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ESPN, PBS, and the NFL

The Shop Talk panelists discuss why ESPN decided to withdraw from a project it was working on with PBS.

The magazine Current reported the networks were investigating the NFL’s response to head injuries to its players.  The documentary, League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis, is still scheduled to air on Frontline in early October.

ESPN cited a lack of editorial control, and Shop Talk panelist Jasmine Garcia said there was probably something in the script that that sports network did not like. She pointed out ESPN has invested a lot of money to carry NFL games.

Panelist Lisa Kernek said the collaboration might have been a bad decision to start with, given ESPN’s close ties to the NFL. She also questioned what ESPN might get out of the collaboration.

Panelist Rich Egger said ESPN has done investigative reports on its program Outside the Lines. The Current article, by Dru Sefton, reported that program had reported on pro football injuries throughout the 15 month collaboration with PBS and had just aired a report on football helmets, which made ESPN’s decision to withdraw from the documentary even more puzzling.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.