December 04, 2013

Faux News, wingnuts leads "push-back" on #LeagueOfDenial; #NFL take?

There's yet another news story out today that claims that Dr. Ann McKee and colleagues at Boston University have drastically overstated the degree to which playing in the National Football League can cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Funny thing? The first news story came out a month ago.

At Fox.

From a writer, Daniel J. Flynn, who had just written a book called "The War on Football: Saving America's Game." A book published by conservative press heavyweight Regnery. An author who has published books like "Why the Left Hates America," per his Amazon page.

Let me just do some pull quotes from the Fox News story that appears to be behind the "pushback" against Boston University and its CTE research.

First is this, laughable coming from Fox:
Cherry-picking data, mistaking speculation for science, and inventing studies out of thin air make us ignorant rather than enlightened.
Like you do with about everything there? Among that cherry-picking is taking a NIOSH study that compares **high school** football players with other high-schoolers for later-life possible neurological problems.

Here's another:
Accustomed to baseless claims becoming conventional wisdom, football’s complainer-chorus has begun condemning all of its players to a scrambled-brain existence.
Flynn's book, with the title "The War on Football," says it all in the title.

I'm surprised that Flynn doesn't call Dr. Ann McKee a communist and say that this is some secret Obama plot to kidnap American football and sell it to Muslims in Kenya. That's about how bad it is. Like any good stuff for the wingnuts, the book, and excerpts and reports at places like Fox News, cherry-pick statistics, send out dogwhistles (like the hint that "America's game" faces a librul "War on Christmas" type assault, led by trial lawyers wanting to sue, sue, sue) and more.

Beyond that, you know this is a desperation issue for a guy like Flynn if he's favorably citing a federal government study to try to score points, even with the massive misconstruing of it that he does.

Meanwhile, there's possible problems with the Randolph and Karantzoulis study cited by both Fox and CBS. The biggie is its time span: 1959-1988. The league was at just a 12-game season in 1959, with smaller rosters, and even more importantly, smaller and slower players without the same amount of steroids and other chemicals as today. I wonder what a study from, say 1974-1994 would have found?

Meanwhile, Deadspin has a solid piece on Flynn speaking about his book at a red-meat Tea Party event. Nuff said.

The biggest refutation of Flynn that an organization as hypercapitalistic as the NFL settled the lawsuit with former players.

It appears Flynn timed his book to come out at the same time, if not before, the book "League of Denial," and the PBS special. I wouldn't likely have seen this push-back had it only been on Faux. But, with CBS now doing some of the same uncritical reporting, we have an issue.

That said, tis true that the link between sports blows to the head and CTE is tenuous. But, McKee and others have had to bang the drum loudly because NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and his predecessor, Pete Tagliabue, deliberately blocked viable research on CTE, stacked an NFL research committee with medical doctors ready to bend to the NFL's desired outcome and more.

So, until Goodell specifically disavows this book, at least, as being over the top, I'll believe it's the same old NFL.

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