Denial is no longer a possibility when it comes to the overwhelming amount of evidence regarding the devastating effects of concussions in the world of football, which is why it's interesting that the NFL has continued to deny PBS and partner ESPN footage and correspondence for an upcoming documentary entitled "League of Denial: The NFL's Concussion Crisis."
The two-part series is being produced by PBS (Frontline) and ESPN (Outside the Lines) but filmmaker Michael Kirk told a Television Critics Association panel Tuesday that the NFL has refused to cooperate.
PBS describes the series as an "investigation examining whether—as thousands of former players allege—the NFL has covered up the risks of football on the brain." You'd think that the NFL might want to throw two cents in on that, but they aren't. They're also refusing to approve footage for the series, which is less surprising.
Fortunately for PBS, they have ESPN's footage to tap into. (Note: This will only consist of interview footage and not actual game footage.)
Kirk alluded to the fact that major institutions such as the CIA often resist involving themselves in Frontline investigations, so you have to wonder if the NFL just thinks it has become that big. Is this ego? Do they feel they're above having to defend themselves via any outlet other than their own? It does feel like arrogance, but the description of the series doesn't exactly make it seem as though Frontline entered the process without prejudice.
It'll be interesting to see how much of a beating the shield takes when the series airs in October. But based on some of the talented people involved, including Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada, it wouldn't be surprising if the league were forced to respond in the direct aftermath.