NOCSAE Head: ‘Not in Position to Speak on Behalf of the FTC’ on Helmet Safety Investigation

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Michael Oliver, executive director and general counsel of the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) responded to my previous post criticizing the organization for failing to publicize the Federal Trade Commission’s investigation of the safety claims of football helmet manufacturers.

Oliver was gracious but not persuasive. “In this situation, we certainly don’t feel as though we are in position to speak on behalf of the FTC,” he emailed. “Our focus in this outreach directed to athletes and parents was to encourage them to seek information that goes beyond marketing and promotional materials. We want to make sure they are aware of practical resources they can access to get necessary information. That is a part of our role to enhance the safety of athletes.”

I wrote back, in part, “I am not urging you to speak ‘on behalf of the FTC.’ Rather, I am exhorting you to speak ABOUT what the FTC is doing, since that is a news development central to NOCSAE’s mission.”

Irv Muchnick

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