NFL, ESPN butt heads over brain research report

AP

This morning, ESPN published a story saying that the NFL “has backed out of one of the most ambitious studies yet on the relationship between football and brain disease.” Almost immediately, the NFL denied it.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy took to Twitter shortly after ESPN published its story and said that the NFL has given money to the National Institutes of Health for brain research, and that the NIH determines which studies that money should finance.

“ESPN story is not accurate. NFL did not pull any funding. NIH makes its own decisions,” McCarthy wrote.

It’s interesting to see that the NFL can, when it wants to, react quickly to an ESPN report it views as inaccurate. That isn’t always the case: Eleven months ago, when ESPN published an inaccurate story about the air pressure levels in the Patriots’ footballs, the NFL made no effort to correct the story, leaving the public with a false impression about the extent to which the footballs were under-inflated.

But this time, the league and ESPN are at odds and the league wants to make that clear. ESPN reports that the league objected to this particular research because it believes that the lead researcher, Boston University neurology and neurosurgery professor Robert Stern, is biased against the NFL. The league insists that it simply doesn’t weigh in on the merits of the studies; to hear the NFL tell it, the league just gave the NIH $30 million for brain research and lets the NIH take it from there.

This isn’t the first time and won’t be the last time that the league and the sports media behemoth that pays the league $1.9 billion a year for Monday Night Football have butted heads over the coverage of brain injuries.

92 responses to “NFL, ESPN butt heads over brain research report

  1. I hope when it come to the NFL’s framegate appeal the panel goes off topic and raises questions about the NFL not refuting false / incorrect reports as it relates to framegate but how on several occasions they have proven to be quick and responsive when it relates to other matters.

    Roger Goodell is grasping at straws and I look forward to the final decision in framegate and for Brady to continue to dominate the NFL.

    #FireGoodell
    #NotMyCommissioner
    #FreeBrady
    #Brady_G.O.A.T.

  2. Goodell lies
    Pash lies
    Vincent lies
    Wells lies
    The sun will rise. The sun will set. And Roger and his henchmen will lie when it suits their needs. We’re all used to it.
    PS…It is comforting to know the NFL’s ex-stand up comic will be deciding the fate of teams’ penalty calls in the playoffs as he sits next to Lord Roger on their Park Avenue day beds.

  3. If it makes the league look bad, they respond in minutes. If they think it benefits them, they let it sit or even hype it. The more interesting thing is that the 11 out of 12 thing eventually blew up in their faces and made them look terrible, defeating the whole purpose of lying about it on the first place, but they have still learned nothing.

  4. I wonder how stuntmen in Will Smith movies have suffered concussions and have cte. Left wing hypocrites make me wanna puke.

  5. Who do you believe when both have been proven liars for their own self interests???

    Been 10 months since ESPN dropped those false reports, citing anonymous league sources, and yet the NFL need disputed it then, and continues to not dispute it now. But in this case, the NFL vehemently denies within 3 minutes of the “false report”….

  6. Least enjoyable football season of my lifetime. My favorite team even currently has the #1 seed.

    For at least me personally, NFL is on it’s way down. The product isn’t as good on the field. The media is negative, the fans are generally negative as well. Greed, the 24 hour news cycle and social media are ruining sports. At least for this fan.

  7. The tail wagging the dog. Biting the hand that feeds it. Pick your metaphor but the take away from this is glorious irony. Suck it NFL and ESPN. The chickens have come home to roost.

  8. These are your heroes trolls!!!! Only one fan base knows the truth about these two lying manipulating scum organizations.

  9. Sort of like arming and funding those terrorist groups overseas to do your dirty work. Eventually, the time will come when you can’t control them anymore and they turn on you.

    Karma Goodell, karma.

  10. Lets keep national politics out of this discussion. The minute you do that people stop thinking and talking. But it does seem like the NFL has a history of ignoring science and not being truthful. That is a real issue with respect to the integrity of the game and the impact it has on the players.

  11. Drove up to Boston last week….left 75 degree weather and woke up in Boston one morning to 40 degree weather. Funny thing happened, my tire pressure warning light was lit….low pressure due to cold temperatures. Funny how that works. Even funnier Goodell and his henchmen refuse to acknowledge that Natural Gas laws even exist.
    Fire Roger and end our national nightmare

  12. ESPN Patriot hit piece about to be published soon.

    Pick any topic –
    Brady’s Nutritionist
    Spygate rehash
    Deflategate appeal
    Stephen Jackson signing from the scrap heap (watch him tear it up next 2 weeks and new investigation will follow)

  13. If the NFL reacted to every inaccurate ESPN report, it would not have conduct its normal business as a professional sports league.

