If you want to hear what denial sounds like, listen to Colts owner Jim Irsay. Less than a month after the NFL officially recognized a link between football and the trauma inflicted through head injuries, Irsay is as resistant as ever, saying football's risks are no greater than the risks you take on using an over-the-counter medication.
In an interview with Sports Business Journal, Irsay made several wild assertions that seem to lack any remote scientific basis.
"I believe this: That the game has always been a risk, you know, and the way certain people are. Look at it. You take an aspirin, I take an aspirin, it might give you extreme side effects of illness and your body ... may reject it, where I would be fine," Irsay told SBJ. "So there is so much we don't know."
Irsay also said that attempts to link football to suicides and murders is "absurd."
"There [are] very deadly diseases there, for instance, like alcoholism and addiction. That gets pushed to the side and [a person] says, 'Oh, no. Football,'" Irsay says. "To me, that's really absurd."
Never mind that most of Irsay's criticisms are rebutted by medical science, as well as a good old-fashioned eye test: Anyone can see that football damages the people who play it, even if they disagree with the strength of that correlation.
Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy ripped Irsay's comments in an Instagram post with a reference to the owner's battle against prescription painkiller addiction: "Frequent trips to the pharmacy makes you a medical expert on CTE?"