Congressional report calls out NFL for trying to influence NIH study

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In March, it became clear that Congress was exploring whether the NFL improperly tried to influence the selection by the National Institutes for Health of a researcher to direct a study regarding the detection of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in living patients. The verdict is now in.

Via ESPN.com, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce has found in a 91-page report that the league did indeed attempt to exert undue influence over the process.

“In this instance, our investigation has shown that while the NFL had been publicly proclaiming its role as funder and accelerator of important research, it was privately attempting to influence that research,” the report states, via ESPN.com.

After the league tried unsuccessfully to steer the study away from Robert Stern, the league reneged on a $16 million gift to the NIH. Taxpayers instead bore the cost, and the report concludes that the league was warned that its decision to not follow through on its $16 million commitment would result in public money being used instead.

At a time when plenty has been said about the NFL’s efforts to protect the integrity of the game, the term “integrity” has made an appearance in this context.

“Once you get anybody who’s heavily involved with the NFL trying to influence what kind of research takes place, you break that chain that guarantees the integrity, and that’s what I think is so crucial here,” U.S. Rep. Frank Pauline (pictured) told ESPN.com. “Fortunately, the NIH didn’t take the bait. It shouldn’t be a rigged game. If it is, then people won’t really know whether what we’re finding through this research is accurate.”

The NFL had no comment to ESPN.com, explaining that it had not yet read the report.

Given the scorched-earth response to a controversial New York Times article from earlier this year regarding concussion research and comparisons of Big Shield to Big Tobacco, silence in this context will speak volumes.

68 responses to “Congressional report calls out NFL for trying to influence NIH study

  1. Wow the NFL trying to influence and deny research…where have I heard that before?

  2. Aaaaaand here we go with the cheatriot fans with their usual “integrity, fire goodell, free Tammy shady, blah , blah…….”

  3. More Integrity from the League known for it’s adherence to high moral and ethical conduct. Way to go again Rog’. The virtuous nature of your tenure will be written about for ages.

  4. Any time Roger Goodell mentions “integrity of the game”, I throw up a little in my mouth. Has there ever been a more corrupt commissioner of any sports league than Goodell.

    I guess the bunch of Yes Men that Don King had in his back pocket in the WBA, WBC, and IBF back in the 90s and early 2000s are the only guys I can think of.

  5. Look, this is my shocked face. *deadpan*

    At this point the only thing that could shock me is if there is some massive fallout from this report. Like if sponsors decided to bail unless NFL made ACTUAL changes to how it handles player health. But that won’t happen, because they’re either incredibly ignorant and stupid to the NFL’s obvious corruption OR they’re frightening of getting sued the heck out of by the NFL.

  6. The lack of integrity that the NFL leadership continues to demonstrate is appalling. We have had players die …destroyed the quality of life of some …contributed to suicides by others…yet responsibility is muted…data is smeared…accountability non-existent.

    As fans we should demonstrate outrage with their conduct…their lies, smears and arrogance. A 1-week stoppage in tuning in/turning out for games is the only message they will understand.

  7. What else is new … Goodell and the 32 owners want to candy coat and bury this like they always have …

  8. Once again the gang that can’t shoot straight has been found to lack even a basic understanding of what the word integrity actually means.

  9. The NFL, protecting The Shield with honor and dignity forever!

    They didn’t get to be billionaires by being fair and balanced, did they?

  10. Is anyone surprised by this?

    The legaue is scared to death of a CTE test for living players; once one is finally developed it will mark the end of football as we know it.

    The NFL realizes this and is doing everything it can to derail/stall the process.

  11. Shocked! The NFL not accepting science? I only hope to live long enough to watch the NFL crumble underneath the weight of a full congressional investigation into the backroom dealings of one of the most corrupt sports organizations in the world.

  12. 16 million more tax dollars into the pockets of billionaires.
    I guess you could call it pocket change.

  13. Let’s see how Congress reacts when Mr. “Integrity” threatens them with a lawsuit.

    Someone is about to learn that he isn’t an almighty deity that can make lies the truth & exert power over the laws of physics.

    I’d love to see the uber-arrongant stuffed suit that runs the NFL dragged in front of Congress, so the world can see how mentally challenged he really is.

  14. Given this finding, can we connect the dots with Brady and deflategate? Another instance where the $5 million dollar “investigation” the league ordered.. that was proven to be garbage.
    Can this please be “the straw that breaks the camel’s back” and forces the owners to get rid of Roger Goodell for good? It’s become comical how inept Goodell is. But more importantly, how corrupt the league is under his leadership. Any other business the leader is held accountable.

  15. Wow… that is disgraceful even my NFL standards.

    “Player safety is a top priority for us. We are willing to give millions to study CTE. Wait, we don’t get to choose who runs the study?? We don’t get to influence the outcome?? Nevermind about that money…”

    I’m surprised they didn’t try to get Ted Wells named as the primary researcher.

  16. Goodell is representing you, owners. Is this how he is supposed to do it? Fire Goodell NOW!

  17. Uh oh! Look out Rogie! Between this and lying about Brady, I would imagine your days are about to be numbered.

    Prepare for a strike in 2020.

