ESPN Magazine: NFL crusaded against science

Discussion in 'Sports' started by thisnumbersdisconnected, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. thisnumbersdisconnected

    thisnumbersdisconnected
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    I had missed seeing this article when it first came out in October. If it is true, it reveals a far more devious effort by the NFL to avoid public backlash against head injuries to the star players in the league in the last 50 years. As such, it might cause me to rethink my view on the game, that is: "There's contact. Obviously people are going to get hurt."

    Players in this time frame have gotten bigger, faster, stronger. George Gipp, the fabled Notre Dame running back who played for the Irish in the 'teens of the 20th Century, was 5-9 and 175 lbs., being tackled by guys not much bigger than him, if at all. Now we've got 245 lb. halfbacks running into 300 lb. defensive linemen who can cover 40 yards in 4.6 or less. The foot-pounds of force generated in such a collision would have put Gipp permanently out of commission and he wouldn't have contracted pneumonia while giving punting lessons after his last game against Northwestern.

    I'm not going to advocate that my beloved game of football be banned, or severely changed to mitigate or avoid head injuries. But the NFL's dishonesty in its efforts to stifle valid research and its results being publicized indicates the league has known for some time that there was a problem, and rather than deal with it honestly, chose instead to attempt to silence the researchers. From that standpoint, the past leaders and administrator of the NFL who engaged in these coverup efforts should themselves be held accountable to the players they lied to for all these years.
     
  2. Revmitchell

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    This issue is a lot like cigarettes. Football players complaining about concussions is like sticking your finger in a meat grinder and then complaining because the meat grinder blades were much sharper than you thought they would be and the suing the meat grinder company.


    Lighting something on fire and then intentionally inhaling the smoke from it should tell anyone that is a problem.

    Going on the football field with other men who spend hours working out and body building and beating each other to death should tell anyone there may and most likely will be a problem.

    It matters not what the cigarette companies say or do and it matters not what the NFL says or does. You should just know this is going to cause sever physical problems over an extended period of time.

    No one is without their own knowledge here.

    Good grief it has always got to be someone else fault.:BangHead:
     
  3. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Like the tobacco companies denying the truth and for years doing nothing to make their deadly product "safer" in a relative sense, the NFL was just as culpable in denying the evidence and doing nothing except lying about the research. Like the cigarette manufacturers putting a "filter" on their cancer stick, the NFL used their skewed research to make a "safer helmet" and put it on the heads of the players, who were willing to buy into anything that might make them feel more secure.

    No, smokers and NFL players do not escape culpability. But in their slightly insane willingness to continue to do what they love, was it right for either smokers or NFL players to be spoon fed a bogus "solution" the suppliers knew would mollify them long enough to make a few more bucks?

    As a combat helicopter pilot who was absolutely addicted to flying, I was extremely willing to hear the news the longer rotary wings put on the late-model Cobras would markedly improve the auto-rotate function and make a crippled aircraft's crash landing much more likely survivable. It was utter nonsense. It didn't work. But it kept roughly 350 pilots in the Army and Marines who might have otherwise gone on to do something inimitably safer than flying a tin can slung up under an egg beater into a combat zone. Not that I wasn't perfectly willing to do that even if they didn't install the longer rotors. However, sixty-five of my fellow pilots in both branches paid the price of the lies of the contractor and the military. Were they rational in believing the "new improved" story? No. Does that relieve them of their culpability in their own deaths? No. Does it relieve the Army and the Marine Corps of culpability in those deaths, given they lied about the safety of the bird in order to keep veteran pilots? No.

    It's a quandary. Everybody's responsible. Nobody is. Whatever.
     
    #3 thisnumbersdisconnected, Jan 17, 2014
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  4. ccrobinson

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    We've already covered this ground. Your analogy was wrong then and it's still wrong.

    Players have always known about the risk associated with knees being blown out and similar injuries and they accepted that risk. Players did not know about the long-term damage of concussions and the NFL actively attempted to prevent that knowledge from coming out.


    The NFL is more culpable than the players because they denied and lied about the effects of concussions.
     
  5. InTheLight

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    The NFL has done a great job of covering up their dirty laundry.

    The NFL is going to have to change their rules regarding tackling. Banning the spearing with the helmet is just a start. They are probably going to have to come up with a "body tackling zone", (kind of like a strike zone in baseball) an area where defenders may legally tackle a player. They will probably have to improve helmets to make them more effective against concussions.

    I have a feeling that if you could time travel just 20 years into the future and watch an NFL game you would see striking changes, you might not even recognize the game.
     
  6. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    The players knew better. Most of them were college graduates. They knew the effects of a concussion, and if you have ever had one, you know you suspect some permanent aftereffects. You can't have a minor TBI and not expect that, not without lying to yourself or living in denial. The NFL is culpable for its lies and coverups. The players can't be excused simply because they believed the lies and coverups. They knew better. They had to, and for them to say otherwise is their own form of subterfuge.
     
  7. ccrobinson

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    How do you know this? Have you contacted the NFL to offer your insight into what the players knew and didn't know?


    Doesn't mean they knew what the effects of a concussion are.


    Again, how do you know this?


    Has every NFL player had a concussion? Aren't there effects of repeated collisions between players that don't result in a concussion, but are damaging? How would players know about these, especially if the NFL is actively trying to hide the evidence of such?


    The very first thing you've said that's 100% true.


    What a ridiculous argument. The players had no way of knowing unless somebody told them, but the very people who had a vested interest in not telling them did everything they could to hide the truth. And, yet, the players aren't to be blamed. Does this sound reasonable to you?


    You not only know what they knew, but you knew their motives too. Such great insight you have!
     
