Owners think NFL’s concussion message needs to be delivered better

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The NFL obviously has a concussion problem.

But as the league’s owners meetings ended today in Charlotte, the guys who write the checks also made it clear they think their public relations problem is significant as well.

The common theme from owners discussing recent criticisms from Congress and elsewhere about the league’s funding of CTE studies or other safety issues was not that the NFL has a bad message, but that they’re not delivering their message well enough.

“You have to explain to mothers and people who watch football, they want to know that we’re doing our job and that we take this seriously,” Jets owner Woody Johnson said.

When asked if the league had convinced them of that, Johnson replied: “No we probably have done not a very good job. I think we can do better.”

Asked whether he thought people trust the league, Johnson shrugged and said: “I don’t know. I don’t know.”

Owners voiced support for commissioner Roger Goodell, whose job is to be the face of such issues and take such heat. At the same time, they know there are certain segments of the population who simply don’t or won’t trust him. But they’ll also circle the wagons, as 49ers owner Jed York noted of yesterday’s news: “I don’t think it’s Congress, it’s one Congressional staffer. You have to put that into perspective.”

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones insisted that his own background as a player made him want to shout the league’s message from the hilltops, but admitted he wasn’t always the best to do so.

 “I think where we are remiss, is making our case for what we are doing and our sensitivity regarding concussions and what we are doing,” Jones said. “We need to say that more often, and we need to say it louder, and we need to not hurt it with being the wrong messenger. It doesn’t need to be self-serving, when at the end of the day it really is to make the game safer, make kids safer who play the game and benefit from playing the game.

“I think we need to say it better, we need to articulate it better and say it more often.”

Their critics will suggest that the problem has grown beyond one of perception, and remains one of its real medical issues. But with the league making major changes at the PR level in recent months, it’s clear that they plan to attack the problem by talking about it themselves, and trying to frame the argument as they see it.

46 responses to “Owners think NFL’s concussion message needs to be delivered better

  1. Crazy idea, actually act and speak with honesty for once. Goodell seems to lie constantly. They preach transparency but never follow through. When was the last time Goodell had a press conference and allowed a reporter to ask follow up questions? If he doesn’t like a question he just speaks in platitudes and with no follow up question he says nothing of substance. It’s the opposite of transparency.

  2. So, it’s not what’s being said it’s just how it’s being said? Riiiiight.
    This is rather like Obama’s recent claim that the economy is wonderful but the administration just hasn’t done a good enough job of explaining that to us mere citizens.

  3. I’m finding it interesting that owners and high ranking NFL people are speaking out more and more AGAINST the traditional NFL rhetoric, meanwhile they still claim to “support” Roger Goodell. This all just really tells me that the NFL is a dysfunctional mess right now that has no hope of improving in the near future.

  4. when Goodell is delivering the message, no one listens or believes it. He has no integrity. He just lied about not seeing the report b4 commenting on it! He is dishonest, borderline evil. People say Brady should just accept Goodell’s punishment? Why in God’s name would you?

  5. #framegate exposed Goodell as an ignorant stuffed suit that has no interest in being fair or uncovering the truth. His only interest in #framegate was to prove his initial incorrect assessment was accurate and to please a bunch of jealous owners by nailing Tom Brady to the wall.

    He laid bare his true (lack of) character for the whole world to see and now has zero creadiblity on much greater matters, that threaten the NFL’s very existence.

    I hope the jealous owners that bullied their spineless leader into taking unprecedented action against the Pats take great please in the first round pick they stole from New England. The price they will now pay is the inevitable fall of the once great NFL.

  6. It makes me kind of ill to know that a nobody like Goodell may be worth 1/2 billion bills by the time he’s done with the NFL.
    He’s so bad and yet the insulated owners either don’t know or don’t care.
    They would make the same money without that clown as commish.
    Then again, it’s those very owners who wind that guy up.
    Goodell isn’t going away anytime soon.

  7. Woody Johnson is the last guy you want with a microphone in front of himself speaking on behalf of the owners. The only other guy worse would be Jim Irsay, all high on crystal meth.

    Just pathetic.