    Just saying…..

  14. I’m happy Brady was eventually exonerated after a needless grueling legal battle. However, it’s still 100% bogus that the Patriots will not have a 1st round pick in the 2016 Draft because they were accused of something with no evidence what so ever.

  15. Not sure I trust the research I’ve seen to date, the NFL, and especially media, for that matter. The researchers have had a strong tendency to extrapolate trends from a small sample of brains that come from players who have exhibited illnesses and then decided to donate their brains for research. Not a good way to structure a study. The NFL is more concerned with money than safety, and the media…enough said.

  16. Ii it me or is Goodell running the NFL like a U.S. Senator runs his office?
    It just seems as soon as there is critcism the PR machine starts to
    pump out denials. Yet when they desire the NFL leaks info or floats
    little tidbits regardless of the harm or,accuracy. I guess Roger learned a little from his dad.

  17. The NFL is engaging in a bit of hair-splitting here. They didn’t “pull” research funding, but they refused to approve the research funding because the doctor heading up the research doesn’t follow the NFL’s script.

    ESPN is pointing out that the NFL’s original claim, that the research funding was “no strings attached” is total bs.

  18. the beginning of the end of professional football as it exists right now. The NFL has turned into a sad version of the WWE. Players don’t know how to tackle….they just project themselves at one another and try to inflict the most harm possible. Todays NFL defender doesn’t need arms…they wouldn’t know how to use them in tackling anyway. Can’t remember the last time I saw an NFL defender wrap up an offensive player. The NFL is self-destructing and it will be a much bigger fall then MLB in 94 or the NBA ever took.

  19. It’s interesting to see that the NFL can, when it wants to, react quickly to an ESPN report it views as inaccurate. That isn’t always the case: Eleven months ago, when ESPN published an inaccurate story about the air pressure levels in the Patriots’ footballs, the NFL made no effort to correct the story, leaving the public with a false impression about the —extent to which the footballs were under-inflated.

    ———————

    Thank you, PFT, for point that out. You may recall the NFL was quick to correct an inaccurate report on the allotted hours given to Brady the day of his appeal hearing.

  20. They should play it safe. You know, wait for someone else to make a report, then link to it and do their own commentary. Oh wait…

  21. cinvis says:
    Dec 22, 2015 12:22 PM

    I wonder how stuntmen in Will Smith movies have suffered concussions and have cte. Left wing hypocrites make me wanna puke.

    —-

    and how do right wing hypocrites make you feel?

  22. NFL, ESPN butt heads…

    Put them both in the concussion protocol, so we don’t have to hear from either of them for several weeks!

    Silence would truly be golden!

  23. The NFL is probably hoping the players will forget all about the issue of brain damage, thanks to all the brain damage the players received.

  24. Another sad example that illustrates how low the NFL will go to win. Remember, the NFL and Ted Wells hired Exponent, researchers that claimed second hand smoke was not harmful, to manipulate the Ideal Gas laws in order to take down the Patriots.
    Roger and the Full 32 are no better than Big Tobacco …..buying science to serve their needs.
    The NFL is just another greedy, corrupt conglomerate ready to steam roll any and all that stand in their way.
    Congrats to the NIH for refusing to bow down to King Roger

  25. The result of the concussion will guarantee two things,
    A fund for players that end up getting this.
    A BIG raise in Ticket and Merchandise prices to fund it.
    Just like the Big Tobacco Lawsuit, the companies just passed the price on and jacked the price per pack 300%.
    Glad I don’t Smoke, or Play Football.

  26. Roger Goodell has one job: Make his bosses (the owners) as much money as possible. He does that, and very well.

    So, if you truly believe in free-market capitalism, you should be praising Goodell, and striving to emulate him in your own workplaces. This is what America is, folks.

    If you want to hate Goodell, then you should go back and examine all those assumptions you’ve mindlessly carried with you since grade school.

    If you can’t do either of these, then you should check out P.T. Barnum…

  27. The NFL buys science to serve their predetermined conclusions.
    Learn from history Roger, you can only hide behind lawyers and piles of cash for so long.
    My advice to Roger…get your compensation up front because you will be fired and scapegoated…..a tactic that buys corrupt conglomerates years as they plan their exit strategy.

