Ann McKee— she cannot tell me where it’s starting. We don’t know the cause and effect. We don’t know that right now. We don’t know the incidence. NARRATOR: The committee members believed Dr. McKee could not answer two important questions. And that was— you know, that was a prominent part of the settlement. PETER KEATING: I don’t think we needed a trial to know that the NFL conducted a lot of shoddy research. And you know, I got a lot of email about it. His brain became the most sought-after ever. STEVE FAINARU: You’ve got a half dozen prominent researchers immediately began to mobilize to try to get their hands on this brain tissue. GINA SEAU: I can understand where certain groups are saying, «Wow.
Those things seem to happen around 1,000 to 1,500 times a year. And Mike’s favorite games were the ones that were cold and snowy and frigid. The drive is used a lot of times. The minute you put your pads on, you’re only one play away from getting seriously injured. NARRATOR: For Webster and others on the field, physical injuries went with the territory. JIM OTTO, Oakland Raiders, 1960-74: I mean, it’s affected my life. It surely has.
The fact that it was there, and he was only playing high school level sports, I mean, I think that’s a cause for concern. NARRATOR: For Dr. McKee and others, it raised the obvious question. And what we’ve been told is the NFL was offering virtually nothing. Chris Nowinski secured his brain for Dr. McKee. The problem is it’s a journalist issue. LEIGH STEINBERG: This is the commissioner of the NFL saying that there’s no concussion issue. If it was ignorance, they should have known.
The NFL’s own retirement board linked playing football and dementia. At the time, it was something the league would not admit publicly. But we didn’t really relate that in a modern sport like football, in a helmeted sport, that it could lead to that. Annoyed. He was annoyed. MARK FAINARU-WADA: The Times now suddenly has a huge story, that the NFL has acknowledged a link between brain damage and football. The thing you want your kids to do most of all is succeed in life and be everything they can be.
What the trial would have done was bring out that evidence. That’s what we love about the game. NARRATOR: The NFL’s own highly crafted film productions celebrated the violence and the spectacle. [NFL Films] NFL NARRATOR: On this down and dirty dance floor, huge men perform a punishing pirouette. Nobody knows that at this point in time. It’s still being debated. Once you hit full speed and you’re moving backwards and he hits you, you’re gone. HARRY CARSON, Author, Captain For Life: When he would fire off the ball, he’s coming to block me, and if I’m not ready for him, you know, he’s going to pancake me.
Seau made millions. He was a philanthropist, beloved in his community. And you know, her husband, suffering, you know, from dementia, obviously can’t be represented there by anybody but her. And I’m not talking about the knees and— you know, all of that stuff is a given.
And it became part of the popular jargon, you know, «He knocked him silly. He knocked him to the moon.» PLAYER: Set the tone! Goodell had grown up in Washington, the son of a United States senator from New York.
And I took as much brain trauma as anybody. I think I have more than enough reasons to believe that I’m going to be fighting this myself. I am fighting it. NARRATOR: At Harvard, Nowinski was a punishing tackler. He suffered countless head injuries. And if we have to defend this suit, as Paul was alluding to, we will do that and be able to make those factual allegations.
For 70 years, they’ve loved their football team, the Steelers. STAN SAVRAN, Pittsburgh Sports Reporter: This is a tough town. And it wasn’t hypothetical. It wasn’t a supposition. Her husband, Ralph Wenzel, had played for the Pittsburgh Steelers. ELEANOR PERFETTO, Wife of Ralph Wenzel: As the disease progressed, he went from being ill but fairly functional to getting to the point where he could no longer, you know, dress or feed himself.
And there’s only one place in your body that you really don’t understand. Then Perfetto took matters into her own hands. And you know, that’s the way it is.
And there was clearly— among the NFL committee, there was just a very steadfast belief that this is not a problem. «You guys don’t know how to do research the way we do. And the league’s concussion people are there. NARRATOR: They had even invited outside scientists who had become some of the league’s biggest critics.
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