The National Football League, one of the largest funders of brain research in the US, has subtly worked to influence research efforts and downplay the link between brain disease and the beloved sport, a new report by ESPN’s Outside the Lines alleges.
On the surface, the league and its partners appear to altruistically support scientific studies on the effects of hard-hitting sports, such as football, donating more than $100 million to brain research efforts that may not otherwise have been supported. Behind the scenes, however, the organization has tried to funnel the money back to NFL-affiliated scientists and reneged on contributions when researchers came up with discomforting data, the investigation finds.
In light of the funding environment, some brain researchers have compared the NFL’s actions to those of Big Tobacco in the days when the cigarette makers spent millions of dollars to buy off researchers and fund studies that denied links between smoking and serious health effects.
Any researcher worried about their career should run away hard from any money coming from the NFL. It has already become tainted, resulting in severe doubt of any research results.
The NFL gave money for NIH initiated research. Then when the grants were not given to NFL-associated researchers, took the money back.
Denialists gotta deny. As Upton sSnclair stated, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
The only way the NFL can survive is to do the same thing that Big Tobacco did – obfuscate the data long enough to make billions on destroying the health of Americans.
Why then should we believe anything they say?
Image: john varghese