ESPN Pulls Out of PBS Docu on NFL Concussions

Get More: Controversy, News, Sports

Brandon Meriweather, Todd HeapA PBS Frontline investigation into head injuries among NFL players no longer enjoys the official cooperation of ESPN, after the cabler asked that its logo and “collaboration” credit be scrubbed from the project and promotional materials.

“Because ESPN is neither producing nor exercising editorial control over the Frontline documentaries, there will be no co-branding involving ESPN,” the network explained in a statement released Thursday. “The use of ESPN’s marks could incorrectly imply that we have editorial control.”

League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis — which is based on reporting/an upcoming book by ESPN’s own Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru — promises to explore how “the NFL is under assault as thousands of former players and a host of scientists claim the league has covered up how football inflicted long-term brain injuries on many players.”

Just earlier this month at the Television Critics Assoc. press tour, ESPN producer Dwayne Bray hailed the collaboration, saying, “ESPN is the gold standard for sports journalism from covering the games to investigative journalism. Nobody does it as comprehensively as we do it. So we made a conscious decision when we were presented with this opportunity to literally get in bed with Frontline.”

But barely two weeks later, ESPN called a very different play.

In response, PBS said in a statement, “We don’t normally comment on investigative projects in progress, but we regret ESPN’s decision to end a collaboration that has spanned the last 15 months…. ESPN’s decision will in no way affect the content, production or October [8] release” of the film.



Tags: ,

Comments (6)

  • “ESPN is the gold standard for sports journalism from covering the games to investigative journalism. Nobody does it as comprehensively as we do it. So we made a conscious decision when we were presented with this opportunity to literally get in bed with Frontline.”

    ESPN values the contract with the National Football League more than it does setting the gold standard for sports journalism.

    ESPN used to be a quality sports journalist organization. But, when you get in bed with the leagues you are supposed to cover, something gives.

    Comment by Tim – August 23, 2013 07:00 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Translation: Frontline is going to include something critical of ESPN’s current football partners instead of focusing on errors made in the past.

    Comment by Chip – August 23, 2013 07:06 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Or the NFL threatened to cut access to players and other things.

      Comment by Todd – August 23, 2013 08:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Football is a violent, dangerous sport. I much prefer the poetry of baseball. Yes, you might get hit by a line drive or crash into another player, but those injuries are rare. Head injuries in football are fairly common.

    Comment by AmbidextrousAspie – August 23, 2013 07:59 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Breaking news : Roger Goddel (sp) twisted ESPN’s arm to dump project.

    Comment by Alienate – August 23, 2013 09:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Please. ESPN pulled out because of pressure from NFL, just like it did 10 years ago with “Playmakers.” That show was its high rated series, except for football and ESPN cancelled it because pro football was being negatively portrayed, according to NFL.

    Comment by Chicago Dan – August 23, 2013 12:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

Leave a Reply

Comments on TVLine.com are monitored. So don't go off topic, don't frakkin' curse, and be gone with your offers of discount leather goods. Talk smart about TV!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s