  8. This is Woody Johnson, the owners, Rex Ryan’s way of saying can you guys just say this in a way that we never hear it. We don’t want to think that we are a major part of the problem. We just want people to love us, and we want to be rich.

  9. cinzano08 says:
    May 24, 2016 7:17 PM

    What exactly has the NFL done about CTE?
    ———————-

    Short of disbanding the league, or eliminating all helmet-to-helmet contact, what can they do?

    You can’t even figure out if someone has it or not until they are dead.

  10. Goodell, Jerry Jones, Woody Johnson…. not a brain cell between them commenting on CTE…How this league manages to survive, no thrive, is some sort of miracle.

  11. What exactly has the NFL done about CTE?
    ———————-

    Short of disbanding the league, or eliminating all helmet-to-helmet contact, what can they do?

    You can’t even figure out if someone has it or not until they are dead.

    —————–

    We may not ever be able to really “stop” CTE, but the NFL has gone to great lengths to deny its mere existence, pretend to beef up its concussion protocols when really it’s all lip-service, and hypnotize Congress into thinking it has no intention of wrongly influencing scientific research.

    It’s almost like the league fears that a test to diagnose CTE in living patients automatically means the end of the NFL. No, NFL, that’s not true. It’s not a CTE living test that will ruin you. It’s your constant lies, deception, and insulting of our intelligence that will do that

  12. “The common theme…was not that the NFL has a bad message, but that they’re not delivering their message well enough.”

    They believe they’re not delivering their message well enough…and then they allowed his Woodness and Jerrah to talk about it? Bwahahaha

  13. It is not the message that needs to be fixed. It is the effort. The NFL has a long history distorting, delaying or flat out lying about concussion science. Only now, when the NFL can’t cover up the truth any longer (sound familiar to the tobacco companies huh?), are they trying to do anything remotely legitimate about it.

    Unsurprisingly, even that effort left congress scolding them for trying to distort and manipulate the process after the NFL decided that their “no strings attached” donation to the NIH did in fact have strings attached because they didn’t like the Doctor assigned to the study. The NFL promptly took their 16 million dollar football and went home.

    This is not about the message or its delivery. This is about reality. The reality that the NFL has zero interest in truly making the game safer for players. They just want to pay lip service to player safety and move on. Out of touch billionaires unused to being told no, who would have thought.

  14. Perhaps something along the lines of “we are generally aware that maybe something might have happened at some point in time”.

  15. “Owners voiced support for commissioner Roger Goodell”
    —————————————————————
    Then they deserve what there getting.
    Worst commissioner EVER!

  16. .
    Integrity – concealing the truth about traumatic brain injuries from both the players and public.
    .

  17. First thing they should do is get rid of Goodall , nobody in their right mind believes anything he says,, he’s got his own concussion issue going on , and then find someone with some integrity that they are certainly lacking at this point in time.

  18. “The common theme…was not that the NFL has a bad message, but that they’re not delivering their message well enough.”

    And then they allowed his Woodness and Jerrah to talk about it? Bwahahaha

  19. If concussions are such a problem then why dont they just ban the NFL? Players make millions….if they dont want to get concussions then they shouldnt play the game. Enough already with this concussion nonsense. It CANT be helped as long as the game keeps getting played. Is this really so hard to understand?

  20. If the Owners actually had an ounce of Integrity or at the very least some type of a Conscience, they would FIRE Goodel.

    The NFL would immediately experience a wave of ‘Fresh Air’ and Rejoicing would be heard around the World from NFL Fans everywhere!

  21. this is all a buncha hooey if ya ask me. CONCUSSIONs ARENT REAL!! its called gettin your bell rung. u shake it off, take a aspirin, drink a red bull, and get back out there. if these guys cant deal with gettin there brains nicked a few times then they dont deserve my hard earned $$!!!

  22. 6ball says:
    May 24, 2016 8:24 PM

    .
    Integrity – concealing the truth about traumatic brain injuries from both the players and public.

    ____________

    Also concealing all football pressure data collected during football games played in cold, (below 49 degrees), /rainy weather during the 2015/2016 NFL season. Concealing that information from both the public and the courts.

  23. Woody Johnson has had a job. He was the leader of the NFL owners charging the Dept of Defense millions to honor our injured warriors and heroes. Woody the benevolent billionaire!

