When a senior member of the NFL admitted last week that there is a link between football and the degenerative brain condition CTE, the issue appeared to have gone some way towards being settled.
That admission does not appear to have been clear enough for the Dallas Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones, however, who still believes there is no firm evidence of a connection.
Jones is currently attending the NFL owners meeting in Florida and was asked whether he thought there was a firm link between football and CTE.
“No, that’s absurd,” he told the Washington Post. “There’s no data that in any way creates a knowledge. There’s no way that you could have made a comment that there is an association and some type of assertion. In most things, you have to back it up by studies. And in this particular case, we all know how medicine is. Medicine is evolving. I grew up being told that aspirin was not good. I’m told that one a day is good for you. I’m saying that changed over the years as we’ve had more research and knowledge.
“So we are very supportive of the research. We have for years been involved in trying to make it safer, safer as it pertains to head injury. We have millions of people that have played this game, have millions of people that are at various ages right now that have no issues at all. None at all. So that’s where we are. That didn’t alter at all what we’re doing about it. We’re gonna do everything we can to understand it better and make it safer.”
Last week, Jeff Miller, the NFL’s senior vice-president for health and safety appeared at a congressional committee discussion on concussions. He was asked if there was a link between football and brain disorders such as CTE.
“Well, certainly … research shows that a number of retired NFL players were diagnosed with CTE, so the answer to that question is certainly yes, but there are also a number of questions that come with that,” Miller said.
Democratic representative Jan Schakowsky repeated the question: “Is there a link?”
“Yes. Sure,” Miller responded.
CTE’s symptoms include memory loss, depression and progressive dementia, and can only be detected after death. Hall of fame players who have been shown to have been suffering from CTE include Ken Stabler and Junior Seau, who took his own life in 2015.
Jones’s Cowboys have an estimated value of $4bn and Forbes rated them as the most valuable sports team in the world last year.