Last night, PBS aired their full two-hour documentary League of Denial on Frontline and the accompanying book from Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru.
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Thanks to PBS, you can now watch the entire movie in Full Screen mode by clicking on the Enlarge icon in the lower right corner when you move your cursor over the video as it starts to play.
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Concussion Collision

2 October 2013

1959 Three Stooges
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So the end of September has come and gone. No sign of any details on that incredible once-in-a-lifetime $765 million proposed settlement offer to retired players for concussion damages that was supposed to have been available by the end of September. More retired players have died in the meantime. But no worries: Maybe they’re waiting to watch the documentary and read the book. Next week on October 8th, PBS will air their entire two-hour documentary League of Denial on Frontline and the accompanying book from Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru will also be available online at Amazon: League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth

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As with most lawsuits where there’s lots of money involved, a lot of coattail riding has gone on with the NFL concussion lawsuits and some have questioned why we’ve been so adamant in recommending Jason Luckasevic and his firm Goldberg Persky White (and his partners Girardi Keese and Russomanno & Borrello) to represent you. Jason was the original attorney who spent years of personal time in researching and pulling together all the details and partners necessary to finally file a solid lawsuit on behalf of his first clients. And if anyone tells you otherwise, you’ll be able to read four chapters in the Fainaru Brothers’ book dedicated to the behind-the-scenes stories leading up to the filing of those first lawsuits.
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You can also read the full accompanying article on ESPN – click HERE.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: Our phone lines and Inboxes have been tied up since last Thursday when it was first announced that there was a tentative settlement offer being presented to the court by the mediator in the NFL concussion lawsuits. On first review, there are some details that haven’t really been made available yet and this spin is also starting to look very familiar. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of speculation and misinformation out there already pouring out of the media and we’re just as guilty with trying to second-guess much of what’s been said. But we’ve had some conversations with many of the retired players and lawyers in an attempt to get more facts as well as to calm things down.
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Something that’s interesting to note: All the media – especially the mainstream sports media with the likes of ESPN which axed its ties to the League of Denial documentary with PBS – have been posting opinion pieces and misinformation about this settlement proposal. Most of the people directly involved with the litigation have informed us that they have very few details yet. The only party in this whole mess who have NOT said anything is… You guessed it. The League. Is this another typical NFL pit-everyone-against-each-other maneuver? Hmmm. And if you do want some real gossip, check out this piece on who may have been part of the negotiations: Click HERE.
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George Visger asked us to post his thoughts here online as part of a better strategy for everyone: The best answer is, “We don’t have all the facts yet. Let’s just wait and see.”
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George VisgerI owe Jason Luckasevic a HUGE apology.
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JASON, I APOLOGIZE FOR MY COMMENTS I E-MAILED YESTERDAY.
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I will follow up by sending this to everyone I emailed my displeasure at the settlement to.
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Again, I apologize.
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I know you have been in this battle for the last 6 years. You told me years ago, prior to it even being filed, you were in it for the long run. I remember meeting with you and an attorney from a big bad firm that was involved in the settlement with Big Tobacco. You were looking to team with them as no law firm has the resources to take on the NFL conglomerate alone.
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After months of review, one law firm after another turned tail and ran. You called me that day to state, “George, we will get this done for all the families who have suffered. We’ll find lawyers with enough backbone and integrity to go after these NFL with us.”
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As soon as I heard the announcement Thursday of the NFL’s proposed settlement in the NFL head injury case, I fell for the NFL’s propaganda. When I read stories about the amount and payment schedule over 20 years, I was livid.
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“What is this garbage?” I thought. “$750 a month paid out over 20 years?!!”
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As I have a tendency to do, I jumped the gun. I fired off upset before I had any of the facts – other than the “facts” we were fed which were only partial truths. It may be more propaganda from the NFL as a last ditch, Hail Mary attempt to divide us once again. The truth of the matter is that  Jason Luckasevic and the other key attorneys involved still don’t know the details yet: Exact amounts, who gets what or how it will all be divided or the process of rejecting this proposal.
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You stated you need to make sure it’s even real money and you need more time to sort out the facts.
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I believe you and I hope all my NFL brothers I may have fired up (and some who got me fired up) will also do the same.
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Jason Luckasevic is the ONLY attorney who has been involved from the inception of this case when it was only a “potential” case. Others have joined the fray and may be making more noise than Jason but that’s been all right with him as it is with me.
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You did more than what you promised me years ago. You said, “I can’t promise you anything or even if we will ever get a suit out of this, but I promise you we will do everything in our power to get it done if there’s any possibility at all.”
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Thanks for keeping your word. And again I apologize for ever doubting your integrity.
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My family thanks you too.
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George Visger
San Francisco 49ers
1980 & 1981
Super Bowl XVI
Survivor of 9 NFL-Caused brain surgeries
Benefactor of ZERO NFL Benefits
The Visger Group
Traumatic Brain Injury Consulting
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I spoke to Jason and other parties involved in the suit this morning. Some of the terms have not even been worked out and when they do, we will all have a say in it. The final settlement must be approved by the players and attorneys. If we don’t like the settlement we don’t approve it. It’s that simple.
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PS: My actions and statements are classic examples of what those of us who suffer from Traumatic Brain Injuries and CTE face.

