Jerry Jones: More research needed on football-CTE link


Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wants to see more research before he’s willing to concede a causal link between football and the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

Jones said at the league meeting this week that he doesn’t disagree with Jeff Miller, the league’s senior vice president for health and safety, who said last week that there’s a link between CTE and football. But Jones also said he would like to see more research before he can say categorically that he believes a link has been proven.

We don’t have that knowledge and background and scientifically, so there’s no way in the world to say you have a relationship relative to anything here,” Jones said. “There’s no research. There’s no data. . . . We’re not disagreeing. We’re just basically saying the same thing. We’re doing a lot more. It’s the kind of thing that you want to work… to prevent injury. A big part of this is prevention. But the other part of it is to basically understand that we don’t know or have any idea that there is a consequence as to any type of head injury in the future. That has to have a lot of research, just as the heart did 50 years ago. And certainly everybody that had heart issues 50 years ago didn’t live a normal life. Nature takes care of that. So no, I didn’t think at all that his statements altered anything. . . . It didn’t alter anything about where we are.”

If Jones is trying to say there hasn’t been a double-blind study comparing the brains of a randomly selected group of football players and a randomly selected group of non-football players, he’s right: So far, CTE has been found in the brains of a self-selected group of football players, and most of those players or their families asked for their brains to be studied because they suspected CTE. But if that’s what Jones is trying to say, he needs to say that more clearly. And if researchers say that’s the type of study that’s needed, the NFL should pay for such a study, without trying to influence how the study is conducted.

The NFL should also finance studies to determine what it means to have CTE, answering questions like why some ex-players with CTE, like Tyler Sash, die of an overdose in their 20s, while other ex-players with CTE, like Frank Gifford, remain mentally sharp enough to work in broadcasting into their 70s.

Jones’ comments will be viewed by many as the NFL trying to deny responsibility for its players health problems in later life. At the very least, Jones’ comments show that the league’s owners have not yet come up with a clear, coherent message on the subject.

74 responses to “Jerry Jones: More research needed on football-CTE link

  1. Yeah I’ve heard this line before. People who smoke get cancer and/or emphysema at 100x higher rate – “we need more research”. Humanity pumps millions of giga tons of green house gases into the atmosphere over a 150 year stretch and the temperatures rise faster than they ever have in the last 100,000 years. – “we need more research”.

    It’s ok Jerry, we all know what you mean.

  2. Funny how they look to science (and the lack of supportive evidence) to try to explain CTE, but Goodell et al ignored science and the ideal gas law for deflategate.

    What a bunch of hypocritical losers.

  3. What percent of of former players complain about head injuries? I’ve never seen that stat. Are we talking 50-60% or 10%? I think its an important stat that’s not being discussed.

    We used to think that the majority of pro athletes went broke after retiring, but now its more like 10-15%. Nothing earth shattering.

  4. More research needs to be done on CTE period. The only people I’ve heard of being tested for it are former NFL players suspected to have it, which gives an unnaturally high percentage. Until they test non-NFL players suspected to have it and a general group of people without symptoms of it they’ll never have a realistic percentage. That needs to be done before anyone can say with authority that football causes CTE, it’s just speculation and finger-pointing.

  5. Jones and most of the other owners are liars. Just like their commissioner and his corrupt mob. They will all continue to deny this and many other serious issues until the NFL self destructs. Serves them right.

  6. To everyone who said Jerry Jones has lost his mind and I would defend him. I now want to apologize. He definitely has passed Al Davis on the crazy train if you compare the the two when Davia was alive.

  7. Take everything you hear from that delusional old fool with a large grain of salt. He still thinks it’s 1997 and he’s one player away from winning it all.

  8. .
    I’d recommend that Jerry turn the matter over to NFL think tank Exponent. When it comes to finding a cause and effect fairy tale, Exponent is in a class of their own. Some examples :

    1. No link between 2nd hand smoke and cancer.
    2. No link between cold weather and ball deflation.
    3. No link between decapitation and IQ score.
    4. No link between the sun and sunburn.

  9. Sorry Jerruh….the liberals have spoken! And liberals are always right…they never make a mistake and they have their science on their side…because we all know Scientists are always 100% in agreement on everything!

