The NFL tried to intimidate The New York Times. It did not go very well.

You may remember a few weeks ago The New York Times came out with a bombshell report about the NFL's concussion research, and perilous connections to the tobacco industry. Shocker: It was even more faulty than originally thought:

The Times shows that more than 100 diagnosed concussions were omitted from the studies...The committee then calculated the rates of concussions using the incomplete data, making them appear less frequent than they actually were.

Oops. Well the NFL didn't take very kindly to the Times' calling them out for trying to protect profits over player safety. According to Deadspin, in a letter to the Times from the NFL's lawyers, the NFL demanded a retraction and tried to make it sound like a lawsuit is imminent. But we all know why that would never happen (emphasis added):

The league's lawyers...demand that the Times preserve all of its notes and correspondence related to the story. That's meant to raise the boogeyman of a defamation lawsuit, that will (almost certainly) never, ever, ever, ever, ever happen, because if there's one thing the NFL really doesn't want, it's all of its internal dialogue about CTE and concussions being subject to discovery.

Well, The New York Times got back to the NFL, and boy did they ever call their bluff. Deadspin pulled some of the best quotes from the New York Times' response:

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.


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.

When we fought the NFL on their bogus blackout rules (and won), we experienced firsthand how aggressive their legal apparatus can be—especially with their backs against the wall. But as fun as it is to see the league get taken to school, we can't forget the serious underlying factor to this whole issue: The NFL, willingly or unwillingly, lied about concussion data.

And that puts our favorite players at risk.

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