Mark Fainaru-Wada

  • Aired:  10/31/13
  •  | Views: 15,942

"League of Denial" author Mark Fainaru-Wada assesses the NFL's culpability in addressing player concussions throughout its history. (5:36)

[ APPLAUSE ] MY GUEST TONIGHT,AN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER

FOR ESPN, HISNEW BOOK HE COWROTE WITH HIS

BROTHER ISCALLED "LEAGUE OF DENIAL", TH

NFL CONCUSSIONS AND THE BATTLEFOR TRUTH, WELCOME TO THE

PROGRAM MARK FAINARU-WADA.

[ APPLAUSE ]>> Stewart: I KNEW IT.

HOW ARE YOU, MARK, NICE TO SEEYOU.

>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

>> Stewart: THE BOOK IS CALLED"LEAGUE OF DENIAL", THE GENERAL

SORT OF SYNOPSIS, APPARENTLY250-POUND, IN SHAPE MEN SMASHING

THEIR HEADS INTO EACH OTHERREPEATEDLY CAUSES PERMANENT

DAMAGE AND THE NATIONAL FOOTBALLLEAGUE SAID TO THEM, UH, NO, NO,

IT'S COOL.

I MEAN.

>> THAT IS REALLY THE MESSAGE, ITHINK STEVE AND I AS WE DID THE

REPORTING ON THE BOOK I THINKWHAT STRUCK US WAS THE PROFOUND

LEVEL OF THAT DENIAL.

YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT TWODECADES OF DENIAL, SORT OF

TRAJECTORY OF ON THE ONE HAND,YOU KNOW, THEY ARE ATTACKING

INDEPENDENT SCIENTISTS THESCIENTISTS WHO THINK THEY WILL

HELP THE NFL AND SAY LOOK YOUHAVE THIS PROBLEM THAT BRAIN

DAMAGE CAN BE CAUSED BY PLAYINGIN THE NFL INSTEAD OF EMBRACING

THOSE GUYS, THE NFL IS MOCKINGTHEM, ATTACKING THEM AND TRYING

TO DENY THEIR VERY EXISTENCE INSOME WAYS AND CREATE THEIR OWN

RESEARCH ARM AND THAT RESEARCHARM BASICALLY PUTS OUT PAPER

AFTER PAPER AND A JOURNALCOOPTED BY THE LEAGUE ITSELF.

>> Stewart: RIGHT.

>> AND THE PAPERS SAY, NFLPLAYERS ARE FINE, LIKE

CONCUSSIONS ARE NOT A BIG ISSUE,WE DON'T HAVE A PROBLEM WITH

THIS AND YOU GUYS ARE GOING TOBE COOL.

>> Stewart: MEANWHILE, PLAYERSCONTINUE TO SUFFER TERRIBLE

EFFECTS OF THESE CONCUSSIONS,AND AFTER PASSING AWAY, AT MUCH

EARLIER AGES WHEN THEY DO THEAUTOPSY, THEY FIND THIS CTE.

>> RIGHT, CHRONIC TRAUMATICENCEPHALOPATHY, THIS TERRIBLE

BRAIN DISEASE CAUSED BYPLAYING THE GAME.

RIGHT.

>> I MEAN THERE ARE SEVERALSTORIES IN THE BOOK ABOUT, ONE

GUY FOR EXAMPLE, DAVE DUORSONWHO PLAYED FOR YEARS FOR THE

CHICAGO BEARS, ONE OF THEGREATEST PLAYERS, REALLY HARD

HITTER AND DUORSON WAS ONE OFTHE

DENIERS AND SPENT YEARS SAYINGTHIS WAS NOT AN ISSUE AND BEFORE

CONGRESS TALKING ABOUT IT WASN'TAN ISSUE BUT HIS LIFE, IT

JUST FALLS APART AT THE END, HEREALLY STARTS TO LOSE IT AND

EVENTUALLY THERE IS A DRAMATICSCENE IN THE BOOK, SORT OF

MACABRE BEFORE HE SHOOTS HIMSELFIN THE CHEST HE SORT OF PAYS

HOMAGE TO CONCUSSIONS, HE LAYSOUT A MAGAZINE, A SPORTS

ILLUSTRATED ABOUT CONCUSSIONS,HE LAYS OUT DISABILITY FILES

ABOUT CONCUSSIONS AND SHOOTSHIMSELF AND SAYS PLEASE STUDY MY

BRAIN, CLEARLY THERE ISSOMETHING GOING ON WITH THAT, I

WANT THE NFL TO LOOK AT IT ANDWHEN THEY DO THEY FIND INDEED HE

HAS THIS DISEASE, CTE.

>> Stewart: THE OTHER SIDE OF,YOU KNOW, NOW YOU KNOW THIS, IT

IS NOT LIKE KNOWING THIS STOPSIT.

I LOVE WATCHING FOOTBALL ANDTHESE ARE GROWN MEN MAKING

CHOICES FOR THEMSELVES.

YOU KNOW, LORD KNOWS THAT INTERMS OF ATHLETICS, LIKE BOXING

THEY KNOW BOXING CAUSES BRAINDAMAGE AND INSTEAD OF STOPPING

BOXING, WE AS AMERICANS DECIDEWHAT IF WE DID IT WITHOUT GLOVES

AND YOU COULD USE YOUR KNEES ANDELBOWS.