  18. This should make for some interesting conversations at the upcoming owners meetings

    The NFL’s underhanded attempt to strong arm the NIH into removing Stern from the study led to a congressional study and report. Wonder what that cost? Withdrawing their funding when they couldn’t rig the game also led to a direct $16M cost to taxpayers. Yet there are people here on another thread today bashing a player for wasting taxpayers money by exercising his legal right to appeal a judicial finding.

    This is the same league office that attempted to defraud the shared funds pool of $110M. That ‘found’ $700k in funds to return to the military out of the millions it was paid for it’s phony displays of patriotism. Wake up people. The ‘stewards’ of our game are anything but.

  19. Are you KIDDING me?

    The NFL “misplaced” a $100M from the players, have denied the possibility of CTE until they were hit in the face with it, and now, to no surprise to anyone who has been following Deflategate and all the other -gates, tried to pick THE researcher for the CTE study so that they could spin the story whoever they liked.

    When are we going to have an investigation into all the fraudulent things the NFL has done in the last 10 years? How many more will come out?

  20. Let’s hear Roger tell us about integrity on this one….
    NOW maybe the sheeple will finally start to open their eyes @ see that the league has absolutely no idea what that word really means….. I mean if Roger & 345 Park Abe can do what they did to Brady & the Patriots & get away with it, what was stopping them from thinking they could get away with it again & again??!!
    The EGO of that league is so diluted with itself that it feels it can get away with ANY unscrupulous act & just throw around words like Integrity as a punchline!!!

  21. trina16 – they denied the possibility of CTE because even today the objective science doesn’t present it as anything close to the myth presented of it by the mainstream media. Instead of hectoring the league, how about we start questioning the integrity of the BU group?

  22. Integrity… to quote Fezzik:

    I do not think that word means what you think it means Roger.

  23. pamperpro says:
    May 23, 2016 11:25 AM
    Aaaaaand here we go with the cheatriot fans with their usual “integrity, fire goodell, free Tammy shady, blah , blah…….”

    __________________

    Yeah, because the NFL Front Office acted with the utmost integrity during that process!

    It’s easier to fool people than to convince people they have been fooled.

  24. So Roger Goodell must be generaly aware of the influences going on here.
    Where is the integrity of the game now.
    Instead of the NFL why don’t we call it
    Roger and the three ring circus .

  25. Yet NFL fans think Pats are crazy to think Goodell and NFL would railroad Brady.

    Just like in deflate-gate – NFL does not want to hear what science finds.

  26. monkeesfan says:
    May 23, 2016 12:04 PM

    trina16 – they denied the possibility of CTE because even today the objective science doesn’t present it as anything close to the myth presented of it by the mainstream media. Instead of hectoring the league, how about we start questioning the integrity of the BU group?
    —————————–

    How can they deny the possibility of something that has been known for years?

    It’s an established fact that repeated head trauma can lead to CTE.

  27. I’m not at all absolving the NFL of wrong-doing, but, let’s face it, rigging the game is standard operating procedure in DC. In America, we have a rigged political system and rigged economy. Sanders and Trump are doing so well because more and more people are realizing it’s a rigged game, they’re angry about it and opposing the status quo.

  28. monkeesfan says:
    May 23, 2016 12:04 PM
    trina16 – they denied the possibility of CTE because even today the objective science doesn’t present it as anything close to the myth presented of it by the mainstream media. Instead of hectoring the league, how about we start questioning the integrity of the BU group?
    ————————-

    Hence the word possibility. Repeated contact to the head can cause brain damage. These players have been playing since they were children. That’s some +15 years of weekly headbashing.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love the physicality of the game, the hard hits and all. I don’t want that to change. What I don’t condone is the cover up when the issue first arouse. Instead of dealing with it and admitting there was a slight chance that it could be true, they decided to bury their collective heads in the sand and deny it until they couldn’t anymore.

    And worse than that, they wanted to choose who was going to do the reaserch and when they couldn’t get their way, they retired the funds. Wich leads me to believe that they never wanted to know the truth, just their version of the “truth”.

  29. monkeesfan

    how about we start questioning the integrity of the BU group?
    ================================

    please do, lets start with motive.

    now who would have a motive to not want to find out about CTE, the NFL or BU?

  30. What’s the matter, Roger? Exponent not available to write your fraudulent report?

  31. Roger Goddell’s level of wilyness is right up there with one of those cats that thinks you can’t see it if it’s head is under something. He probably had guys wearing fake mustaches and holding upside down newspapers sitting outside the NIH every day.

  32. Influencing research isn’t even the worst of it!

    When Will Smith’s ground breaking neurological research exposed links between NFL players and CTE in the movie Concussion, the NFL had him killed and covered it up as a road rage incident…

  33. The Goodell era has done nothing but confirm the true nature of professional football….the exploitation of players who are essentially disposable units all in the name of enriching private coffers.
    And owners pay Goodell $40+million to perpetrate such misconduct.
    Shark has been jumped!

  34. Multiple stories about this same topic several times a month is so riveting.

  35. pamperpro says:
    May 23, 2016 11:25 AM
    Aaaaaand here we go with the cheatriot fans with their usual “integrity, fire goodell, free Tammy shady, blah , blah…….”

