ESPN is aggressively promoting League of Denial, the new book by ESPN reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru on the NFL's concussion crisis, today. There's an excerpt of the book published on ESPN.com. There's a lot of space dedicated to it on the site's front page. There's a story about the book. The brothers did an eight-minute segment with Bob Ley on SportsCenter, and it included a short clip from the Frontline documentary that's accompanying the book. The brothers went on to talk about it with Colin Cowherd and will be on Outside The Lines later today to talk more about it. The excerpt, and the brothers' assessment of the league, are not kind to the NFL.
Reading and watching all of this is made stranger by the fact that ESPN decided to pull out of its partnership with PBS on the Frontline documentary back in August. It puts ESPN in the awkward position of promoting its own reporters' work while having to acknowledge that their reporting does not actually belong to ESPN. Don Van Natta Jr.'s article about the book, for instance, refers to the Fainarus as "ESPN investigative reporters" twice in the first three paragraphs—and also points readers over to Sports Illustrated's website, where they can find another excerpt.