NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was called to the national principal's office today to explain to senile Congresspeople why football isn't the deadliest game in town. We had some trouble following the testimony because this terrible headache.
Goodell, along with NFLPA leader DeMaurice Smith and other people in suits, was grilled by the House Judiciary Committee about all this stuff they've been hearing about "concussions" and "permanent brain damage." The Commish talked a great deal about all the many things the league is doing—rule changes, equipment, etc.—to protect players and that there is "no single issue to which I have devoted as much time and attention." Yet, when the question was put to him directly, Goodell refused to admit that there is a link between head injuries and brain diseases later in life.
That didn't make most of the Representatives happy, especially Maxine Waters, who even broke out the Damocles Sword of the league—threatening to revoke its anti-trust exemption. Even more damning, however, was the testimony of Gay Culverhouse, a former president of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who lambasted the league for letting team-employed doctors decide who plays and who doesn't. She called it "inhumane" and said that players are considered "a disposable commodity." That probably stings a bit.
Goodell was sneaky enough in the pocket to avoid getting caught in a moment like the famous shot of tobacco executives testifying that they didn't believe cigarettes cause cancer—but still probably not a great day for the league. Goodell can't admit what everyone already knows, but the time will probably come when he'll no longer have that option.