Tagliabue apologizes for concussion remarks
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.