  • Poor Judgement
  • Lack of Impulse control
  • And Anger Management Issues

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EDITOR’S NOTE: In his usual detailed manner, Evan Weiner takes a very interesting look at ESPN and its long-standing business relationship with the NFL over the years and how it resulted in ESPN’s withdrawal from their partnership with PBS Frontline. The League of Denial documentary on football concussions is now front and center in the media – not exactly what they expected when they made that decision to pull out. Posted with the express consent of Evan Weiner:
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ESPN’s Football Faux Pas, NFL Concussions League of Denial
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By Evan Weiner
August 29, 2013
SportsTalkFlorida
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Goodell_WhaaaMake no mistake; the Walt Disney Company’s ESPN cable TV networks are not set up to be journalism bastions. There were two stories recently reported in the New York Times which clearly illustrated what ESPN is all about. Disney’s sports franchise pulled out of a partnership with PBS’s Frontline to produce a two-part series on head injuries suffered by NFL players. The New York Times reported that the National Football League pressured the very company that pays them billions of dollars to get out of the “League of Denial” presentation. The New York Times on Monday carried a piece on the paper’s front page about the ESPN partnership with the University of Louisville and how the company has been a critical component of the rise of the school’s football program.
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Judge Judy Shake My HeadWell, it looks like retired players may finally be getting the NFL’s attention. When they start trying to censor the conversation, you know they’re getting worried. After years of simply denying and spinning out fiction with phony committees and lying “doctor” experts, the League started a new PR initiative to give the appearance of caring about their employees, the very ingredient that makes up the NFL Money Machine. You have new safety rules and even slick posters put up in all the team locker rooms. But absolutely nothing substantial has been done to address the consequences from decades of denial and ignoring the damage done to the lives of all the men from years past. . continue reading »

This new video about Elliot Pellman – Dr. YES of the NFL’s former MILD Traumatic Brain Injury Committee with his counterpart Dr. NO Ira Casson – is part of the recent disclosure that he was also Paul Tagliabue’s personal physician. This is one more important piece of evidence in the case against the NFL in the concussion lawsuits.
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Read the entire article on ESPN by clicking HERE.
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Posted with the express consent of Evan Weiner:
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THE BUSINESS AND POLITICS OF SPORTS
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BY EVAN WEINER
COMMENTARY
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The NFL job audition includes making the “suicide squad” rather than the special teams squad
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May 11, 2013
Examiner
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LIFE Suicide Squad Cover 1971The National Football League is open for business again. Players are on the field showing coaches that they can indeed play football even though the season is months away. The players showcasing their talents aren’t the normal, everyday players. No – these guys on the field are young guys trying to catch the eye of a coach and make a team and it doesn’t matter if they are first round draft picks or free agents hoping to just get to a training camp in July.
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Not much is said about the long term health of these guys; they are just anxious to play football. Another one-time former football player, George Sauer, Jr. passed away at 69 years of age this week from congestive heart failure and Alzheimer’s disease. There may be some unintentional irony in Sauer’s passing from Alzheimer’s disease as he walked away from the New York Jets and the National Football League after the 1970 season because he found pro football dehumanizing and it “both glorifies and destroys bodies” as he described in a 1983 article in the New York Times.
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Sauer was a wide receiver.
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The young guys trying to impress the coaches in all likelihood never heard of George Sauer. But they probably know Tedy Bruschi who played for the New England Patriots (1996 – 2008) and is now a football commentator on ESPN.
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Roger Goodell Haste Makes Waste

