This is revolting. But not surprising.
At least a half-dozen top NFL health officials waged an improper, behind-the-scenes campaign last year to influence a major U.S. government research study on football and brain disease, congressional investigators have concluded in a new report.
The 91-page report describes how the NFL pressured the National Institutes of Health to strip the $16 million project from a prominent Boston University researcher and tried to redirect the money to members of the league’s committee on brain injuries. The study was to have been funded out of a $30 million “unrestricted gift” the NFL gave the NIH in 2012.
After the NIH rebuffed the NFL’s campaign to remove Robert Stern, an expert in neurodegenerative disease who has criticized the league, the NFL backed out of a signed agreement to pay for the study, the report shows. Taxpayers ended up bearing the cost instead.
The NFL’s actions violated policies that prohibit private donors from interfering in the NIH peer-review process, the report concludes, and were part of a “long-standing pattern of attempts” by the league to shape concussion research for its own purposes.
I’m sure those purposes were humanitarian. Totally.
The NFL strenuously objects, of course.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy on Monday said: “The NFL rejects the allegations laid out … There is no dispute that there were concerns raised about both the nature of the study in question and possible conflicts of interest. These concerns were raised for review and consideration through the appropriate channels. … It is deeply disappointing the authors of the Staff Report would make allegations directed at doctors affiliated with the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee without ever speaking to them.”
But I notice it’s not stepping up to relieve the taxpayers of that $16 million dollar bill we’ve been presented with.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said on SportsCenter on Monday that the union decided, years ago, to split from the NFL on such matters because of the league’s conflicted history around brain research. He said the league has no commitment to the health and safety of its players.
“It’s one of the most troubling and disturbing reports I’ve seen,” Smith said of the Outside the Lines story Monday, adding he wasn’t surprised, however. “It reaffirms the fact that the league has its own view about how they care about players in the NFL.”
Pallone said he hopes the report will push the league to make changes.
“The history with the league is, if you catch them, then they start to listen,” Pallone said.
And you wonder why the people in charge keep getting sued for crap like this.
“Lots of history here. But our process was not tainted and all above board. … Trouble is of course that the [Stern] group is led by people who first broke the science open, and NFL owners and leadership think of them as the creators of the problem.”
Well, actually, you don’t.
14 responses to ““It shouldn’t be a rigged game.””
What isn’t rigged these days?
“It shouldn’t be a rigged game.”
Senator, I thought your article was going to be about SEC officiating.
It’s getting harder to love football knowing what we do about the people running it.
You got that right.
Goodell is a piece of garbage. He should have been let go long ago. He’s soft on wife beaters and thugs, has a vendetta against Brady, and this. F him.
Libertarians should take notice of these stories. That idea that you aren’t going to be ground into the dirt by the haves in your libertarian day dream is just that….a dream. These guys made a donation to the NIH for research to support their agenda. When they didnt get said research they pulled their funding.
And your answer to those Libertarians would be……..
Liberals should take notice of the many instances of the government conspiring with those same “haves” to grind people and competition into the dust.
The hypocrisy of an “unrestricted gift” from the NFL being manipulated is insane to a scientist. Even if conflicts of interest are heralded as their reason, it’s a slap in the face toward true research to imply that data won’t drive the outcome and the conclusive reasoning of the research. Both are open to critical scrutiny that prevents cherry picking data to drive a foregone conclusion.
Since the gift was unrestricted, why did taxpayer money end up funding it? Probably because the scientist applied for the NIH grant and the NIH should be the one to say “Let’s use the money from the unrestricted gift.”. If the NFL was to be uncooperative with Stern doing the research, why would they be any more cooperative when taxpayer money is used to get away from the undue pressure of the NFL?
Is this going to end up as an NFL thumb in the eye of the NFLPA? If you would go as far as the NFL in attempting to influence Science, what in hell does that say about your needed cooperation for the study?
I hope it rains into every open stadium for every NFL game played this year just to make a global-warming statement to the NFL. If scientific data ain’t to your liking, then quit going to the doctor.
Are you sure the problem with degenerative brain disease isn’t caused by climate change?
Flouridated water. Everybody knows that.
Do I trust the NFL or Government Agencies. Wow. Sounds like our current election. I suppose, I would side with anyone other than Government.