An attorney by training and a member of Congress by trade, Linda Sanchez knows verbal dissembling -- read: pure, unadulterated bull excrement -- when she hears it. Case in point? During a 2009 Capitol Hill hearing on brain trauma in the National Football League that included commissioner Roger Goodell, the Democratic representative from California introduced a 2007 video clip from HBO's "Real Sports" featuring neurologist Ira Casson, then the co-chair of the league's panel on head injuries.
Interviewer: Is there any evidence, as far as you're concerned, that links multiple head injuries among pro football players with depression?
Interviewer: With dementia?
Interviewer: With early onset of Alzheimer's?
Interviewer: Is there any evidence as of today that links multiple head injuries with any long-term problem like that?
Casson: In NFL players?
"[The NFL's] actions smacked of them knowing it was a very serious problem," Sanchez says. "And them trying to deny it and cover it up with very vague-sounding and un-alarming information, because, let's face it, there's a heck of a lot of money at stake. If they could deny and delay anybody putting this together, then they could avoid being held liable for these former players suffering these very severe aftereffects.
"It reminded me of the tobacco industry, who knew for years and years that smoking wasn't good for you but kept denying it."
No. No. No. No more. Last week, the family of Dave Duerson -- the former Chicago Bears safety who committed suicide by shooting himself in the heart, the better to preserve his brain for scientific study -- filed suit against the NFL, contending that the league's mismanagement of Duerson's on-field concussions resulted in his brain damage and ultimate death. Hundreds of other former players have filed similar suits since last summer, seeking recompense for football-induced headaches and memory loss, depression and dementia, emotional turmoil and cognitive decline. Each complaint alleges essentially the same thing: The NFL knew there was a problem. Knew that concussions can and do produce serious, long-term harm. Knew this and did nothing -- failed to adequately warn players about the risk, failed to protect them with proper care and treatment, failed to help when they later became ill, once-robust men laid irrevocably low by the ticking time bombs exploding inside their heads. Worse still, the league knew and pretended otherwise, plausibly denying and implausibly lying and actively covering up, hiding behind phony prudence and junk science, slow-walking the issue into the dank corner of a dark closet, raking in billions all the while, just like Big Tobacco before them.Full Story >>