Exclusive - Mark Fainaru-Wada Extended Interview Pt. 2

  • Aired:  10/31/13
  •  | Views: 26,985

In this exclusive, unedited interview, Mark Fainaru-Wada argues that many NFL players need to be protected from themselves when it comes to personal safety. (5:47)

>> NOW TALKING TO THE AUTHOR OFLEAGUE DENIAL MARK FAINARU-WADA.

>> I WAS JUST SAYING, YOU KNOW,THE NFL WORKED SO HARD IN TERMS

OF LIKE YOU CAN'T LEAD WITH YOURHELMET, DEFENSELESS RECEIVER,

LIKESO MANY OF THE NFL'S VIOLENCE

PROBLEMS, LIKE THEYARE VERY CAUTIOUS ABOUT IT ON

THE FIELD BUT OBVIOUSLY WE SEEALL OF THE STORIES OF THE

TERRIBLE THINGS THAT SOME OFTHIS IS DOING TO PEOPLE, AND

CAUSING THESE PROBLEMS OFFFIELD.

>> WELL, I THINK -- NO, I THINKTHAT'S RIGHT BUT I THINK WHAT IS

INTERESTING AND THIS IS THECHALLENGE FOR THE LEAGUE IS THAT

ON THE ONE HAND THEY CAN TRY TOLEGISLATE OUT THOSE HITS WE SEE

WHERE A DEFENSIVE BACK CRUSHES ARUNNING BACK OR A WIDE

RECEIVER BUTTHEY CAN'T LEGISLATE AND A

NUMBER OF THE PLAYERS WE TALKABOUT IN THE BOOK ARE AT THE

LINE OF SCRIMMAGE AND THE VERYNATURE OF THE SPORT IS THEM JUST

POUNDING ON EACH OTHER TIME ANDTIME AGAIN AND YOU CAN'T

LEGISLATE THAT OUT OF THE SPORT.

MIKE WEBSTER IS SORT OF THEPATIENT ZERO, PITTSBURGH

STEELERS>> FOUR SUPER BOWLS THE

BEDROCK OF THE TEAMS AND HELITERALLY GOES MAD UPON

RETIREMENT.

>> A SMART, INTELLIGENT GUY.

>> PEOPLE THOUGHT HE WOULD BE ACOACH, ANNOUNCER AND YOU

SEE HIS LIFE DISINTEGRATE TO THEPOINT HE

IS WRITING THOUSANDS OF LETTERSTO FRIENDS AND FAMILY YOU SEE

THE TRAJECTORY OF THE MAN GOINGMAD AND LOSING HIS MIND AND

TAZING HIMSELF TO GO TO SLEEP.

>> Stewart: RIGHT.

I THINK THEIR CONCERN MUST BEFOR PLAYER FLOW AS IT IS COMING

UP THROUGH THE RANKS BECAUSETHESE PLAYERS, FIRST OF ALL, YOU

CAN'T TELL PEOPLE TO DO LESSTHAN THEY CAN DO.

IF YOU HAVE GOT A GUY WHO IS 265AND HE CAN RUN A 4.4, OR, AND HE

IS A LINEBACKER THAT JUST MAKETHESE CRACKING HITS YOU CAN'T

SAY TO HIM, HE WILL WANT TOPERFORM TO HIS HIGHEST ABILITIES

AND EXPECTATIONS AND, SECOND OFALL, ALL OF THE THINGS THEY DO

THAT HAVE TOTAL DISREGARD FORTHEIR PHYSICAL SAFETY AND HEALTH

FOR LATER LIFE AS WELL, THESEGUYS ARE GOING TO MAKE THE

CHOICE IN THE HERE AND NOW WITHVERY LITTLE CONCERN FOR THE

LATER.

>> WELL, I THINK THERE IS NOQUESTION, YOU KNOW, WE SPENT A

LOT OF TIME WITH STEVE YOUNGTHE FORMER 49ERS

QUARTERBACK AND HE WOULD HIDE ONTHE SIDE LINES TO BE ABLE TO GET

BACK IN THE GAMES WHEN HETHOUGHT, YOU KNOW, THAT THEY

WERE GOING TO KEEP HIM OUT.

THE PLAYERS WANT TO PLAY.

THEY RECOGNIZE THAT, YOU KNOW,IT IS A CUTTHROAT BUSINESS, THAT

THEY ARE GOING TO LOSE THEIR JOBWITH ANY POSSIBILITY SO THEY

WANT TO STAY ON THE FIELD ANDTHEY NEED TO BE PROTECTED FROM

THEMSELVES AND I THINK THAT ISONE OF THE THINGS STEVE AND I

FEEL IS THE MOST EGREGIOUSPIECE OF THE DENIAL IS THE

MESSAGE IS LIKE LOOK YOU AREOKAY, THERE IS NOTHING TO WORRY

ABOUT, JUST GO BACK ON THEFIELD AND PLAY AND YOU WILL BE

FINE AND THERE IS SOMETHINGINSIDIOUS ABOUT THAT SORT OF

LACK OF INFORMATION.

>> Stewart: IN YOUR MIND, WASIT A CONSPIRACY OF DENIAL OR WAS

IT TRULY A CASE OF JUST NOTWANTING TO SEE HOW THE EVIDENCE

ADDED UP AND HOW IT CAME TOPASS? WAS IT MALICIOUS?

