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New York Times[A]n investigation by The New York Times has found that the N.F.L.’s concussion research was far more flawed than previously known.

For the last 13 years, the N.F.L. has stood by the research, which, the papers stated, was based on a full accounting of all concussions diagnosed by team physicians from 1996 through 2001. But confidential data obtained by The Times shows that more than 100 diagnosed concussions were omitted from the studies — including some severe injuries to stars like quarterbacks Steve Young and Troy Aikman. The committee then calculated the rates of concussions using the incomplete data, making them appear less frequent than they actually were. …

Some retired players have likened the N.F.L.’s handling of its health crisis to that of the tobacco industry, which was notorious for using questionable science to play down the dangers of cigarettes.

Concussions can hardly be equated with smoking. … Still, the records show that the two businesses shared lobbyists, lawyers and consultants. Personal correspondence underscored their friendships, including dinner invitations and a request for lobbying advice. …

“One of the rules of science is that you need to have impeccable data collection procedures,” said Bill Barr, a neuropsychologist who once worked for the Jets and who has in the past criticized the committee’s work.

By excluding so many concussions, Mr. Barr said, “You’re not doing science here; you are putting forth some idea that you already have.”

It turns out NFL employees cooked the books on an investigation in order to make themselves look good? They used phony pseudo-science to prove their hypotheses? They’ve done business with corrupt firms that have bolstered the dangerous, evil agenda of Big Tobacco? They even have gone so far as to use faulty data collection procedures to prove their claims?

I’m shocked … shocked! … to think the NFL would stoop so low as to do a study where the conclusion is already decided ahead of time, then use fake science bolstered by phony baloney data just to make its case. I’m going to try to not let this destroy my faith in the trustworthiness of the league. But I worry the damage may already be done.

Now that I’ve shot my wad of sarcasm, the ball is in your court, Deflategate Truthers.

Explain this away. Justify this. Tell us how you could possibly put your trust in this league on anything. Much less an investigation that involves any kind of science. As I said the day the Wells Report dropped, Ted Wells, on the NFL’s behalf, went across the country to hire Exponent, a notoriously discredited science-for-hire firm that will hand you over any findings you want, provided your check clears. Exponent is a joke among the scientific community, only no one’s laughing. Because there’s nothing funny about claiming tobacco doesn’t kill, asbestos isn’t harmful to workers and toxic waste doesn’t do damage to rain forests, all of which the company has “proven.”

Now the NFL is caught using similar scams, helped by the advice of other tobacco industry sleazebags, to skew its study into an issue infinitely more important than the PSI of some footballs. The league is willing to play games with the mental health of its own players, you Deflategate Flat-Earthers, do you really think the league wouldn’t lie to make its case against Tom Brady and the Patriots?

The NFL has a lot to answer for today. But so does everyone who continues to put their trust in it.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton
The morning shows resident a-hole, Kirk Minihane, sits down with Chris "Mad Dog" Russo to talk about his time at WFAN hosting afternoon drive with Mike Francesa, if there will ever be a full on reunion show between the two, and Chris Russo discusses his views on the never ending deflategate saga.

 

 

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In the words of Goose Gossage, this kid is a [expletive] disgrace to the game. He’s embarrassing to all the 4-year-olds whoever played before him. Throwing his bat and acting like a fool. Tee-ball is becoming a freaking joke because of the nerds who are running it. I’ll tell you what has happened, these guys played Chutes and Ladders at preschool or wherever the frig they went and they thought they figured the frigging game out. They don’t know squat.

Look, I’m old school. My kids played tee ball back in the early 2000s. Then the game had a code. You didn’t show up the pitcher. Even though he didn’t actually pitch, he was just the kid you stuck there because you figured on the odd chance someone connected on a line drive up the middle, he/she was athletic enough to protect him/herself. But still. And when you got to first base, you acted like you’ve been there before. Mainly because you had, every at-bat.

I’ll tell you right now, back in my kids’ days, players respected the game. And if some little bugger on the other team pulled this act, there’d be hell to pay. At the very least, a coach would tell him to be careful so he doesn’t hit anyone with the bat. Perhaps another kid might even mention it in the back of the minivan while watching “Toy Story” on the way to the ice cream stand. But I guess this is what’s happening to the once proud sport of tee-ball.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton
Gary defended himself.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
Borges killed Curtis.
The guys opened the show by discussing Goodell and Kraft.

Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Panthers at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Pelicans at Pacers, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Miami vs. Villanova, 7:10 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma, 7:37 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Maryland vs. Kansas, 9:40 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Duke vs. Oregon, 9:55 p.m. (TBS)
MLB preseason: Astros at Mets, 1:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Mariners at Rockies, 4:!0 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Cubs at Giants, 7:05 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB preseason: Dodgers at Indians, 10:05 p.m. (MLB Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling

— Outspoken former Red Sox star Curt Schilling has acknowledged he’s on shaky ground with ESPN. When he made a donation to Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson last fall, Schilling wrote in the employer section of the donation form: “ESPN (not sure how much longer).”

