Thursday, August 26, 2010

NFL: Ignoring a Very Real Threat?

Roger Goodell, commissioner of the National Football League, has indicated that he would like to see the league move to an 18 game regular season schedule(up from 16 games). The NFL has talked about this for some time. What's interesting though is the timing of the announcement. Just this week, we have read news reports, and seen an HBO special, which document new medical research indicating a potential link between head injuries and ALS or ALS-type illnesses. This work has been done by researchers at Boston University and Veterans Administration Hospital in Bedford, MA. Has the NFL made a serious mistake by moving ahead with this discussion of the 18 game schedule just at the time when this new research suggests very harmful effects from head injuries? It seems that they may have miscalculated here. We could be seeing the start of a major public relations challenge for the NFL. Will various constituencies begin examining this research in more detail and challenging the NFL? Might we see lawsuits, or even the potential for government getting involved from a regulatory standpoint? It seems that the NFL needs to be careful at this point in time, despite the massive popularity of their sport.

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