That trust is continually undermined for fans, football players and former players alike when...
4. The NFL still won't address its concussion problem: When Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada's book League of Denial and its subsequent Frontline documentary were released last year, the biggest story wasn't about the league immediately rushing in to help current and former players, but how it squashed an investigation by broadcast partner ESPN.
That's a damned shame, as there was a whole lot of concussion story to tell last season. NFL players suffered 152 concussions last season alone. Former players including Brett Favre, Terry Bradshaw and Troy Aikman all discussed the debilitating side effects of their own concussions, with Aikman admitting he likely wouldn't let his own children play football.
That's no small sidenote. Pop Warner youth football participation is down 9.5% since 2010. A study by the Institute of Medicine found that high school football players are twice as likely to sustain a concussion as college players. On two separate occasions, President Obama expressed his wariness about allowing children to play football.
When the NFL finally did voice an opinion on concussions, in response to a lawsuit by former players, it offered a $765 million settlement that a judge flat-out rejected and that former players and their families (including those of the late Junior Seau) found insulting.
The NFL says concussions dropped 13% last year. Frontline says that the NFL only counts two thirds of all concussions. That's a huge gap and one that Goodell and his group of NFL owners should at least try to address instead of gladhanding themselves for having driven the awareness of this issue, as Goodell told folks at the 92nd Street Y in New York City earlier this year.
-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.
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