    #7 ccrobinson, Jan 17, 2014
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  8. Revmitchell

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    It doesn't matter. Who does not know those things are dangerous. And why should the NFL be any more responsible "to do something" than the players. The players know it is dangerous, they did nothing more than the NFL did so there is no real culpability on the part of the NFL. Everybody wants to blame someone else.
     
  9. Revmitchell

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    No they are not. The players are equally responsible. They deserve nothing from the NFL.
     
  10. ccrobinson

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    Don't give me that. It totally matters. People used to think cigarettes were just fine.


    When somebody in authority lies to you and actively covers up the truth, they're not responsible in any way for those actions? Isn't this the sort of behavior one of the very things you complain about in other forums on this very message board? I can't for the life of me imagine why you're carrying the NFL's water on this.
     
  11. Revmitchell

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    When? Never in my life time. And I used to smoke for 19 years.





    This part of your post is why it is just not worth carrying on a conversation with you. I said none of this.

    I will say it one more time and then I am done with you. The players know this is dangerous and a risk. They know that at any time they could be permanently injured in a way that effects the rest of their lives. And that could occur any number of ways. Therefore they are equally responsible. They are not victims here. Everyone wants the guy with more money to be more responsible. This entitlement mentality is tearing this country apart. It ignores personal responsibility. And that is what this country desperately needs.
     
  12. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Players can't change the rules, designate equipment changes, or make the calls that protect players. They can bargain for these mandates in negotiating the CBA, but in the end, the ability to make a living takes precedence over how the rules governing that method of making a living are determined and implemented. That is entirely the venue of the NFL, and even if the players had said, "This is a dangerous game and if we're going to play, you guys need to make it safer," they wouldn't have gotten anywhere with the NFL pointing to its phony research and saying, "It isn't dangerous, you have no basis for complaining, so we won't negotiate this point with you."

    Obviously the players never said that. As I said, they wanted to believe they could play the game safely, and that was irrational. That is what makes them culpable. But from the viewpoint of the players, if the NFL wouldn't negotiate that issue, the remaining choice was to play, or not. The sensible choice would be to quit. But how is a guy whose life has been football since he was 6, 7, or 8 going to make that decision? He won't. He'll live in denial -- right where the league wants him to live. He'll suit up, play the game, and be irreparably injured. Sure it's his fault. But it's also the league's fault.

    The league had the choices of 1) making the game safe, 2) making the true, correct and factual data available to the players so they could make a rational choice (which they probably wouldn't have done), or 3) close down the NFL. No way they were going to do #3. So they should have done either #1 or #2, and preferably both. The players had the choices the league wanted them to have, and that makes the league as culpable as the guys who went out and ruined their lives banging their heads around in a game of collisions.
     
    #12 thisnumbersdisconnected, Jan 17, 2014
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  13. Revmitchell

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    And for me that is the end of the argument.
     
  14. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    While that was the end of the argument, there was a lot that went before it. I'd like your comments on this part, if you don't mind. Not picking a fight, just would like to see your thoughts.
     
  15. Revmitchell

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    To me it matters not. This concussion thing is only on single type of permanent injury they risk playing pro football. I do not believe all these risks can be averted. It gets to the point that people just need to realize there are risks, if we are going to do this we will have to take them, or just not play.

    No one is compelled to play and no one is ignorant about the risks associated with playing. Just because the NFL kept it from becoming a political issue does not negate that.
     
  16. InTheLight

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    Rev, are you saying the NFL has no culpability whatsoever?
     
  17. Revmitchell

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    Those words never left my lips. But neither does the NFL owe the players any amount of money at all ever. Its absurd.
     
  18. InTheLight

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    Here's the problem as I see it. Most of the players that are suing the NFL played in the 60s and 70s. They thought nothing of "getting their bell rung" now and again. They shrugged it off and kept playing. There was no data on long term effects of multiple concussions. As football became more popular the database grew, but it took decades. The NFL was collecting this data and spinning the negative effects to players and the players union. So, yes, if they covered up the negative effects of concussions, glossing over it so players continued to play because the NFL says their studies showed no long term effects, the players have a right to be compensated.

    Supposing the nuclear power industry said there was no danger of radioactive contamination from working in nuclear power plants, published studies to that effect and then 40 years later there are thousands of retired workers getting cancer. An investigation turns up flawed studies, rigged data, and the burying of negative findings. Wouldn't the workers have the right to be compensated?
     
  19. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Here's the rub. We have on the one hand the "nanny-state" mentality that Rev has mentioned, whereby nothing is anyone's fault, unless it's someone else's fault. And we have the "old timers" who, as ITL points out, had not problem (they knew of) getting clonked on the head and not remembering anything about the rest of the game, and maybe not what came before the head injury. These are the extremes. The answer has to lie somewhere int he middle.
    Were we really ten feet tall and bullet proof until 1990, and then suddenly we weren't? I don't think so. By the same toke, did the old-timers really think the occasional head injury, accompanying blackouts, and perhaps days or weeks of "not quite being right" didn't leave behind some lasting effect? Again, I don't think so. But just as ITL says, no one was really studying head injuries back then.
    I don't think it is quite the same thing. People have been getting concussions for thousands of years. Nuclear radiation sicknesses are only about 70 years old. Nonetheless, I think one has to come to the conclusion that the NFL is culpable to a degree. To what degree may be up to a jury or a wise judge somewhere. Are the players also culpable? Beyond a shadow of a doubt. But again, the what degree? We're not going to know until a ruling is made, and even then, the degree will still be up for debate.
     
  20. Revmitchell

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    Not the same thing.
     

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