Did pressure from the NFL prompt ESPN to bail out on PBS investigation of football concussions?


HERE‘s the basic news story:

ESPN has backed out of its collaboration with PBS’ “Frontline” on an investigation into the NFL’s response to concussions and brain injuries. The end of the partnership was first announced on Thursday in a statement from “Frontline,” authored by executive producer David Fanning and deputy executive producer Raney Aronson.

The partnership between PBS’ respected longform journalism series and ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” was announced in November 2012. It has included reports published on both media outlet’s websites and is set to include a book [above] co-authored by ESPN reporters Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada and a “Frontline” documentary, both titled “League Of Denial.”

Although ESPN and “Outside The Lines” logos and collaboration credits will no longer appear on PBS’ League Of Denial and Concussion Watch websites or on the upcoming documentary, the “Frontline” producers confirmed that Fainaru-Wada and Fainaru “will continue to participate in the production and be featured in the documentary.” ESPN cited its lack of editorial control as a reason for pulling its logos and any credits.


Meanwhile, it says HERE that ESPN was pressured to quit the project:

ESPN ended its high-profile collaboration with PBS’ Frontline on a concussion investigation project due to pressure from the National Football League, according to The New York Times.

The Times reported that top brass from ESPN and the NFL convened for what was described as a “combative meeting” last week — with ESPN president John Skipper, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL Network president Steve Bornstein and ESPN’s executive vp production John Wildhack all present.


For previous posts of mine regarding the existential threat faced by football in light of head injuries, check HERE and HERE.



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