The NFL's bounty scandal claims another victim: The commissioner who rushed to suspend everyone in site.
Some years ago, I got a call from NFL Films, from a man named Steve Sabol. Yes, he realized I was English by birth and might not know much about American football. So I explained to him that I had arrived in San Francisco in September 1981 at the start of the season in which the 49ers won their first Super Bowl—their first of five. Mr. Sabol was encouraged, but he had called me because he’d read some writing about movies that I had done. I believe I had compared Joe Montana and Gary Cooper in the way they gazed at space. That was his kind of dream.
It’s been nothing but scandals and bad publicity lately for the famously image-conscious NFL. The league is facing a “bounty” scandal (in which players were paid to knock their competitors out of games), a former player’s recent suicide (which may be linked, like others, to head injuries), and a lawsuit joined by over 1,500 former players accusing the NFL of understating the danger of concussions. With so much talk about head trauma, it’s easy to forget that football players face other injury risks.