The NFL would rather look stupid than evil from nba2kah's blog

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The New York Times reported last week that at least 100 concussions were omitted from the database that an NFL committee used to downplay the dangers of head injuries. The missing concussions accounted for more than 10 percent of the total cases that the NFL said occurred from 1996 through 2001. The incomplete data was used in peer-reviewed studies underestimating the frequency and severity of concussions among NFL players.

One committee member said he was unaware of the omissions, telling the Times, "If somebody made a human error or somebody assumed the data was absolutely correct and didn’t question it, well, we screwed up. If we found it wasn’t accurate and still used it, that’s not a screw-up; that’s a lie."

These are the positions that the NFL is navigating now, and it'd much rather that you believe that it screwed up than lied. To that end, it released a pair of lengthy statements in response then, Tuesday, sent a letter to the Times demanding a retraction and threatening a lawsuit without explicitly saying so.

The core of the NFL's argument against the Times is two-fold: That the Times drew up a tenuous connection between the league and the tobacco industry, and that the studies the league used to bolster its position on concussions were never meant to be comprehensive in the first place -- that they were always flawed.

The connection to Big Tobacco arguably felt forced, but the NFL's case for defamation seems weak. Its latter stance is more interesting. The NFL is trying to make itself out as hapless with regards to concussion research. The alternative would be that the league was purposely deceitful, and that would be unforgivable.


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By nba2kah
Added Mar 31 '16



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