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Super Bowl Tickets Secondary Market

February 2, 2016
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Last years Super Bowl was infamous for the ticket exchange fiasco. Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times dives into the details on the resale market.

New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman is the last guy the National Football League needed crashing its Super Bowl party. Other than some concussion litigators wandering in, it’s tough to imagine another party crasher wiping smiles off NFL faces faster than the sports world’s version of Eliot Ness on another cleanup crusade. Schneiderman just demolished Daily Fantasy Sports in his state and is now targeting NFL resale ticketing practices. Specifically, how the NFL Ticket Exchange website sets price floors prohibiting ticket sales below face value.

A broader resale industry report released last Thursday by Schneiderman mentioned NFL teams forcing fans to use the price-floored exchange — which the league partners on with Ticketmaster — when reselling seats. Bloomberg reports an antitrust investigation is under way, which Schneiderman’s office won’t confirm. Make no mistake: This is bad news for a league that’s aggressively cornered the secondary ticket market. Not just because of price floors. But everything else Schneiderman might find behind the league’s fledgling resale ticket empire. Just as Daily Fantasy Sports thrived before guys like Schneiderman intervened, the NFL and teams have enjoyed free reign effectively “scalping” their own tickets. They’ve muscled in on resale exchanges, brokers and fans to control as much secondary market inventory as possible, later flipping tickets for profit several times face value. Some fans have no problem with that. They figure since everybody else profits off reselling tickets, so should the NFL, as it’s their game. And that’s fair, to a point. But where the NFL raises concern is when it appears to be controlling the market rather than merely participating in it.

Ticket resale was legalized with the idea online exchanges and brokers would adhere to supply-and-demand principles.

Lawmakers figured an Internet-driven industry offered quick comparison-shopping to help consumers determine market prices. Brokers would profit off popular tickets, with consumers getting below face value prices for low-demand events.

A price floor destroys that. Even with the Cleveland Browns in town, you can’t dump unwanted seats on NFL Ticket Exchange for less than full price.

You’d think fans could just hop over to StubHub or Vivid Seats and sell for whatever. But Schneiderman says the NFL discourages that.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy denied via The Associated Press that anyone is forced to the league-partnered exchange.

But Schneiderman says some teams threaten ticket holders with losing their seats if selling via other exchanges, or delay releasing PDF versions of tickets sold on those sites.

His report says the NFL pushes fans to its exchange by proclaiming it is the only “safe” place to buy. It adds that price floors inflate ticket costs and failing to disclose them causes fans to wrongly assume they’re buying tickets for true market value.

And part of Schneiderman’s job is protecting consumers from their own ignorance.

After all, many assume last year’s Super Bowl fiasco, where tickets soared beyond $10,000, came from fan demand for the Seahawks-Patriots matchup.

But resale industry insiders say that market was artificial.

Two or three NFL-partnered companies — most notably, PrimeSport — had disproportionate ticket supplies and withheld inventory from the market. Some teams also delayed releasing tickets to players, staff and alumni who typically sell to brokers.

Once prices soared due to reduced market supply, those companies hoarding tickets sold them for massive profits.

Fans weren’t the ones paying $10,000; just brokers desperately trying to fill advance ticket orders of $2,000 or $3,000 that more accurately depicted true demand. Prices spiked because of a disrupted supply chain and tickets concentrated among a powerful few.

One beneficiary was NFL Ticket Exchange, which collects 25- to 30-percent fees off sale prices. When market prices soared, so did those fees — later shared with the NFL and its teams.

During the ticket crisis, the league also never missed an opportunity to tout NFL Ticket Exchange as the only safe place to buy.

While nobody says the NFL masterminded the entire debacle — greedy brokers played a role — it demonstrates dangers of too much ticket supply concentration.

For more information contact a Seattle NFL Agent.

 

 

 

2016 NFL Off-season Key Dates

January 21, 2016
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Now that the offseason is offically here for the Seattle Seahawks, let’s see what dates we need to keep in mind. Danny Kelly with Field Gulls helped compile the information. 

NFL Offseason Schedule 2016

January 23

East-West Shrine Game, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida.

January 23

NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, StubHub Center, Carson, California.

January 24

AFC and NFC Championship Games.

January 30

Senior Bowl, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama.

January 31

NFL Pro Bowl, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii.

January 31

An assistant coach, whose team is participating in the Super Bowl, who has previously interviewed for another club’s head coaching job may have a second interview with such club no later than the Sunday preceding the Super Bowl.