  24. arwiv says:
    May 24, 2016 8:43 PM
    If concussions are such a problem then why dont they just ban the NFL? Players make millions….if they dont want to get concussions then they shouldnt play the game. Enough already with this concussion nonsense. It CANT be helped as long as the game keeps getting played. Is this really so hard to understand?
    ——————————

    Because it’s about having the right information and making a conscious decision. Not about a bunch of guys denying your right to know just so they can have their way.

    It’s the reason why doctors need to tell you the risks you may incurr during or after a medical procedure. You have a right to be informed and to base you decisions knowing there is a risk if you follow through.

  25. Look at all the crybabies that thought Goodell was honest as can be, during Deflategate. Now you haters want him fired. Too bad, can’t have it both ways. Goodell is a Puppet. Mara, Jones, Irsay, Biscotti, Blank and of course Woody Johnson are the owners behind Deflategate, Roger is no fool, making $45 Million, for taking all the bullets. Patriot haters can look to another year, of getting your A$$ kicked.

  26. Analogy:
    Goodell is to integrity as child molesters are to children.
    NFL owners are to accountability as quantum physics is to an earthworm

  27. My dad worked in a coal mines for 34 years. He breathed in dust day after day. There was always a threat of a roof collapse or an explosion. He even went to work 6 days a week for the better part of his life. Doing so with a constant threat of dying at any given moment…….

    I’m not sure why people don’t realize that working on a job can be dangerous to long term health or survival. Isn’t it possible to get hurt die while working on a road crew, or running heavy equipment, or driving in nascar race, or building a building, etc??

    Just let the players know that it is dangerous to play the game……Story Over. But, we do live in a world or a country that is struggling over where we go to the bathroom.

  28. Asked whether he thought people trust the league, Johnson shrugged and said: “I don’t know. I don’t know.”

    We don’t trust anything that comes out of any of your pieholes.

    -signed, everybody.

  29. Did I just hear a Steinbrenner-esque vote of confidence for Roger Goodell from the owners ? Maybe that was a shot across his bow, so maybe there’s hope that his reign of terror, deceit, and incompetence will end sooner rather than later.

  30. and how long will it be before a whistleblower in the NFL front office contacts the NY Times and blows the lid off the various scandals from CTE coverups to Ray Rice lies ??

  31. What message ? That you don’t care the slightest about player safety other than how it effects your bottom line due to lawsuits ?

    That message has long ago been received an understood.

    In fact the whole “lets eliminate kickoffs as a dangerous play” is nothing more than a hidden attempt to create further parity as they don’t care the slightest about the players.

    The better teams tend to have better special teams and better special teams coaching while the lousy teams consistently have bad special teams and bad special teams coaching.

    Eliminate a significant portion of special teams plays and they close the gap between consistently bad teams and consistently good ones.

  32. They don’t REALLY mean that since the NFL has done absolutely zero about CTE beyond claiming for years it didn’t exist in their sport.

    However, if they did actually want the message delivered better, getting rid of the compulsive liar who current resides in the commissioner’s office would be step 1 with firing the quack doctor/concussion denier they have on staff as 1a.

  33. I don’t know if it’s a PR problem as much as a facing reality problem.

    They’ve been charging the military, they’ve lied about the dangers of playing the game, they’ve been tinkering with the rules, dropping the ball in terms of discipline/officiating and blackmailing cities for new facilities.

    Last season MNF ran stories on local kid teams. And now Woody Johnson is talking about explaining the game’s safety to mothers. Why would that be? Cause the NFL has got to keep the meat mill churning. And that meat is our kids.

    One of the NFL’s biggest problems, is that they think most things are just PR problems. The product is good, but it has also peaked.

  34. Their stance IS clear.

    There is no evidence between football and CTE.

    Cigarettes, 2nd hand smoke, and tobacco are harmless.

    Cold, damp weather doesn’t affect psi.

    We protect the integrity of the game.

  35. Sometimes I wonder if Woody Johnson has ever actually spoken to a real human before. You know, like someone who doesn’t have to worship him because his parents were horrendously rich or because they work for the massive company that was handed to him.

    Capitalism Fail.

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