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The continuing flood of news coverage and studies has been relentless during this football season with no sign of letting up even as more retired players add their names to the growing list of concussion lawsuits. The results of Junior Seau’s brain study were finally released by the National Institute of Health (NIH) following months of speculation and rumors of a potential coverup following his suicide last May. We lead our latest concussion update post with the breaking ESPN report on the NIH study:
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ESPN-OTL logo continue reading »

Concussion coverage continues to take center stage in mid-season as ESPN keeps digging deeper into the contradictory position the League continued to take on the long-term damages of brain injuries from a career in football. Mark Fainaru-Wada reports on the findings of a joint ESPN Outside the Lines and PBS Frontline investigation. Dave’s concussion lawsuit attorney Jason Luckasevic was part of a discussion panel with ESPN’s Outside the Lines this past Friday – here’s the audio:
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And here’s an earlier OTL video from back in February 2012 with background on the growing concussion lawsuits being filed:
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Then there’s a very recent clip from ESPN discussing the “smoking gun” that could damage the NFL’s claims of ignorance about concussions even as the Disability Board unanimously approved three disability claims based on concussion injuries suffered by players – all while denying the majority of similar claims by publicly disavowing any connection of long-term damages from concussions and brain injuries. Hall of Famer Mike Webster is the most prominent of those three approved claims with a $1.8 million settlement to his estate after giving the NFL and its Disability Plan a sound beating in the appeals process.
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And the article from Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada at ESPN:
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Mixed messages on brain injuries

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A 2009 Sports Illustrated article reported that 60 percent of former NBA players are broke within five years of retirement. And after two years of retirement, 78% of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress. (You can read Pablo Torre‘s piece from the SI Archives – click HERE.)

From the new ESPN Series “30 For 30,” here’s director Billy Corben’s contribution ‘Broke: How Millionaire Athletes End Up Broke.’ (This is the entire 1:27 film so when you start the video, click the Full Screen icon in the lower right corner of the video screen to take it all in.)
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We understand the NFLPA is objecting to some statements made by reporter Darren Rovell in the movie. (Read about their statement on B&C – click HERE.)
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EDITOR’S NOTE (Oct. 10, 2012): We just added an interview to the end of this post from radio program Sports Unplugged with Broke director Billy Corben discussing more background on what he learned during the making of his film.
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Patrick Hruby: Game Over

