After a pivotal victory in the Deflategate appeal process, Roger Goodell stepped on a potential land mine.

A study conducted by a congressional committee declared that the National Football League had deliberately attempted to illegally influence a government research study on football and brain disease.

To those who have been following the Deflategate drama and countless other NFL scandals, this report should be no surprise. Roger Goodell and NFL owners have ignored player safety for years. While the commissioner is mystified by the idea of the ideal gas law, players continue to suffer from much more serious implications from the game’s physicality.

The administrative building of the National Institutes of Health is shown in Bethesda, Md., Monday, Aug. 17, 2009. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
The administrative building of the National Institutes of Health is shown in Bethesda, Md., Monday, Aug. 17, 2009. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The 91-page congressional report consists of many details, including evidence that the league pressured the National Institute of Health toward cutting off funding earmarked for Boston University concussion research. The NFL wanted things done their way and attempted to shape the research for its own purposes.

The committee — composed of the Democratic members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce — declared in the report: “In this instance, our investigation has shown that while the NFL had been publicly proclaiming its role as funder and accelerator of important research, it was privately attempting to influence that research.”


ESPN can be thanked for the congressional investigation into the matter. Outside the Lines influenced the committee into taking a closer look. Their original report detailed the league backing out of their seven-year study into concussions and their repercussions.

Once the NFL had backed out of a signed agreement to pay for the study, taxpayers ended up bearing the cost instead. The agreement would never have worked in the first place: U.S. representative Frank Pallone Jr., told Outside the Lines that the NFL’s attempts to influence the NIH’s study compromised the integrity of the research.

“They wanted to look like the good guy, like they were giving money for this research,” Pallone said. “But as soon as they found out that it might be somebody who they don’t like who’s doing the research, they were reneging on their commitment, essentially.”

Pallone told Outside the Lines that the NFL’s actions are particularly harmful to the league’s players. “It says to them that they really can’t trust the NFL to do the right thing,” he said.

With such disregard for integrity and honest research, how can one be expected to believe the allegations that Goodell continues to hold against Tom Brady? The NFL attempted to control and affect the research of a study on brain injury. Why would they not attempt to do the same in the Ted Wells investigation? Not to mention the fact the NFL mysteriously disposed the PSI data from this past season. Sure, that’s not fishy at all.

It’s just about doing the right thing. With revenue in the billions, the owners and league officials should be doing everything in their power to aid the long-term health of their players. It’s simply disgusting that a professional league can be so misguided in its pursuits of “justice.”

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith appeared on ESPN’s SportsCenter Monday. He explained that the union split with the league years ago on matters of player safety because of their conflicted history. Smith asserted that the NFL has no commitment to the health and safety of its players.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith (Photo by Noah K. Murray, USA TODAY Sports)

“The history with the [NFL] is, if you catch them, then they start to listen,” Pallone continued to divulge more information about the league’s past.

The NFL and Goodell seem to be finally caught red-handed. Roger would like you to believe his middle name is integrity, but in reality he doesn’t have an ounce of it in his body.

It’s no coincidence that the en banc petition for Brady’s case was submitted the same day as the congressional report. Brady continues to lawyer-up and prepare for war as the league’s legitimacy continues to crumble before his eyes.

I’m starting to like the odds of TB12 starting the season opener.

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