NEW YORK – The NFL has demanded The New York Times retract a story that called the league’s concussion research flawed and likened the NFL’s handling of head trauma to the tobacco industry’s response to the dangers of cigarettes.
In a letter from its law firm to the general counsels of the newspaper and obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday, the league said it was defamed by the Times. The NFL added the story published last Thursday did not “present a shred of evidence to support its thesis that the NFL intentionally concealed concussion research data.”
The NFL also said it will “more broadly reserve all of the league’s rights and remedies,” a veiled threat of legal action.
Times sports editor Jason Stallman said, “We see no reason to retract anything.”
“The NFL apparently objects to our reporting that the league had ties to the tobacco industry,” Stallman added. “But, as the article noted, a co-owner of the Giants, Preston R. Tisch, also partly owned a leading cigarette company, Lorillard, and was a board member of both the Tobacco Institute and the Council for Tobacco Research, two entities that played a central role in misusing science to hide the risks of cigarettes. Also, the NFL and the tobacco industry shared lobbyists, lawyers and consultants.”