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Dissident sports voices might as well admit that the mainstream media have it about right in their analyses of the penalties handed down by Roger Goodell, the National Football League commissioner, in the New Orleans Saints “bounty” scandal. The smartest commentators focus on the internal NFL politics: Goodell’s jockeying for leverage with the owners; Saints coach Sean Payton’s more profound sin of flaunting league authority; and when it comes to the overarching concussion crisis, this $10-billion-a-year corporation’s need to position itself as not blatantly negligent.

Latently negligent? Let the legal mouthpieces slug that one out.

In short, there’s plenty of snark to go around, and most intelligent observers grasp the concept that the perpetuation of the pro football product for all of us – owners, coaches, players, fans, sponsors – requires lots of film work in the hypocrisy and denial rooms.

Which is why I choose not to jump feet-first into the New Orleans story. I don’tcare whether there was an inside snitch. I don’t think it matters all that much how the equities of Payton’s one-year ban (most likely, he’ll never work as a head coach again and almost certainly not in the Big Easy) stack up against sanctions involving other kinds of cheating. I haven’t the foggiest whether Goodell’s administrative kill shot enhances or diminishes the dozens of lawsuits by retired players living life sentences of traumatic brain injury.

For my money, what’s missing in the NFL bounty coverage is a word or two about Scott Eveland.



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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick