Former commissioner Paul Tagliabue is hoping to make it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He’s up for it in the 2017 class. The vote is expected to be tight.
One reason that people view Tagliabue in a negative light is that he was dismissive of concussions back in 1994. He said they were a “pack-journalism” issue,” and he also claimed the amount of them in the NFL was “relatively small; the problem is the journalist issue.”
He’s now backtracking from those remarks, made over two decades ago. He recently said:
“Obviously, I do regret those remarks. Looking back, it was not sensible language to use to express my thoughts at the time. My language was intemperate, and it led to serious misunderstanding. I overreacted on issues which we were already working on. But that doesn’t excuse the overreaction and intemperate language.”
He went on to say that he was actually trying to tackle the issue, in a fashion, claiming that:
“Bottom line: It sounded like I was shooting the messenger, which was the concussion issue. My intention at the time was to make a point which could have been made fairly simply: That there was a need for better data. There was a need for more reliable information about concussions and uniformity in terms of how they were being defined in terms of severity.
“Reporting from the clubs was inadequate at that time. The bottom line was we needed to improve the system we had. You couldn’t draw firm conclusions based on what we had. Like I say, I overreacted and made it appear like I was shooting the messenger, which was a mistake.”
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Is that true, or did he really think there weren’t many concussions? That will be the topic of many debates as his name is considered for the HOF.