Don’t deny yourself ‘League of Denial’

SMBC Headbrick cartoon

On Tuesday, PBS premiered the documentary League of Denial, based on the book of the same name. Both the documentary and the book detail how hard the NFL has worked to deny the link between football and chronic brain injuries.

Much of the information isn’t new, but as Kevin McFarland of the A.V. Club says, it “provides an excellent, mandatory two-hour overview of the rise in research on this subject.” McFarland also says:

Football is a dead sport walking in the United States. It may look healthy, vibrant, and more profitable than ever. But in a few generations it will be a flimsy husk of itself at its height. The damning evidence is all here in “League Of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis.” The Frontline report is “Concussions And The NFL 101,” outlining the league’s reaction to emerging medical research and observation, from commissioner Paul Tagliabue forming the first committee to research head trauma in the league to the recent $765 million settlement with the NFL Players Association.

Travis Waldron of Think Progress is much more damning in his summary:

The National Football League has spent the last two decades engaging in a extensive cover-up campaign of potential links between its sport and long-term brain injuries, waging war against scientists and researchers who go against it, denying the science those researchers have produced, and misleading players about the effects the game may have on their long-term mental health. That’s the focus of League of Denial, the much-awaited PBS Frontline documentary that stays true to its name in painting a searing, two-hour-long picture of the NFL as Big Tobacco: an industry so hell-bent on making money and preserving its product that it would go to nearly any length to prevent research that shows it may be killing its practitioners from seeing the light of day.

The best news? You can stream League of Denial online here, completely free of charge! There’s no excuse for missing this one.

– Devin

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