  10. Shocker: billionaire expresses skepticism over the validity of an issue that could threaten his ability to amass additional wealth

  11. Wh n Jerrah passes to the great beyond a lot of us hope they autopsy his brain to get some insight how a guy can be so financially successful and also be one of the worst gm’s in the history of the nfl who sounds like a. Arron character in the Simpsons every time he opens his mouth.

  12. The NFL can’t reliably test air pressure in footballs so why do you expect them to want to properly study CTE or other effects of repeated concussions/head trauma. They will spend millions to defend their stance, but not something preventative.

  13. Eh, he’s right. There needs to be more research done. Blind hatred (jealousy) of the guy doesn’t make him wrong.

  14. Blah Blah Blah.

    More nonsense from the NFL supported by media who would be flipping burgers if not commenting on football.

    Being repeatedly hit in the head especially at a very young age has bad outcomes.

    All NFL players have some degree of brain damage many develop ALS and CTE. More players have been getting sicker with more severe symptoms at younger ages.

    Comparing the exposure of Frank Gifford in the 1940s and 1950s to Tyler Sash in 1990s and 2000s is a hollow and stupid argument. Barely the same sport and doesn’t reflect the exposure.

    Nice try.

  15. “…while other ex-players with CTE, like Frank Gifford, remain mentally sharp enough to work in broadcasting into their 70s.”

    Umm, how mentally sharp does one have to be in broadcasting? I’ve seen people reading the news at me that I wouldn’t trust to park my car.

  16. You’re so right Jerry. More research also needs to be done on the possible link between smoking and cancer, alcohol abuse and liver disease. Thank you Dr Jones. BTW how did your prognosis on T Romo coming back so soon last season turn out? Genius

  17. Even though I don’t like Jerry Jones, he is right. There has never been a baseline study for CTE. Until you know how frequently it occurs in the general population, you cannot say football causes CTE.

  18. Jerry may be as dumb as a rock when it comes to being a GM, but he’s a smart enough business man to know that you never say anything that would imply liability.

  19. Dave Duerson
    Fred McNeil
    Mike Webster
    Andre Dirty Waters
    Junior Say Ouch
    Jim McMahaon
    Brett Phone Farve
    Calvin Johnson retired in his prime
    Hugh Green

    Think that’s enough research

  20. Those of you saying that more players need to be tested for CTE etc? THERE IS NO TEST!!’ YOU HAVE TO BE DEAD SO THEY CAN STUDY YOUR BRAIN!!

  21. You forgot

    Chris Henry
    Jovan Belcher
    Ken Stabler
    John Mackey
    Frank Gifford
    Mark Duper
    Antwaan Randle El
    Kyle Turley
    Jamaal Lewis
    Bernie Kosar
    Tony Dorsett

    But agreed that is enough research.

  22. Again, why does anyone care what Jerry Jones thinks? He’s proven beyond a shadow of a doubt he can’t run a football team that can win.
    Please — let Jerruh go somewhere and sit on a front porch in a rocking chair and sip tea.

  23. One step forward and then two steps backward. There are players shooting themselves through their hearts so that their brains can be evaluated for cte when they are dead. They’d rather die than live with what their lives will be in 5-10 yrs. I get not wanting to give in to somethings because it could ruin your product and you might los some money, but come on how much money do you need. Stop. There is a link. Just because a test doesn’t say it doesn’t mean there isn’t one. Just like there wasn’t a domestic violence problem until a ray rice video emerged. But two yrs before the chiefs player abuses his wife and kills himself in the parking lot. Which by the way may have been cte related. Now stop being ridiculous and own this. It might cost you a few hundred million but just shut up and own it. Outrageous that someone is still taking this side.

  24. If there was no link, then why change the rules of the game ? The NFL has basically taken away the kickoff return. Players can’t hit others in the head. We’ve seen vicious hits like Burfict on Brown, why give a penalty on Burfict ? Just because Brown got a concussion doesn’t mean he’s going to get CTE, according to Jerry, so let him get hit like that a few more times. If Jerry is sure that there’s not a link, why make the game safer ? The rules should be like when they were in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s.