MALEVOLENT OR WAS IT IGNORANCE?

>> I MEAN I THINK IT IS A GREATQUESTION.

WE HAVE BEEN GRAPPLING WITHTHAT, NO PUN INTENDED, I THINK

LIKE, YOU KNOW, WE CAN'T GETINSIDE THE HEAD OF THESE GUYS,

WE TRIED TO TALK TO THEM, WETRIED TO GO TO NEW YORK AND TALK

TO THEM BUT THEY WOULDN'T SITDOWN WITH US.

>> Stewart: BUT THAT SPEAKS TOSOMETHING INSIDIOUS IN MY MIND

THEY WOULD NOT AFTER ALL THATHAS HAPPENED TRY TO BE AS HONEST

AND OPEN AND GET THE STORY OUT.

>> THE MESSAGE IS LOOK WE AREBEING SUED BY 4,500 PLAYERS AND

CAN'T TALK BUT AGAIN THE LEAGUEWOULD PICK ITS SPOT AND COME OUT

AND SAY THINGS AND, YOU KNOW,WHETHER IT WAS SORT OF A

CONSPIRATORIAL ELEMENT TO ALL OFTHAT, I DON'T KNOW, BUT I THINK

THERE IS NO QUESTION IF YOU LOOKAT THESE 16 PAPERS THAT THE

LEAGUE PUT OUT AND IT COULD BEDRY RESEARCH, CLEARLY IF YOU

READ IT BUT IT IS REALLY LIKECLEAR, THE MESSAGE IS, YOU HAVE

NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT ANDTHESE, MANY OF THESE GUYS ARE

TEAM DOCTORS AND SEEING PLAYERSREPEATEDLY SO CLEARLY, THERE IS

A GROUP THINK HAPPENING, WHETHERIT IS A CONSPIRACY IN THE

ACTIVE SENSE, I DON'T KNOW.

>> Stewart: WHERE DOES IT GO? DOES THE LEAGUE, YOU KNOW,

CHANGE IN TERMS OF THE WAY THATIT PLAYS THE GAME, IN TERMS OF

THE RULES OR JUST IN TERMS OFTHE OPENNESS TO THE RISKS

INVOLVED?

>> WELL, I MEAN, I THINK IT ISAGAIN LIKE WE WERE SAYING

EARLIER, TWO QUESTIONS, THERE ISTHE LEAGUE AND THEN THERE IS

YOUTH FOOTBALL.

>> Stewart: RIGHT.

>> I DON'T WANT THE LEAGUE TOCHANGE, I REALLY LIKE THIS IS

WHAT THE SPORT IS, I THINK IT ISNOW PLAYERS BEING INFORMED AND

YOU CAN'T LEGISLATE OUT THESEHARD HITS AND SO I DON'T THINK

THEY CHANGE IN THAT WAY, I THINKTHE QUESTION IS HOW DO THEY DEAL

WITH THIS MESSAGE OF GETTING TOPARENTS AND YOU ARE SEEING FROM

POLLS PARENTS ARE REALLYCONCERNED ABOUT THIS AND LETTING

THEIR KIDS PLAY.

>> Stewart: AND LISTEN, SPORTSARE NOT RISK FREE.

>> RIGHT.

>> Stewart: AND I BET IF YOUWENT AND EVEN ASKED SOME OF

THESE PLAYERS, MAYBE NOT ONESSUFFERING SO DESPERATELY

WOULD THEY DO IT AGAIN AMAJORITY OR EVEN A LARGE

MAJORITY WOULD SAY I ABSOLUTELY,I ABSOLUTELY WOULD.

>> I THINK A LOT OF THEM WOULDWE'VE TALKED TO THOSE GUYS

WHO SAY THAT.

THERE IS NO QUESTION THEY WOULDCOME BACK AND PLAY AND, YOU

KNOW, I DON'T KNOW WHAT I WOULD-- I HAVE A 16-YEAR-OLD AND, YOU

KNOW, HE DOESN'T WANT TO PLAYTHANKFULLY BUT STEVE HAS A

14-YEAR-OLD WHO MAY WANT TO PLAYNEXT YEAR AND I DON'T KNOW WHAT

HE IS GOING TO DO.

>> Stewart: THAT'S WHY IWALKED AWAY FROM THE GAME.

>> MIDDLE LINEBACKER OR -->> Stewart: NO.

IT IS TRUE I PLAYED A LITTLECOLLEGE BALL, SOCCER, WHICH IS

LIKE FOOTBALL BUT YOU COULDN'TUSE YOUR HANDS.

BUT, YOU KNOW, MY KNEES ARESHOT, MY HIPS ARE SHOT, THEY

WILL GET REPLACED, BUT IF YOUCAME TO ME AND SAID, WHEN YOU

ARE 50 THAT IS HOW YOU WILLFEEL, I WOULD SAY, I AM GOING TO

BE 50? THAT IS SO COOL.

ALL RIGHT.

LEAGUE OF DENIAL.

IT IS A GREAT MYSTERY.

THANKS FOR BEING HERE.

[ APPLAUSE ]

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