5 September 2012

Posted with the express permission of Patrick Hruby and with acknowledgement to SportsEarth.com.
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by Patrick Hruby
August 29, 2012
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The hotel restaurant was closed. So we ate at the bar. It was early August, and I was in town visiting a former NFL lineman. Call him Max. It’s better not to use his real name.
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During his time in football, Max was hit in the head. A lot. He since has endured nine brain surgeries. He has trouble remembering things. Serious trouble, like the main character in the movie “Memento.” Max and I were both carrying notepads, but for different reasons.
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This is a Must-See program! Retired NFL player, Conrad Dobler is joined by documentary filmmaker, Sean Pamphilon, (Run Ricky Run) and journalist Patrick Hruby (ESPN, Yahoo Sports, Washington Times) for a riveting discussion on the culture of football. Sean was going into his second week of fielding media calls after releasing his 12-minute BountyGate audio following Commissioner Roger Goodell’s handing down penalties to those involved from the New Orleans Saints. Conrad talks about some of his personal experiences with fighting the NFL and NFLPA for his disability benefits. Patrick talks about how his journalistic endeavors have led him to a different perspective on football and concussions. As presented at our Second Annual Independent Football Veterans Conference at the South Point Resort in Las Vegas April 20 – 22, 2012.
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All of our footage was recorded in High Definition (Thanks to Jennifer Thibeaux!) and you can enjoy each broadcast at it best by selecting HD quality by clicking on the setup icon (that Gear button) in the lower right of the video screen and then clicking on the Full Screen View button in the bottom right corner of each video.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: You can read Patrick Hruby’s recently published article on high school football player, Austin Trenum, who committed suicide unexpectedly at home one night after suffering a concussion a few days earlier. Patrick refers to working on this story early during this discussion. Click HERE to read that article in Washingtonian Magazine.
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Posted with the express consent of Evan Weiner:

THE BUSINESS AND POLITICS OF SPORTS
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Wednesday, 2 May 2011
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BY EVAN WEINER
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
COMMENTARY
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I didn’t know Junior Seau although I met him on the day he was drafted into the National Football League in 1990 and probably interviewed him after a football game a few times more. From all accounts, he was a fearsome presence on the football field; a killer who at times could control a game defensively.
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But Junior Seau didn’t live to be a ripe old age and until an autopsy is performed and a police investigation is complete, there is no need to speculate about the circumstances surrounding Seau’s death other than he was found dead of a shotgun wound on the morning of May 2, 2012 about 22 years after the San Diego Chargers football team called his name at the annual National Football League event.
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The gun wound should strike a nerve among former players. It seems that is becoming a way of life and death among NFL alum suffering from life altering injuries that probably came from years and years of absorbing hits on the football field. People do hear about former NFL players but there seems to be no tracking of high school and college players who years after their football careers ended killed themselves.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: Dave will be heading in to the hospital tomorrow morning (Tuesday) for his scheduled total right hip replacement. We’ll keep you posted on his progress. In the meantime, we’ve been following the growing number of new concussion and helmet lawsuits over the past couple of months from all across the country. It’s been hard keeping up with all the details and lawyers and players behind each suit. Last week, many of them were consolidated in a Federal Court in Pennsylvania under Judge Anita Brody. Dave asked one of his attorneys, Jason Luckasevic, from the firm Goldberg Persky & White, to provide an overview and summary of what has happened so far.
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And for those of us with shorter attention spans, the highlights are now up on YouTube from our June 20th 2011 Retired Football Players Press Conference. We’ve uploaded it to YouTube in HD – you can enlarge it to full screen for easier viewing using the enlarge button in the lower right corner of the video window.
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And once again, thanks to Jennifer Thibeaux and her crew. We’re working on shorter individual clips to also be posted daily on YouTube over the following weeks to keep this issue front and center with the fans and general public. Retired Players are NOT going away!
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And for those of us with shorter attention spans, the highlights are now up on YouTube from our June 20th 2011 Retired Football Players Press Conference. We’ve uploaded it to YouTube in HD – you can enlarge it to full screen for easier viewing using the enlarge button in the lower right corner of the video window.
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And once again, thanks to Jennifer Thibeaux and her crew. We’re working on shorter individual clips to also be posted daily on YouTube over the following weeks to keep this issue front and center with the fans and general public. Retired Players are NOT going away!
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And a little something extra: Hall-of-Famer Gale Sayers is mad too!
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HOW YOU CAN HELP: Click on the Like button on YouTube, as well as passing these videos along to all of your friends. You can also post our video links to your Facebook page if you have a Facebook account and Tweet it to Twitter (you can use those buttons at the bottom of each of our posts). And please be sure to click on the Sign Our Petition link at the top of the sidebar on the right to let everyone know you support these guys!
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