Tagli­abue apol­o­gizes for con­cus­sion re­marks

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS -

For­mer NFL Com­mis­sioner Paul Tagli­abue is apol­o­giz­ing for re­marks he made decades ago about con­cus­sions in foot­ball.

In an in­ter­view with the Talk of Fame Net­work that airs na­tion­wide Wed­nes­day night, Tagli­abue ad­mit­ted he erred in 1994 in say­ing con­cus­sions were “one of those pack-jour­nal­ism is­sues.’’

He also claimed then that the num­ber of con­cus­sions “is rel­a­tively small; the prob­lem is the jour­nal­ist is­sue.’’

Up for elec­tion to the Pro Foot­ball Hall of Fame on Satur­day, Tagli­abue spoke out Wed­nes­day about a ma­jor blem­ish on a record high­lighted by labour peace through­out his 17-year ten­ure.

“Ob­vi­ously,’’ he said, “I do re­gret those re­marks. Look­ing back, it was not sen­si­ble lan­guage to use to ex­press my thoughts at the time. My lan­guage was in­tem­per­ate, and it led to se­ri­ous mis­un­der­stand­ing. I over­re­acted on is­sues which we were al­ready work­ing on. But that doesn’t ex­cuse the over­re­ac­tion and in­tem­per­ate lan­guage.

“Bot­tom line, it sounded like I was shoot­ing the mes­sen­ger, which was the con­cus­sion is­sue. My in­ten­tion at the time was to make a point which could have been made fairly sim­ply: That there was a need for bet­ter data. There was a need for more re­li­able in­for­ma­tion about con­cus­sions and uni­for­mity in terms of how they were be­ing de­fined in terms of sever­ity.’’

Tagli­abue ex­plained on the Talk of Fame broad­cast that the re­port­ing of head trauma is­sues was in­ad­e­quate back then, that the sys­tem needed im­prove­ment. No firm con­clu­sions could be drawn based on the in­for­ma­tion the league had at the time, he said.

So when he ap­peared at a New York panel dis­cus­sion, Tagli­abue was mak­ing com­ments with­out in-depth knowl­edge of the is­sue.


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