And the NFL Band Played On: Concussion Crisis Destined to Become Sports World Counterpart of AIDS Saga
by Irvin Muchnick
The absolute power of the National Football League has corrupted our sports culture absolutely. In his recent intemperate email to me, The New York Times’ concussion reporter, Alan Schwarz, complained that I have failed to credit him with uncovering a “conspiracy” in the marketing of flawed helmets to youth football players. But, as I see the larger arc of the story, there was no conspiracy. Rather, I see how Schwarz’s choice of a safely domestic investigative target exposes the diminished ambition behind institutional journalism’s insincerely overheated rhetoric.
Since at the very latest 1994, the NFL has been served ample forensic notice that the sport it markets was growing out of human and medical control. These are not ACL’s and torn shoulder capsules we’re talking about, people; they are the brains of frighteningly large numbers of American males who have participated, in organized fashion and from very early ages, in an activity that is a staple of adult approval and social status.
And what did the league, its fawning media, its co-profiting sponsors, and its frat-pack fans do about it? As little as they could get away with.
CONTINUED TODAY AT BEYOND CHRON, THE SAN FRANCISCO ONLINE NEWSPAPER: