ESPN’s Outside the Lines today aired its Peter Keating-reported investigation of Riddell helmets. You can view the segment at http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=7502903.
The piece disappointed me. Yes, it’s a decent historical overview and a good analysis of the current extent of the federal government’s energy on the issue. But it lacks enterprise. ESPN has served up Alan Schwarz / New York Times 2.0.
The National Football League takes some shots, but is also allowed to triangulate the Senator Tom Udall and Federal Trade Commission probes of Riddell’s controversial promotional claims for its Revolution model. Outside the Lines does note the NFL’s commercial connections with Riddell and the company’s research, but fails to press on clearly or effectively to whether Udall and the feds should be asking the league tougher questions, too, instead of simply vilifying the helmet manufacturer. This all falls somewhere between outright timidity and the “in good time” school of investigative journalism.
As for Riddell study co-author Dr. Joseph Maroon and his corrupt patrons at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center – they are exposed, if at all, only in the deepest, most impenetrable code. The only outlets for the fuller truth about our national concussion puppeteers in Western Pennsylvania remain this blog and our newly published ebook, UPMC: Concussion Scandal Ground Zero.