Jerry Jones has spoken and the Dallas Cowboys owner doesn’t think there is a link between playing football and players getting brain injuries and brain
damage. But that doesn’t mean Jones disagrees entirely with one of his National Football League employees, remember Jones and his fellow 30 owners and the Green Bay Packers Board of Directors are the ultimate NFL bosses, the NFL’s Vice President of Health and Safety Jeff Miller who before a Congressional panel said there was a link between playing football and CTE or brain injuries. The NFL quickly said Miller was referring to just one study. Jones wants more research done on playing football and head injuries before he can agree with Miller’s assessment.
But understand this, Jerry Jones and the entire football industry is in a prevent defense mode. Jones has to protect his asset, his football team which might be worth two or two and a half billion dollars. If Jones said there is a link, because he is Jerry Jones, people might really start looking into a link between playing football and brain damage. Jones isn’t the other one out there talking down the playing football and brain damage link. USA Football is pointing out that tackle football for those between the ages of 6 and 14 grew by nearly two percent in 2015 over 2014 participation. USA Football also said there was a rise in 15-18 year olds playing tackle football in 2015 by 2.5 percent. So Jerry Jones should be happy. He can say he isn’t convinced playing football causes brain damage and he has numbers from USA football to back him up with an increase in children playing football in 2015. The football player pipeline is restocking after a decline. The football industry has an under siege mentality but the indicators seem to be on football’s side, parents want their kids to play football despite all of the stories about post career problems for players.
Republished with permission Evan Weiner for the Politics of Sports Business.