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What the Media Won’t Say About the NFL

A new Vanity Fair column claims that the press has become complicit in Roger Goodell's shame.

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National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell is reportedly negotiating for a new $50-million-a-year deal. Meanwhile, The New York Times reported on Tuesday that families of former NFL players “say the league is obstructing their access to an estimated $1 billion settlement over concussions,” by rejecting bonafide claims and other administrative roadblocks, writes Vanity Fair.

And furthermore, a documentary, Requiem for a Running Back, was recently released, which follows the tale of Lew Carpenter, a star running back for the Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, and Cleveland Browns, who was found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) after he died. Rebecca Lew, his daughter, tells his heartbreaking story, as well as the stories of other families who have faced the same plight.

Mike Ditka, Hall of Fame player-turned-coach-analyst, told Rebecca Carpenter that he had an eight-year-old son today, he wouldn’t let him play football, writes Vanity Fair. Carpenter has gained a strong understanding of the press’s role covering the league and the sport, thanks to her documentary and because she came from a football family.

“The press, in many ways, has shaped the story of football since its inception as an Ivy League sport in the late 1800s,” Carpenter told Vanity Fair. “Popular newspapers and magazines and football grew up together in the late 19th century, and the narrativization of football—with its dramatic story arcs and colorful cast of characters – made for dramatic and accessible journalism. There was great storytelling going on, and football was a fantastic vehicle for selling newspapers.”

She said that reporters are worried about angering the league or the team, and that includes herself.

“Even writing this inspires fear. I’m just a girl trying to tell a story about my dad, and this mysterious disease that caused him to withdraw from life, as we knew it. I have heard that even at ESPN reporters have a hard time getting management to approve truly in-depth stories about CTE,” she told Vanity Fair. 

Below is the trailer for Requiem for a Running Back.

Read full story at Vanity Fair