suspensions, replacing draft picks, returning fine money.

    O yeah never. You wont get your apology

  57. tomsetter123 says: Mar 30, 2016 3:35 PM

    NFL is using the same tactic for CTE that Wells law firm used to defend Phillip Morris (yes,,,Big Tobacco) from RICO charges.

    Wells was an attorney on that case. Phillip Morris his client and he used Exponent Labs to contradict scientific evidence

    You may recall, Wells used Exponent Labs when investigating Deflategate. Their findings appeared in the Wells Report and have since been unanimously criticized by independent scientist

    …Anyone see a pattern here….??

  58. whispersd says: Mar 30, 2016 3:40 PM

    Check the NY Times Sports twitter feed @NYTSports for a link to a PDF containing the Times’ response to the NFL.

    Earlier I posted a link to a paper discussing all the reported cases of CTE in medical literature. Of course, the link was deleted. I won’t post it again, but you can find it at PubMedCentral by searching for “CTE football”.

    If you don’t know what PubMed or PubMedCentral is, Google will help you out there.

  59. atlantacynic says: Mar 30, 2016 4:27 PM

    Old saying by trial lawyers

    “If you have the law, hammer the law. If you have the facts, hammer the facts. If you have neither the law nor the facts, hammer the table”

    The NFL’s response to the NYT article is to hammer the table

  60. m8gaman says: Mar 30, 2016 5:13 PM

    cabosan1978 says:
    Mar 30, 2016 9:52 AM
    I am a big fan of the NFL – that is why I am on this page. So many haters on here. Goodell is doing a phenomenal job, as are the owners – hence why the league is so popular. The NYT article was complete BS – and they know it with their” no response”.
    ==================
    who is paying you off? Nobody in their right mind thinks Goodell is doing a phenomenal job so I ask once again, who is paying you off?

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