Matt Chaney, Football’s Cassandra, Roasts ‘Heads Up’ Chicanery on ESPN

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August 8, 2015

by Irvin Muchnick


Concussion Inc.’s good friend, Matt Chaney, had another star turn yesterday on ESPN’s Outside the Lines, which boasts a certified affirmative action program for dissident voices in the debate over the future of football. Matt is an independent journalist and author in Missouri. The OTL panel discussion was ably anchored by T.J. Quinn. More below.

First, a program note: There is more Irish and British media coverage upcoming of the scandal of rapist former Irish Olympic head swim coach George Gibney’s American green card — in print over the weekend, on radio next week.

In the meantime, Congresswoman Jackie Speier and her women colleagues in the House and the Senate are oh-for-107 so far in public response to the letter appeal on the Gibney matter from their Irish counterpart, TD Maureen O’Sullivan. In my experience, this breaks the all-time record for disciplined apathy previously held by the board of directors of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.


I highly recommend viewing the Chaney OTL shot at these links:

The panel consisted of Douglas Casa, of the USA Football Medical Advisory Committee; Jane McManus, an ESPN writer; and Matt. This was in keeping with the formula of mixing and stirring a football flack with scientific credentials, a woman to triangulate on behalf of female sports opportunities; and a designated lunatic fringer.

Except that it was Chaney, typically, who made the most sense. Casa had no real response to Matt’s point that “heads up” propaganda was old news, recycled throughout history like calls for national health insurance, then abandoned in the next breath, because safer blocking and tackling technique has no relevance to athletic action in real time. And everyone knows it. We’re only two years out from the announced National Football League “rule” that running backs can’t lead with the crowns of their helmets (presumably the left buttock is more efficient) — which to my knowledge has not resulted in a single penalty.

Casa countered that line by arguing in favor of ejections, left and right, for dangerous play. This leads to the prospect of a Super Bowl, somewhere around the fourth $25 million commercial break, devolving into a five-on-five between the water boys and the ball-deflation technicians. Since this will never happen, Casa can persist in blue-sky advocacy, while making the comical claim that this puts the football industry on the moral high ground in “balancing” the risks and rewards of youth tackle football.

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick