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Concussions, Cigarettes, and Liability: The Cover-Up is Worse than the “Crime”

In my latest piece for Slate, I look closely at the complaint recently filed by a group (75!!) of former NFL players against the league and the manufacturers of the helmets the players wore.

The comparison to tobacco is this: the cover-up (danger of long-term consequences of even mild concussions for the NFL, the health risks and addictive nature of tobacco for the cigarette companies) is usually worse than the crime. Everyone knows this, and at least pays lip service to it, but it continues as a catch phrase because it still happens…again and again.

They’ve moved the piece up near the top (in the band of stories just below the headline group), which is a first for me. It would help if you’d wander over there and “like” (or even better, comment) on the piece.

  1. July 28th, 2011 at 15:29 | #1

    As one helmet researcher called them,
    “Big Helmet”, has know about this for years and claims “helmets do not prevent concussions they are only designed to prevent skull fractures”. The certification organizations are funded by Big Helmet and parrot them, “our standards are not designed to prevent concussions”.
    An employee of one of the smaller helmet companies told us to “follow the money”.
    We are stil attempting to follow the tangled trail….

  2. July 29th, 2011 at 10:22 | #2

    Very helpful angle on the story; thanks. There’s an interesting legal issue as to whether these disclaimers would matter in a court. Product makers can’t always avoid liability by warning about dangers, esp. where kids are involved.

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