On Thursday morning the New York Times dropped a scathing report on the seemingly flawed comprehensive study conducted by the NFL regarding concussions, noting it lacked enough relevant information to lead to any justifiable conclusions and made note of a working relationship between the league and some key names associated with the tobacco industry. Not surprisingly, the NFL has issued a statement in response to the latest headlines and defended the shield as best it could.
As the Times itself states: “The Times has found no direct evidence that the league took its strategy from Big Tobacco.” Despite that concession, the Times published pages of innuendo and speculation for a headline with no basis in fact.
And from there the gloves were officially off.,
Since learning of the proposed story, the NFL provided the Times with more than 50 pages of information demonstrating the facts. The Times ignored the facts.
So, what were those missing facts the NFL claims to have shared with The New York Times? The NFL revealed those facts in the remainder of the statement, and here’s an abridged version of them.
- “The Times claims that the concussion studies funded in part by NFL Charities purposely relied on faulty and incomplete concussion data. In fact, the MTBI studies published by the MTBI Committee are clear that the data set had limitations.”
- “The story claims that the League relied on legal advice from Lorillard and the Tobacco Institute. In fact, neither then-NFL Commissioner, Mr. Tagliabue, the League nor its counsel ever solicited, reviewed, or relied on any advice from anyone at Lorillard or the Tobacco Institute regarding health issues.”
- “The Times insinuates that the NFL hired Dorothy Mitchell, an associate at the law firm Covington & Burling, because of her experience in tobacco litigation. Ms. Mitchell, who had represented the NFL in employment litigation, sought an in-house job with the NFL and was hired as a labor lawyer to handle Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) related grievances.”
- “The Times asserts a connection between the League and the Tobacco Institute because both hired the Stanford Research Institute (SRI). SRI’s blue chip client list includes multiple U.S. government agencies, such as [author’s note: ramble, ramble, ramble]… There is no evidence that SRI engaged in misleading or inappropriate research.”
You can read the full statement on the NFL’s website.