Congress has essentially sent a collection letter to the NFL.
Via Deadspin.com, an item of correspondence dated July 26, 2017 from the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce to Commissioner Roger Goodell primarily has one purpose: To ask the league to cough up $18 million in money previously committed to the National Institutes of Health for the Sports Health and Research Program.
The letter from four members of the committee also asks the NFL whether it plans to renew the agreement that established the Sports Health and Research Program, and whether the NFL plans to provide additional funding beyond its original $30 million commitment, $12 million of which has been paid. The committee seeks a response no later than August 11.
Last year, a Congressional report accused the NFL of rescinding $16 million of that same $30 million NIH gift, allegedly due to the league’s disagreement with the NIH’s selection of a researcher to oversee testing aimed at detecting Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in living patients. Days later, Goodell wrote a letter to all owners and team presidents explaining that the $30 million gift would be honored.
It may still be honored, but with only one month left in the original five-year agreement establishing the Sports Health and Research Program, the NFL still hasn’t kicked in the $18 million. Unless the agreement is going to be extended, there may be no way to use the money, if it’s ever paid.
The NFL has told the Washington Post that the league is “currently engaged in constructive discussions” with the NIH regarding the issue. Which sort of sounds something like “the check is in the mail.”