Roger Goodell emails 10 million fans about player safety
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell emailed roughly 10 million fans registered in a league database Thursday to address the ongoing issue of player safety.
The e-mail comes on the heels of an excerpt published this week from a book, set to be released next week, entitled, League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth, which seeks to show how the league downplayed the effects of concussions on its players.
In the email Thursday, Goodell said the NFL continues to look at ways to ensure the long-term health and safety of its players, and he traced back the history of the league’s effort to cut down on serious injuries “from the 1970s when we eliminated the head slap” to more recent changes, including penalties for horse-collar tackles. He ended the letter ensuring fans that the sport will remain the same in some ways but will change in others to address the league’s ongoing effort to maintain a player’s safety on and off the field:
“Football will remain the hard-hitting, physical sport that you love. And we will continue to be vigilant in seeking ways to make the game even better and safer. The future of football is brighter, bigger, better, and more exciting than ever.”
The book, written by ESPN investigative reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru, makes a case that the league used its own flawed research to minimize the effect that concussions have on its players. Among other claims, the books also details how NFL executives invested heavily in public relations campaigns to keep fans and the general public unaware of data that supported the deleterious longterm health effects of playing in the NFL.
In August, the NFL settled a lawsuit filed by more than 4,500 ex-players, paying out approximately $765 million to the group. The former players claimed that the NFL’s Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee performed fraudulent research to support the league’s claim that there wasn’t a real connection between playing football and brain damage.