  25. Prior to the discovery of CTE it was already very apparent that jarring hits to the head caused permanent brain injury. Maybe it wasn’t labeled, but come on. Ali – Parkinsons. Smokin’ Joe – Could barely string together a coherent sentence prior to his passing.

    There is a link to your head getting hit and brain damage. How hard is that to see.

    I don’t think the risk of CTE can be eliminated from football. It’s part of playing the sport. It’s a good idea to make the sport safer, but the risk will still be there. It’s a contact sport. That’s the nature of the game.

  26. Years from now, when “his Guy” Roamo [sic] begins to suffer symptoms, Mister Jones’ reaction will be: “Gosh, I really had no clue.”

  27. What is incorrect in this article is the notion that a percentage of the general population isn’t known. Enough brains have been dissected and autopsied to know for a fact that this anomaly only appears in brains that have been battered around in their skulls, period. Jerrah makes a strong case that it’s a virus you can catch, but surprisingly that’s not the case.

  28. Correlation does not equal causation. Sure, it might seem like football causes CTE, but there does need to be more research done in order to find real and compelling evidence. The NFL should absolutely be funding this research, if not only to ensure that they are properly protecting their players moving forward, but also so that they are able to protect their investments and keep the sport alive.

    There will always be a group of fans that believe things should never change and that the game would be better if it was played the way it was in the 50s and 60s. A lot of these fans weren’t around to watch football in the 50s and 60s.

    Once you get past the machismo, it is pretty clear that to preserve the sport going forward you’re going to need to know more about the medical science. There comes a point when, “they knew what they were signing up for” needs to be replaced with basic human decency. These are people putting their bodies and minds on the line for our enjoyment. We should respect that a little more.

  29. You can tell by the way he has run the once proud Dallas Cowboys into the ground that Jimmy Johnson was the brains of the outfit. Jerry Jones is a sad joke. I used to hate The Cowboys and their fans. Now I still hate the Cowboys, but feel sorry for their fans as they are a disgrace thank to Jerry.

  30. If he was to agree with the NFL’s revelation or the evidence that has been presented, his words would eventually be used against him in civil actions down the road.

    He (and the NFL) still might lose a lawsuit by players, but he sure doesn’t want to openly admit that there is a connection.

  31. Fact: NFL players live longer and healthier lives than the general population.
    Fact: Many symptoms that some link to CTE are also caused by mental illness. Mike Webster is a prime example as posters above try to blame his circumstances on CTE leaving out the FACT that Webster was diagnosed with mental illness and has a FAMILY HISTORY of mental illness.
    Dr. Jones talks out of his rear end often but on this issue he’s right: much more research is needed coupled with reasonable precautions for player safety.

  32. Exponent, the NFL’s contracted research firm that proved the laws of physics don’t apply to footballs and found no link between second hand cigarette smoke and cancer when employed by the Tobacco industry is ready and willing to show no link with Concussions!

  33. says the man who’s ego single handily put one of the better teams on the field in the regular season, but hasn’t done squat when it counted since Jimmy Johson gave the ‘f u finger to Jerruhhh.

  34. In a follow-up interview, Jones clarified his opinion by pointing out that the earth is flat and was created 5,000 years ago.

  35. Jerry knows there’s a link. He should not try to prolong the steps to prevent the problems by continuing to question it. How about strategize ways to keep the players safe during and after their careers. He is an idiot!

  36. Dr. Jerry strikes again. I would love his take on smoking and cancer risks or perhaps his thoughts on whether lead is really harmful at all.
    Who needs scientific research when Jerry has all of the answers.

  37. This guy Jones needs to get back to the business of what he does best: selling his team’s adoring fans light beer for $18 per glass and parking for $75 per vehicle.

  38. Guess some of his ‘boy’s have been hit so hard that Jerrrrryyyyy’s gotten concussions.

  39. Dr. Jerruh is now trying to find a way to have an excuse for his apparent CTE by claiming that he has had too many aggressive face lifts that caused his brain to rattle around in his skull as the doctors had to tug and tug on his skin to secure it with titanium threads to stand the stress.

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