However, despite being pulled off the network’s Sunday night baseball broadcasts for the final month of last season for making controversial comments — and then continuing to speak his mind about the presidential race and other political issues — Schilling will return to ESPN this year. The network confirmed Schilling’s status to the website Vocativ.

Schilling’s return seemed in doubt following his comments earlier this month, when he appeared on a Kansas City sports radio show and blasted Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Said Schilling on March 1: “If I’m going to believe — and I’m not sure I would have any reason not to believe — that she gave classified information on hundreds if not thousands of emails on a public server, and after what happened to General [David] Petraeus [the former Director of the CIA who resigned and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor after reportedly sharing classified information with his biographer], she should be buried under a jail somewhere.”

The day after that interview, ESPN said it was addressing the matter, which appeared to be a violation of an edict it made in January, when it warned employees to avoid “political editorializing, personal attacks or ‘drive-by’ comments regarding the candidates and their campaigns.”

The network told Vocativ, “We’ve addressed it with Curt.”

— Alex Rodriguez on Wednesday said in no uncertain terms that 2017 would be his final season. However, hours later he already started hedging.

“I won’t play after next year,” the three-time AL MVP first told ESPN. “I’ve really enjoyed my time. For me, it is time for me to go home and be Dad.”

By Wednesday evening, when asked by New York reporters, Rodriguez seemed less sure.

“I’m thinking in terms of my contract which ends in 2017,” he said. “After that, we’ll see what happens. I’ve got two years and more than 300 games to play.”

Added manager Joe Girardi: “I think he’s allowed to change his mind. With his love of playing the game and competing, if he had two really good years, I wouldn’t be surprised if he changed his mind.”

Rodriguez is 75 home runs away from Barry Bonds’ career MLB record of 762 and likely would need to play past 2017 in order to break that record. However, he would be 42 when his 10-year, $275 million contract expires.

Either way, it seems unlikely that he’ll be voted into the Hall of Fame, considering his admission of PED use.

“That’s to be judged because of what he’s been through,” Girardi said. “Obviously, everyone that has been found guilty of the PEDs have not been allowed in the Hall of Fame yet. What he’s done in the game, he’s put up some incredible numbers, but that’s for other people to determine, not me.”

— Grayson Allen has taken the mantle of hated Duke player, and one of his forebears said he hopes Allen learns from the past.

Christian Laettner, as reviled nationally for his dirty behavior as he was beloved by Duke fans for his clutch performances in the early 1990s, said Allen can improve his reputation after twice tripping opposing players this season.

“He’s got to see that ‘Hey, Laettner made a mistake, and it’s haunted him for 25 years, and I would never make that mistake, so I’ll never do that,’ ” Laettner told USA Today.

Allen, who had a breakthrough performance in the national title game last season to help Duke knock off Wisconsin, has had a solid season, but it’s been overshadowed by his tripping antics — one of which earned him a flagrant foul.

Laettner, who played 13 seasons in the NBA, said when he saw Allen’s misdeeds he hoped they wouldn’t affect him too negatively.

“I was like, ‘Ah, poor Grayson. I hope they don’t do to him what they did to me,’ ” Laettner told USA Today. “It’s not nice, it’s not fun and it’s a little unfair.”

Laettner first met Allen when the two attended a basketball camp about six years ago, and he said they stay in touch via text messaging. But he said there was no need for him to bring up the tripping incidents.

“He’s a smart kid, and he can figure it out all by himself,” Laettner said. “He’s academic All-American also. That kid’s way smarter than I ever was.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On March 24, 1973, which guard who would go on to play for the Celtics finished the season as the only player to lead the NBA in both scoring (34.0 ppg) and assists (11.4 apg)?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We got Kraft. We don’t like Kraft. We got him already. We nailed him for a million dollars, and he lost a first-round pick and a fourth-round pick. And we made sure that Kraft did not appeal it because we all bombarded him at the owners’ meetings and said, ‘Bob, you’ve got no support here. Do what you have to do. You have no support. Nobody is going to back you up.’ ” — SiriusXM radio host Chris Russo, to WEEI’s Kirk Minihane, on the NFL’s punishment of the Patriots for Deflategate

STAT OF THE DAY: 16-for-62 — Marcus Smart’s shooting line over the past six games, following a 1-for-8 line in Wednesday’s 91-79 victory over the Raptors

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay fumbles the ball but picks it up in time to hit a halfcourt buzzer-beater for a win over the 76ers.

Diamondbacks batter Jason Bourgeois hits a ball to the left-center field gap and races around the bases for an inside-the-park home run against the Giants.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Nate “Tiny” Archibald of the Kansas City-Omaha Kings

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Billy Stewart, who died in 1970, was born on this day in 1937.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar
Mut is joined by Patrick Gilroy to talk everything Celtics, including the C's win over Toronto and what match-up is most desirable for the C's in round 1 of the playoffs.