Saturday, January 22, 2011

NFL: Alan Schwarz Is Out There

The NFL should just give it up.  They pushed Toyota into dropping part of an ad because it showed football players (not NFL players) colliding and referred to how Toyota research on car collisions is being shared with those working on concussions in sports.  But this illustration seemed too much for the NFL which used to glorify such big hits and has been inconsistent in the playoffs in penalizing such hits.  So, NFL exerted its market power as its games provide heaps of audience for car ads.

As Schwarz points out, the contention that football is just one of many sports where concussions occur is true but also silly:

Brian McCarthy, a spokesman for the N.F.L., said: “We felt it was unfair to single out a particular sport. Concussions aren’t just a football issue.”
The N.F.L. is correct that concussions are an issue in other sports. According to researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, high school football players report about 100,000 concussions per year. The second through ninth-ranked sports combined reach 110,000.
The NFL should realize that they cannot cover up the concussion problem.  There has been some new openness and improved policies but lots of resistance as well.  Schwarz is going to make sure that resistance is futile.  Nice to see journalism having a bit of an edge and not so much he said she said.

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