  28. So the NFL fired out a response to this supposed “False Report” quickly, aye?

    All the NFL said was “ESPN story is not accurate. NFL did not pull any funding. NIH makes its own decisions”…

    This is COMPLETELY UNTRUE:

    ** “Up until now they have controlled every dollar that they have spent on this issue,” said Eric Nauman, a professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering at Purdue University. **

    So the NIH DOESN’T make all of it’s own decisions (and we’d be idiots to think otherwise. I’ve seen how the grant process works for colleges and the donors ALWAYS have a say as to where their donations go)!

    … And the NFL responded to a supposed Lie (by ESPN) with yet another Lie of their own… This is just for starters…

    The ESPN story didn’t say they pulled any money (only the headline which states “NFL Pulls out of funding” which can be argued a few different ways – just more word-play games for the lawyers to confuse the populace with!)…

    Per the “NFL Pulls Funding” article:

    “Koroshetz said he had asked FNIH since May whether the NFL would fund the project but never received a commitment. There has been no indication that the league is walking away from its original donation.”

    – And there’s NO INDICATION they will follow through either!

    So the group that was awarded $30M to research can’t even get a response from the NFL? But the NFL can respond (within 24 hours) to a false report on this very same subject? Does this NOT show their agenda is to NOT get a negative report on CTE/Concussions where they (the NFL) are liable for more damages/payouts?

    All in all:

    The NFL used Bureaucracy and stall tactics to create this debacle, basically forced the story to play-out in the media, make it a “He Said/She Said” situation so that it will end up forcing the NIH (directed by the NFL) into finding a “New Research Team” to give $30M to for CTE/Concussion research (a group that will produce the answers that reflect favorably on the NFL.. Or just insert their typical suspension language where it’s all about damaging the reputation of “The NFL Shield”).

    Once the dust starts to settle they’ll start over and find someone else to write the CTE report they really want to see (ie.. just like the various Deflate-Gate reports that deny scientific laws like the Ideal Gas Law etc).

    This IS what the NFL is all about.

  29. The NFL and BSPN are not credible sources, both do a poor job of explaining things. Sometimes it is flat out false material they push.

  30. End to a very bad year for Roger.
    Imagine losing control over your very own media lap dog.
    Writing….meet wall.
    I hear FIFA has several openings for Roger’s particular skill set

  31. It’s not ESPN. It’s Outside the Lines. The home of some of the finest investigative sports journalism on American TV. Not Chris Mortensen but Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada, who have been covering the concussion follies for years now. If they say something is true, and the NFL denies it, I believe them. Period.

  32. bringbackkosar says:
    Dec 22, 2015 12:25 PM

    Boston U….any questions?
    —————————————

    So you’re accusing a highly respected university in a city renowned for its medical community of engaging is misconduct just to stick it to the NFL? That makes sense.

  33. Love the fact ESPN had to throw in there they pay $1.9 billion to the NFL. So that’s a justification to publish false information ? does ESPN make money off of that money they give the NFL ? Stupid just plain stupid

  34. Why the charade? At this point, players and fans alike are fully cognizant of the fact that football, when played at its highest levels, is inherently unsafe. Can we simply acknowledge it, accept it, and move on? There is no need for the continuous lies from the NFL about “making the game safer (or cleaner).” Fans knew baseball players were juicing during the Steroid Era and still loved MLB. Fans know that college football and basketball stars are in no way “student athletes,” but they still love the games anyway. By this point, I think we all know what the deal is with football and head trauma.

  35. He said butt heads, he he. I hope Mike didn’t hear him. He’d be mad. And so would Aaron. They don’t like having fun.

  36. The players KNOW the risks involved in playing football at all levels, they accepted those risks, and they get paid MILLIONS to take those risks.

    ESPN are absolute liars, why would NFL owners jeoparize the game that makes them billions? They would gain NOTHING.

    ESPN is doing this for ratings and to fire Goodell, they prefer that NFL owners are accountable to the NFLPA (i.e. tail wags the dog) and the players.

    The NFL employs players yet these players do not know their place. They are employees, and as usual, ESPN/ABC takes the union-protected players side.

    ESPN, the players, the NLRB, and the NFLPA all stand to profit from this fiasco. Follow the money and don’t believe the rhetoric that ESPN is spewing.

  37. So proud of my dad’s alma mater BU for calling out Goodell with regards to Ted Wells.

    More and more people, even Pats haters and jealous types, are now finallly doing their own homework on why Goodell is a pathological liar.

    PAts fans knew it years ago with him lying about what Spygate was.

    I still cannot believe the media won’t dig deeper into that, because the bigger story is Goodell and WHY he’s doing what he’s doing, not the lie about only the Pats doing something with video scouting.

