Holy Plot Twist: ‘Concussion’ Movie Director Peter Landesman Tells Us, ‘I Never Heard of MomsTeam’

Published December 11th, 2015, Uncategorized

by Irvin Muchnick

 

 

My campaign to keep Bennet Omalu on course as the brave public health advocate he is, rather than as a Hollywood mascot for Will Smith’s Oscar ambitions, took a strange turn with this email yesterday afternoon from Peter Landesman, the writer and director of the new Concussion movie:

 

 

 

“Mr. Muchnick—

Reading your stuff on the movie.

I never heard of MomsTeam until 4 minutes ago, when I read I announced something about it in your column.

What is it? What is it supposedly doing? And what do I supposedly have to do with it? (I don’t believe my producers know anything either, btw.)

Yours, nonconfrontationally—

Peter Landesman”

 

 

 

I replied to Landesman with the following capture from the @ConcussionMovie’s Twitter timeline, noted that there were plenty of others where this came from, and asked him if this Twitter account is a fake:

 

 

Concussion Movie ?@ConcussionMovie  Nov 10

Our partnership with the #MomsTeam Institute is fresh out the oven. Stay tuned to be part of our recipe.

 

 

 

Landesman has not responded to my email or a follow-up. I will send this post to both Landesman and Brooke de Lench of the MomsTeam Institute, which is raising money on Twitter, under the film’s imprimatur (and with sanctioning retweets), via silly dance video snippets under the hashtag “#ForThePlayers Challenge.” I’ll suggest that Landesman and de Lench introduce themselves to each other and explain to the rest of us what the hell is going on.

With regard to Omalu himself, I’m pleased to see him doing a round of media interviews calmly rebutting the position of his old research colleague Jullan Bailes that football is “safer than ever” and that parents need not worry their pretty little heads over their sons’ pretty little heads.

But it’s not good enough. Omalu’s story — his career, his work, his life — is being exploited for mass entertainment, which turns out to be more timid than it seems at first blush. The debate between Omalu and Bailes is not one that should resolve with the familiar major media narrative, “The truth is somewhere in the middle.”

The National Football League and its de facto affiliates, down to Pop Warner Football (for which Bailes, with his public comments, is committing malpractice as “medical director”), are trying to turn their public relations necessity of improved vigilance into an all-encompassing social virtue. They cannot be allowed to get away with this. Bailes’ contention that there have been “no” … as in zero … deaths in youth football is a colossal lie, covering other colossal lies.

Will Landesman and the Concussion producers disavow Bailes’ statements? Will Will Smith (who portrays Omalu)? Will Alec Baldwin (whose enterprise was to make Bailes larger than life, and who has been known to steal a scene or two)? Or will they fall back on the defense that they can’t — because, you know, this is art — all the while reaping the commercial benefits of pretending to be anti-establishment?

Today, Dustin Fink’s Concussion Blog reprints an excellent 2011 interview of Omalu by Matt Chaney. See “Before ‘Concussion’ Omalu Was Still Omalu,” http://theconcussionblog.com/2015/12/11/before-concussion-omalu-was-still-omalu/.

At the bottom of the post, MomsTeam’s Brooke de Lench inputted a cryptic comment in which she manages to take all four sides of a binary debate, as only a thriving “nonprofit” can:

 

 

 

“Dr Omalu is an honorable man who was thrown under the bus and all but written out of history. I highly recommend you read ‘Concussion’ by Jeanne Marie Laskas to find out more. The movie leaves it on the cutting room floor on purpose.”

 

 

PREVIOUSLY:

 

‘Concussion’ Movie’s Subject — NFL Whistleblower Bennet Omalu — Needs to Speak Out Against Disastrous Partnership with Football Industry-Friendly MomsTeam

Published November 23rd, 2015