August 24, 2013
CO-CONSPIRATORS:ESPN Reportedly Caved to NFL Pressure on the Concussion Story (DASHIELL BENNETT, AUG 23, 2013, ATLANTIC)
Posted by Orrin Judd at August 24, 2013 1:00 PMESPN's decision to back out of a co-produced documentary about concussions in football, raised a lot of eyebrows, but not as many as the new report that ESPN made the decision after executives were personally lobbied by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. According to The New York Times, Goodell met with two of ESPN's top executives last week -- President John Skipper and Executive VP for Production John Wildhack -- and "conveyed [his] displeasure with the direction of the documentary" currently being produced by the PBS series Frontline. A recently released trailerpresents the idea that the league has turned a blind eye to head injuries and long-term disability caused by careers in football. Days later, ESPN withdrew its name and logos from the collaborative project, even though it is based almost exclusively on the reporting of two of the network's own employees.The Times story was written by James Andrew Miller, who literally wrote the book about ESPN and has better sources inside the organization than anyone. He describes the dinner meeting as "combative" and the sources make it clear that it was this pressure from Goodell that influenced ESPN's decision.