>> YES.

AGAIN, WHAT, WHAT IF WE WENT FORTHE CONCUSSIONS QUICKER, HOW

ABOUT THAT?

>> Stewart: I THINK STEVE ANDI HAVE HUGE FOOTBALL FANS, WE

ARE SEASON TICKET HOLDERS WELOVE THE SPORT AND THE GAME AND,

YOU KNOW, I THINK IT IS ABOUTINFORMED DECISION AND THAT WAS

LARGELY, I MEAN, WE WENT TO DOTHE BOOK IT WAS TO TAKE A HARD

LOOK WHAT DID THE NFL KNOW ANDWHEN DID THEY KNOW IT? AT THE

SAME TIME IT WAS TO INFORMPEOPLE

BECAUSE THE DISCUSSION ISHAPPENING, I MEAN YOU HAVE

PLAYERS WHO ARE REALLY PISSEDOFF AND UPSET FOR TWO DECADES

THE LEAGUE WAS BASICALLY TELLINGTHEM LOOK YOUR BRAIN IS GOING TO

BE FINE IF YOU PLAY FOOTBALL ANDTHEN, BUT THEN YOU ALSO HAVE AT

THE LOWER LEVELS NOW, AND THENFL MESSAGE TRICKLES DOWN AND

WHERE THE DISCUSSION IS REALLYHAPPENING NOW AND IT IS SORT OF

INTERESTING YOU HAVE PARENTSTALKING TO THEIR KIDS ABOUT DO

YOU WANT TO PLAY.

>> Stewart: RIGHT.

>> AND I THINK THAT DISCUSSIONIS DIFFERENT THAN THE NFL

DISCUSSION.

I DON'T WANT THE LEAGUE TOCHANGE, I LOVE IT, IT'S A

BRUTAL, VIOLENT SPORT AND I LOVEIT.

>> Stewart: DOES THIS ALL GOAWAY IF THE LEAGUE, JUST THE ONE

CHANGE THEY MAKE IS WHEN YOU ARESIGNED TO A PROFESSIONAL TEAM

THEY HAND YOU A PIECE OF PAPERAND SAY, JUST SIGN THAT REAL

QUICK?

>> A RELEASE.

>> Stewart: YOU MAY END UPWITH A BRAIN THAT IS LIKE

OATMEAL, HERE, SIGN THIS.

>> WELL, I THINK NOW THAT ISSUEIS SORT OF DONE FOR THEM, RIGHT?

>> Stewart: RIGHT.

>> BECAUSE NOW THE INFORMATIONIS OUT THERE, EITHER FROM US OR

OTHERS IT IS AN INFORMEDDECISION AND THEY CAN'T ARGUE

ANYMORE, BUT FOR TWO DECADES YOUHAD PLAYERS WHO ARE NOW SAYING

LOOK, YOU GUYS MISLED US AND ITHINK.

>> Stewart: THAT IS REALLY THEISSUE.

>> THAT IS THE ISSUE AND ALSOTHAT ISSUE TRICKLES DOWN BECAUSE

AGAIN THE LEAGUE'S MESSAGE WASALWAYS ABOUT VIOLENCE FOR YEARS

IF YOU WATCHED AND SPENT TIME ONTHIS, THE NFL MESSAGE ABOUT

VIOLENCE, EVERYTHING WAS ALLABOUT THE VIOLENCE OF THE SPORT

AND NOW IF YOU LOOK AT THELEAGUE IT IS MARKETING SAFETY,

IT IS ALL ABOUT, YOU KNOW, THEYBRING MOMMY BLOGGERS

TO NEW YORK,SECTION ON THIS, MOMMY BLOGGERS

THAT COME TO NEW YORK AND THEYARE EDUCATING THEM ABOUT THE

SAFETY OF THE SPORT AND IT ISALL ABOUT THAT MESSAGE TO

YOUNGER PLAYERS.

>> Stewart: EVERYTHING WITHTHE NFL NOW SEEMS TO BE, GUYS,

TO THE PLAYERS, KEEP THEVIOLENCE OFF THE FIELD, PLEASE,

JUST DO IT IN YOUR PERSONALLIVES.

TAKE IT OUT ON THE ONES YOULOVE.

>> WELL -- I MEAN, CLEARLY THEMESSAGE IS, THIS IS -- WE NEED

THE FIND A WAY TO BE SAFE.

>> Stewart: RIGHT.

>> BUT THAT CONCEPT ISRIDICULOUS AT THE NFL LEVEL.

>> Stewart: THAT IS SORT OFTHE POINT IS WHAT DO YOU DO AT

SOME LEVEL? AND FIVE MINUTES,STICK AROUND.

"LEAGUE OF DENIAL", ON THEBOOKSHELVES NOW, IT IS LIKE A

MYSTERY NOVEL AND HAVE THEY READTHIS HANDLE CONTACTED YOU AT THE

NFL?

>> WE HAVEN'T HEARD A WORD FROMTHEM.

>> Stewart: THAT IS NOT GOOD.

>> I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THISBOOK.

MARK FAINARU-WADA, WE WILL BERIGHT BACK WITH A LITTLE BIT

MORE.

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