1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

NYT: ESPN pulled out of concussion doc project due to NFL pressure

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Steak Snabler, Aug 23, 2013.

  1. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    ESPN looks terrible here, and they earned that. If you're going to start something like this you need to see it through, or you will appear -- quite rightly -- like you caved to your business partner.

    To me, it's kind of remarkable that they got involved in the first place. The business ties to the NFL are massive for ESPN, so one way or another this was going to end badly.

    But amid the ESPN bashing:

    ...let me make one point.

    Any of y'all want to post the big exposes your shops have done on the business practices of the big car dealers in town? How about doing a story about the overhead of your local branch of the United Way -- want to pitch that to your publisher?

    This happens at all levels, at virtually all shops. ESPN deserves the scorn it's getting because it handled it miserably, but let's be honest: the biggest fuckup here was tackling the story in the first place. ESPN ultimately made the same call that damn near any other organization would have made from the get-go, and that's to not touch a story that goes after a business partner.
  2. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    To add to PCLL's thought: When was the last time your newspaper said the real estate market was anything but wonderful, or, at least, "on the way back"? Talk about trying to fit the narrative [/crossthread]

    There's journalism, and there's business. Those two things are often at cross-purposes, and have been pretty much forever.
  3. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    ESPN has gone all in on football of all kinds (even high school!) and on college sports. These are the two sports institutions that face the most socioeconomic/political jeopardy in the next 25 years. That could turn out to be a bad bet. Social and political attitudes do and can change, sometimes quite quickly. See marriage, gay.
  4. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    A couple of thoughts:

    1. When the NFL corporate types talk about television-related matters, they talk about "our broadcast partners". I find that an interesting and revealing phrase.

    2. This news and the lawsuit settlements since this ESPN action became public shows the NFL clearly wants this issue to go away and is willing to pay more than a half-billion dollars to do it. It was interesting that President Obama earlier this year said if he had sons, he didn't know if he would let them play football because of the concerns about concussions.

    3. There is a lot of pressure on NFL players to try to play through concussions. Can team doctors be trusted to give accurate medical analysis? Suffering concussions during games is a reason players would try to hide it. I recall reading an article where Hines Ward said he had a shot to his head and he grabbed his leg so the team wouldn't find out. The pressure results from money and the desire not to let teammates down.

    4. Should there be a doctor assigned as an official by the NFL to rule only on concussions?
  5. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    Bump to remind everyone that the Frontline piece airs tonight, in like 15 minutes.
  6. boundforboston

    boundforboston Well-Known Member

    You can also watch it here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/league-of-denial/
  7. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Based on riveting debate this thread has generated today, no doubt the show
    was widely watched by the SJ membership.

    Interesting report but seemed a tad one sided. Raised a lot of questions including
    why Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada, if brothers have different last names.

    Dr Mckee would have been a solid SJ 6 in the day before the internet was invented.
  8. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    Fainaru-Wada added his wife's last name.

    Thought the point of the doc wasn't that there is a link between football and brain trauma, but the NFL didn't want to know it and actively resisted finding out. Pretty compelling stuff, really surprised the NFL didn't make itself available considering its rep for its PR savvy. I figure they'll dial up 60 Minutes for a response.
    And while it's true that background music and Will Lyman narration could make Sesame Street look like a criminal conspiracy, I was quite impressed with the work, particularly the interviews with Steve Young and the other ESPN people. Seems pretty clear that ESPN values its NFL ties more than a really big bump in the journalistic reputation this could have brought it.
  9. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    Can't spend a "bump in the journalistic reputation."
  10. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    As those in the newspaper industry can attest.
  11. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member


    But not as weird as Steve Fainaru's tan.

    I found it pretty compelling, especially the Mike Webster stuff.

    And that Pittsburgh pathologist seems like an unusual cat, as I'm sure most people who work around dead bodies all day are. Very animated.
  12. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    I gotta see that, if nothing else to see what Steve Fainaru looks like nowadays. I lived in a frat with him for a couple of years[/mizzougradesquenamedrop]
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page