Helmet Hit

When the news broke Monday, it seemed to be a groundbreaking moment for both the NFL and the future safety of the game: An NFL executive named Jeff Miller admitted in a congressional roundtable discussion that the league recognizes a link between football and CTE, the degenerative brain disease believed to be caused by repeated trauma to the head.

Here is that moment:

OK, so, pretty cool, huh? Obviously, the NFL is well behind the rest of the world in coming to these terms, but that acknowledgement could do wonders for the advancement of football safety, as well as CTE treatment and prevention.

But it was short-lived. On Tuesday, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said that when Miller confirmed the link between CTE and football, he was merely commenting on the value of the work done by Dr. Ann McKee, a neuropathologist at Boston University.

"He was discussing Dr. McKee's findings and made the additional point that a lot more questions need to be answered," McCarthy said. "He said that the experts should speak to the state of the science."

In other words: Nice job so far, researchers, but the NFL isn't convinced.

But wait! Maybe the NFL is convinced after all. One would think McCarthy, the league's official mouthpiece, wouldn't misspeak on behalf of the league. But apparently he did, because hours after making the correction, McCarthy corrected himself.

"The comments made by Jeff Miller yesterday accurately reflect the view of the NFL," he said in a statement.

OK then. So the NFL, after neverminding its nevermind, does in fact agree that there's a link between football and CTE.

It's a curious turn of events that seems very surprising, given the huge implications such an admission presents. You would think the process of making such a statement would be highly orchestrated and carefully planned.

Instead, the NFL tripped over itself like two people who can't remember where they parked.

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