NFL rejection of science similar to tobacco, climate change fights

October 14, 2013 

While reading the current issue of ESPN The Magazine, I came across an article regarding the settled science addressing pro football's problem with debilitating head trauma.

It details the NFL's longstanding contention that both individually and over time, "concussions were minor injuries," as opposed to myriad neurologists' and neuropsychologists' findings that repeated concussions lead not only to severe depression and dementia but also to brain damage that too often results in suicide.

"The researchers who made this discovery ... thought NFL executives would embrace their findings, if only to make their product safer. That is not what happened. Instead, the league used its economic, political and media power to attack pioneering research and try to replace it with its own. Its resources, of course, were considerable ..."

Further, the article states, "The NFL's strategy seemed not unlike that of another powerful industry, the tobacco industry, which had responded to its own existential threat by underwriting questionable science through the creation of its own scientific research council and trying to silence anyone who contradicted it."

Hmm, does any of this sound at all familiar, climate-change deniers?

But on to another question, while knowing what we know here within the past couple of weeks: When newly elected House Speaker John Boehner went about his ceremonial, and altogether pointless, decision in early 2011 to have each representative recite a line from the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, wouldn't it have been far more fruitful for him to have explained to the Tea Party freshman constituents (along with, sadly, many senior conservatives whom one might assume would've already known) the difference between a household budget and the U.S. federal government's debt ceiling?

Lance Abbring


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