Analysis: ESPN pulls out of concussion documentary
ESPN pulled out of a planned PBS "Frontline" documentary collaboration on head injuries and concussions.
ESPN likes to pretend to be a journalistic entity when it's not too busy cheering along with sports fans. But the network pulled out of a planned PBS "Frontline' documentary collaboration on head injuries and concussions and the NFL's tendency toward denial today.
PBS broke the news with a statement from longtime award-winning "Frontline' producer David Fanning, noting it had been asked to remove any evidence of ESPN's involvement from its websites.
"You may notice some changes to our "League of Denial' and "Concussion Watch' websites. From now on, at ESPN's request, we will no longer use their logos and collaboration credit on these sites and on our upcoming film League of Denial, which investigates the NFL's response to head injuries among football players.
"We don't normally comment on investigative projects in progress, but we regret ESPN's decision to end a collaboration that has spanned the last 15 months and is based on the work of ESPN reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru, as well as FRONTLINE's own original journalism.'
ESPN responded with a statement, saying that because the network is neither producing nor exercising editorial control over the "Frontline' documentaries, there will be no co-branding involving ESPN on the documentaries or their marketing materials.
ESPN wouldn't want to bite the NFL hand that feeds them. In PR terms, it's worse to be seen backing out of a journalistic endeavor than to never have gotten involved in the first place.