Today the NFL took what could possibly be its’ hardest hit in the past year. Worse than the Ray Rice situation, worse than the Adrian Peterson debacle, and not even close to the same level as “deflategate”.
According to a PBS report, researchers from the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University released details that 87 of 91 deceased NFL players tested positive for CTE. For those who do not know, CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a degenerative brain disease. CTE is commonly found in those who have suffered numerous instances of minor brain trauma in their lifetime and can only be diagnosed postmortem. Symptoms of CTE include, but are not limited to, dementia, memory loss, depression, and confusion.
PBS, who released the report earlier today, also put out a documentary titled, A League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis. The film essentially dammed the NFL and Roger Goodell as well as former commissioner, Paul Tagliabue for their handling, or lack thereof, of the concussion issue in the NFL.
However, all of the information that was presented in the film pales in comparison to the information that has been released today. There is no more hiding it anymore, the numbers are out there and this time people will take notice.
The NFL, as expected, has already commented on the recent findings. A Spokesman for the league released a statement in response to the report:
“We are dedicated to making football safer and continue to take steps to protect players, including rule changes, advanced sideline technology, and expanded medical resources. We continue to make significant investments in independent research through our gifts to Boston University, the [National Institutes of Health] and other efforts to accelerate the science and understanding of these issues.”
It would be unfair of me to say that the NFL has not taken some of the necessary steps in order to solve this issue, but the problem lies in the fact they have continually tried to cover it up, and act as though nothing out of the ordinary is happening.
The league over the past several years has had to deal with numerous complaints and lawsuits from past players who are now dealing with CTE. This past April, the league reached a final settlement with a group of former players who have dealt with the lingering complications left behind by repeated head trauma. It is said that the settlement cost could be as high as $1 billion over the next 65 years, according to a report by Bleacher Report.
This is the real issue that the NFL has to deal with. Forget “deflatgate”, forget anything else that the NFL has tried to push. There is no more ignoring it because it is here. It is at the NFL’s door step and they have to once and for all give us a straight answer.
Their players are suffering from a disease that is clearly linked to the sport of football, and more and more we are seeing these people’s lives end in tragedy. It is now or never for the NFL, no more denying, no more hiding. Because don’t for a second think that this is the end of all this whole ordeal. This is only the tip of the iceberg, and believe me, this is only going to get significantly, significantly worse.
By Jake Cianci