Skip to main content

Collinsworth: NFL Has Never Nixed Concussion Discussion

NBC sports football analyst Chris Collinsworth said Tuesday that the he has never been pressured by the NFL not to talk about concussions on an NFL broadcast.

That came in response to a report from a Sports Illustrated reporter and follows the Sports Illustrated story and ESPN documentary on the league and head injuries discovered in a preponderance of ex-players whose brains were studied.

"If the NFL came to me and back off in some way on an issue like that," Collinsworth said on a call with reporters, "I would run straight to the newspapers and tell the world. That is not what they are supposed to do, and what I am supposed to do is tell the truth as I see it and not really care what the consequences are," said the former NFL wide receiver and 12-time Emmy winner.

Collinsworth said NBC has been "fantastic" at backing him when telling it like it is has gotten him into "tough situations" with some coaches and owners. "I feel great confidence that I can say what I truly think."

But he also said he thought that an NFL broadcast as not the best venue for the concussion topic. "It would take 10 minutes of a broadcast while a football game is going on to try and give that topic any depth," he said. "Don't shortchange topics that deserve an in-depth discussion." He said you start to say something and someone throws a touchdown pass and you need to talk about that, and it winds up being a shallow comment on something that deserves depth.

He said he cares about the topic — he has kids who play football — but said the "Inside the NFL Show" was a better format for discussing the topic.

In response to a question from B&C about the Redskins name controversy, analyst and former Colts coach Tony Dungy reiterated that he thought the name should be changed. "I don't think you sit up there and say 'I am not offended by something so it shouldn't offend anybody else. I think we should change it so we could get back to just talking about football."

A group of former FCC officials has joined in a growing chorus of critics of the Redskins name as a slur on native Americans that needs to be retired.