Appearing before a congressional subcommittee on brain injuries in football, former NFL linebacker DeAndre Levy testified the Lions tried to silence him from speaking publicly about CTE.
“The moment I said anything about it, I had two calls telling me I shouldn’t talk about it,” Levy told the committee, via Kyle Meinke of mlive.com. “I don’t know if it was because it was CTE, or if it was because it’s just the general NFL rule of, like, only football. Only talk about football, only think about football. I posted simply the research . . . and I was told not to talk about it the first day it was out. And I’m just, like, you know, it could have just been locker room culture. Nobody wants to talk about anything other than football. But it didn’t sit well with me when I’m talking about brain injuries.
“It’s my brain. It’s not my shoulder; it’s my brain. It controls everything I do; it controls everything we think, everything we feel. And if I don’t have the right to speak about that as a player, I think it really speaks about the culture of the NFL, of what those conversations are. I think that’s indicative of the conversations that we don’t hear. The closed-door conversations between owners. They still are trying to find ways to silence us.”
Levy never mentioned the Ford family by name during his congressional subcommittee appearance but criticized ownership for failing to properly educate players about the long-term risks of brain injuries.
“I don’t think the owners are in touch with it,” Levy said. “It’s a business. We’re a number. Our brains and bodies are disposable. I can’t speak for every team — I’ve only been with one team — but, I mean, I never sat down and talked with the owner. So there’s no connection [with] the players. Right now, we’re the only ones that will even care about the issue.”
Levy played eight seasons in the NFL after the Lions made him a third-round pick, with his final five games coming last season. The Lions cut him in March, and he filed a grievance against the team seeking to recoup a $1.75 million injury guarantee, saying his knee isn’t healthy.
UPDATE 8:29 P.M. ET: The Lions said in a statement, “We are aware of his comments, and we strongly disagree with his claim that anyone from our organization tried to silence him.”