    This is about PARITY. Right now, there is no real good parity. It’s BAD parity. That’s why the product sucks this year.

    Ol’ Rogie can’t really the concept of parity to London investors to get Jax over there can he?

    It’s either Jax or STL that will be heading to London, folks.

    Read between the lines.

  38. *** NEWSFLASH ***

    Roger Goodell works for the OWNERS, NOT the players. The players are represented by a union, the very same one that ensured that Beckham Jr’s suspension was kept to just 1 game.

    Everyone is blaming Goodell for the 1 game suspension but NO ONE talks about the role that De Smith and the NFLPA played in that.

    The media ensures that NFL owners are to blame for everything and the players/NFLPA are innocent pawns.

    Go owners and Goodell!

  39. Someday all you heroes are going to get what you want, and what you are striving for…the demise of tackle football.

    Yeah!

  40. So let me get this straight, you people are saying that according to Goodell, the NFL desires equality of outcome (aka parity) for all NFL teams, right?

    You say this is a bad thing yet your very own federal government is trying to achieve that exact thing, equal outcomes, not opportunity, for everyone.

    So yet again I have proven the hypocrisy of todays socialist/communists football fans, especially in blue states.

  41. The problem with Goodell’s NFL PARITY is that it is a cover for CONTROLLED OUTCOME.

    This takes away and undermines the FREEDOM, LIBERTY & JUSTICE for every Player, Team and MOST IMPORTANT – YOU the Fan.

    FREEDOM & LIBERTY means that the application of a players/teams talents & abilities determine the outcome of games.

    JUSTICE means that the NFL Refs apply Rules that are not based upon arbitrary interpretation that comes from Goodell or his puppet Blandino and a NYC based CONTROL Center.

    As long as Goodell’s Parity is tolerated, YOU the fan, are being DECIEVED especially when he uses that word – Integrity.

  42. Well, I’m glad that the NFL cleared up the false BSPN report so quickly! Imagine if the NFL had allowed phony, made-up information to remain out there! People might have taken it as fact! What a bastion of truth and justice the NFL is!

  43. JSpicoli says:
    Dec 22, 2015 3:50 PM
    Someday all you heroes are going to get what you want, and what you are striving for…the demise of tackle football.

    Yeah!

    Yeah, the Romans probably felt the same way when they shut down the Gladiator shows. Pansies!

    You do get that these are actual live people, not characters on Madden, right?

    If the game can’t be played without a reasonable expectation that players won’t experience unnecessary damage then perhaps it’s time to end tackle football tough guy.

    Or perhaps you enjoy seeing former players broke & punch drunk?

  44. Goodell and the rest of his clowns are all serial liars. ESPN is a subsidiary of the NFL so are also a bunch of serial liars. So no matter how this latest debacle turns out, we cannot believe any of it. Integrity!

  45. “Roger Goodell has one job: Make his bosses (the owners) as much money as possible. He does that, and very well.

    So, if you truly believe in free-market capitalism, you should be praising Goodell, and striving to emulate him in your own workplaces. This is what America is, folks.”

    I’m pretty well versed in terms of free market economics and praxeological study, and this comment is way too awkward. What commentary are you providing here? Capitalism == bad?

    Further, the NFL makes vast amounts of money in revenue because of the popularity of fantasy sports and the entertainment value of the games themselves; they do not make money because of Goodell. They succeed in spite of Goodell; therefore, the question is really “how much more money could the NFL make without Goodell in charge?”

    A monkey could run the NFL successfully. It’s called comparative advantage; Goodell runs the ONLY major American football league, one which was already well established before his leadership. That’s such a large advantage over the competition that he’d have to do something miraculous to screw it up.

  46. 17dayz says:
    Dec 22, 2015 12:34 PM

    Stephen Jackson signing from the scrap heap (watch him tear it up next 2 weeks and new investigation will follow)
    ————————————-

    It won’t be long until one of the Hater Faithful declares that the Patriots orchestrated his release, so he could sit out a year, and then be picked up in week 15 of this season.

  47. How can anybody be surprised? That same quack concussion-denier doctor is STILL on the NFL payroll. Think that would be the case if they’d gotten serious about the dangers of concussions?

    This is a billion dollar entertainment empire that could literally disappear overnight if the concussion research ended up with the worst-cast scenario. Roger and Company would kill all research if they could.

  48. kingpel says:
    Dec 22, 2015 6:18 PM

    Please let ESPN lose MNF. I’ll never watch it again.

    )))))))))))))))))))))

    I agree I can’t stand Mike Trico the noted harasser of women.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.