New York Times Responds To NFL's Demand For Retraction, Unleashes The Burns

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This week, NFL lawyers sent a letter to The New York Times demanding that the Times’s recent investigation into the league’s bogus concussion studies be retracted. It was so limp that it demanded a proper takedown. Thankfully, the Times was happy to oblige, via a response letter from their own lawyers.


You can read the full letter here, but here are the highlights:

As you know, The Times has a policy of correcting factual errors as promptly as possible. I have reviewed your letter with our editors and reporters, and nowhere does your letter identify any factual error that we have made in our reporting on the ties between the NFL and the tobacco industry. The crux of the letter is the NFL’s complaint that the connections identified by the Article between the NFL and the tobacco industry were not “meaningful.” Obviously, that is an opinion, not a fact.


We’re off to a good start. The “Ummmmmm, do you even know the difference between a fact and an opinion???” burn has ended many message-board beefs, and it’s a good, solid opening salvo. Moving on:

As for the Articles’ reporting on the concussion studies, the letter confirms the overarching point that the Article made: The league’s research was deeply flawed and incomplete. The letter bizarrely quibbles not over whether the research was valid (we all agree that it was not) or whether the NFL defended the research for years (we all agree that it did) but whether the NFL continued to “stand by” the research.

Translation: “Lol, good job owning yourself while trying to own us.” That’s a good one, but let’s see if the Times can kick it up a notch:

Little needs to be said about the letter’s second criticism of the reporting on the data. The criticism is premised on a falsehood: that the Article alleged that the NFL “intentionally concealed concussion data.” It said nothing of the sort.


The NFL’s on the ropes! Go for the knockout:

While your earlier letter to The Times called the tobacco industry “perhaps the most odious industry in America history,” you somehow fail to mention in either letter that it was your firm that represented Phillip Morris in that RICO case.


*Italian chef kissing his fingers gesture*