The upcoming and much-discussed Frontline documentary on football-related concussions keeps getting new wrinkles.
Consider this latest item: The National Football League has reached a $765 million settlement with players who had sued the league over compensation related to complications from the concussions they suffered while playing football.
The settlement comes as Frontline is finishing its work on a mammoth PBS documentary that airs at 8 p.m. on KACV-TV. “League of Denial” has created a massive scramble already, with ESPN pulling out of its cooperative agreement with Frontline amid reports of pressure from the NFL, with which has a lucrative contract to broadcast games to the nation. ESPN and NFL officials have denied any pressure being applied to the sports network.
The court-appointed mediator, former U.S. District Judge Layn Phillips issued a statement about the settlement: “This is a historic agreement, one that will make sure that former NFL players who need and deserve compensation will receive it, and that will promote safety for players at all levels of football. Rather than litigate literally thousands of complex individual claims over many years, the parties have reached an agreement that, if approved, will provide relief and support where it is needed at a time when it is most needed.”
Is this the end of the story? Hardly. Frontline, with its lengthy and distinguished record of thorough investigative reporting, is marching forward with its landmark special.
My hunch is that this saga is just beginning.