    ——————————————————

    Yeah, you’re right. This instance of the NFL leadership lying, deceiving the public, rigging scientific evidence, ignoring the law, and desperately trying to institute a “we say so” policy that leaves them blameless in the face of overwhelming and at this point just laughable amounts of corruption… probably has nothing to do with any of the other times.

  36. imodan says:
    May 23, 2016 11:54 AM
    I’d pay to hear Trump yell “Lyin Roger Goodell!”
    ________________

    If you think Trump is out to take down other millionaire/billionaire types, you’re deluded.

  37. Nothing has changed since the ’90s when Tagliabue was in charge and Goodell was his right hand man. The NFL was funding a medical journal then to publish the concussion-denial work of these same cronies and those same quacks are still around taking money from the NFL to this very day.

  38. CTE/Concussion skeptics… I get it… I really do, I’m a skeptic by nature… but you cannot deny one thing at this point:

    Goodell & Company has something to hide.

    If they did not, they would be truly-supportive of this research, as it’d prove football is safe.

    Instead they obfuscate, lie and interfere.

    P.S. – Fire Goodell.

  39. Who will be the first owner that comes out and says: “The Commissioner’s work is a hard one and Roger is doing a great job at being the Commissioner. I fully support him.”?

  40. rob1729 says:
    May 23, 2016 11:29 AM
    Any time Roger Goodell mentions “integrity of the game”, I throw up a little in my mouth. Has there ever been a more corrupt commissioner of any sports league than Goodell.

    I guess the bunch of Yes Men that Don King had in his back pocket in the WBA, WBC, and IBF back in the 90s and early 2000s are the only guys I can think of.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Apparently you, like most other Americans, have never heard of FIFA.

  41. So congress is just now finding that money can influence decisions. Their big donors are also shocked.

  42. While none of you want to hear this, big business has acted in this manner for years. Whether it’s tobacco companies, auto manufacturers, oil and gas industry, healthcare, banking, etc. Owners of these businesses and industries try to influence peddle all the time. I am not excusing it, but where is all of your self righteous indignation when Exxon tries to influence an environmental study, or when Lockheed influences a contract bid.

    Naivete is alive an well babies. Welcome to the Big Business world.

  43. Will someone explain to me why congress spends time on issues related to professional sports teams? Don’t they have anything better to do?

  44. Like i keep saying, ” nobody has tarnished the shield more than Goodell” Patriot haters want to believe that was the one case the NFL was honest and right but being on Goodell`s side on anything has to just feel dirty.
    The owners are giving him way to much credit for making them rich. We are the ones doing that in spite of Goodell. Bountygate and deflategate couldn`t have been handled worse and yet they let him keep going.
    I stopped spending money on the NFL last year.I`ll never stop watching the Bengals on free TV but i won`t buy another NFL ticket or item until Goodell is gone.

  45. weepingjebus says:
    May 23, 2016 12:34 PM

    Roger Goddell’s level of wilyness is right up there with one of those cats that thinks you can’t see it if it’s head is under something. He probably had guys wearing fake mustaches and holding upside down newspapers sitting outside the NIH every day.
    =====================

    Maybe it was just the right moment, but that had me laughing, audibly in my cube…

  46. The Nfl used deflategate as a distraction from the real life issues, they’ll spend millions on trying to prove a ball was a little deflated but try to lie and pay off people to alter or defer information about concussions that ultimately ruin and end lives for a lot of former players who have made the leauge millions… Unreal

  47. The NFL is a HUGE racket. As long as it can keep churning players in and out on which to make money, it has no reason to change. And we keep paying them in the form of tickets, merchandise, and television. I stopped giving this league my money a long time ago.

  48. nhpats says:
    May 23, 2016 1:53 PM
    Seriously….how does Goodell still have a job?
    _____________________________

    Let me break this down for you… He’s as sleazy as the owners who employ him and he’s doing their bidding exactly as they instruct him to. They don’t care what the fans, players, or public think as it’s not (yet) affecting their bottom line.

  49. bunkmcnulty says: “… where is all of your self righteous indignation when Exxon tries to influence an environmental study, or when Lockheed influences a contract bid.”

    ==================

    Right! There is no indignation because half of the sheeple are deluded in believing that American capitalism operates in accordance with the so-called invisible hand of the free market. Nothing could be further from the truth, especially when it comes to Big Business! They operate oligarchically (never truly competing, especially on the basis of price), own the politicians and courts and dictate policy in every field. That’s why the middle class is disappearing and there is a huge chasm of disparity between the 0.1% and the rest of us.

  50. Wait, so a study that was supposed to be “gifted” money to conduct didn’t turn out how the donating party wanted…so they didn’t give the gift. Now taxpayers have to pay for a study we didn’t ask for. I don’t recall getting a notice on if I wanted some of my money to go towards CTE studies. I’m ok with the NFL saying no thanks, it’s their right. I don’t like Congress finding time to deal with a sports issue instead of problems of national interest. Now Congress will spend MORE money to investigate why the NFL reneged. Pure foolishness.

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