January 31

Deadline for NFL clubs to try out and negotiate with CFL players whose 2015 contracts are due to expire at 12:00 p.m. EST, on February 9.

February 7

Super Bowl 50, Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California.

February 8

Waiver system begins for 2016.

February 9

Beginning at 12:00 p.m. EST, NFL clubs may begin to sign players whose 2015 CFL contracts have expired. Players under contract to a CFL club for the 2016 season or who have an option for the 2016 season are not eligible to be signed.

February 13

NFL Regional Combines, Houston Texans Methodist Training Facility, Houston, Texas.

February 16

First day for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.

February 20

NFL Regional Combines, Arizona Cardinals Training Facility, Phoenix, Arizona.

February 23-29

NFL Scouting Combine, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana.

February 27

NFL Regional Combines, Baltimore Ravens Under Armour Performance Center, Owings Mills, Maryland.

March 1

Prior to 4:00 p.m., EST, deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.

March 5

NFL Regional Combines, Minnesota Vikings Training Facility Max Winter Park, Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

March 7-9

Beginning at 12:00 p.m. EST, clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2015 player contracts at 4:00 p.m., EST, on March 9. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m., EST, on March 9.

March 9

Prior to 4:00 p.m., EST, clubs must exercise options for 2016 on all players who have option clauses in their 2015 contracts.

March 9

Prior to 4:00 p.m., EST, clubs must submit qualifying offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts and to whom they desire to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation.

March 9

Prior to 4:00 p.m., EST, clubs must submit a Minimum Salary Tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2015 contracts and who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit.

March 9

Top-51 Begins. All clubs must be under the 2016 salary cap prior to 4:00 p.m., EST.

March 9

All 2015 player contracts expire at 4:00 p.m., EST

March 9

The 2016 league year and free agency period begins at 4:00 p.m., EST.

The first day of the 2016 league year will end at 11:59:59 p.m., EST, on March 9. Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the league office during the period between 4:00 p.m., EST, and 11:59:59 p.m., EST, on March 9.

March 9

Trading period for 2016 begins at 4:00 p.m., EST, after expiration of all 2015 contracts.

March 12

NFL Regional Combines, New Orleans Saints Training Facility, Metairie, Louisiana.

March 20-23

Annual League Meeting, Boca Raton, Florida.

April 4

Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2015 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.

April 18

Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.

April 22

Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign Offer Sheets.

April 28-30

2016 NFL Draft, Chicago, Illinois.

April 30

After the final selection in the Draft has been made, clubs may begin signing Undrafted Free Agents who were eligible for the 2016 Draft.

May 6-9

First weekend after the NFL Draft: clubs may elect to hold their one three-day post-draft rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.

May 9

Rookie Football Development Program Begins.

May 13-16

Second weekend after the NFL Draft: clubs may elect to hold their one three-day post-draft rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.

May 19-22

NFLPA Rookie Premiere. Invited Rookies (typically, first and/or second-round selections) must be permitted by their respective clubs to attend. Such players are unavailable for offseason workouts, OTA days, and minicamps during this period.

May 23-25

NFL Spring League Meeting, Charlotte, North Carolina.

June 1

Deadline for prior club to send “June 1 Tender” to its unsigned Restricted Free Agents who received a qualifying offer for a Right of First Refusal Only in order for such player to be subject to the CBA’s “June 15 Tender” provision.

June 2

For any player removed from the club’s roster or whose contract is assigned via waivers or trade on or after June 2, any unamortized signing bonus amounts for future years will be included fully in Team Salary at the start of the 2017 League Year.

June 15

Deadline for club to withdraw qualifying offer to Restricted Free Agents and still retain exclusive negotiating rights by substituting “June 15 Tender” of one-year contract at 110 percent of the player’s prior-year Paragraph 5 Salary (with all other terms of his prior-year contract carried forward unchanged).

June 19-25

Rookie Symposium, Aurora, Ohio.

July 15

At 4:00 p.m., EST, deadline for any club that designated a Franchise Player to sign such player to a multiyear contract or extension. After this date, the player may sign only a one-year contract with his prior club for the 2016 season, and such contract cannot be extended until after the club’s last regular season game.

Mid-July

Clubs are permitted to open preseason training camp for rookies and first-year players beginning seven days prior to the club’s earliest permissible mandatory reporting date for veteran players.

Veteran players (defined as a player with at least one pension-credited season) other than quarterbacks or “injured players” (as defined in CBA Article 21, Section 6) may report to a club’s preseason training camp no earlier than 15 days prior to the club’s first scheduled preseason game or July 15, whichever is later.

Veteran quarterbacks and injured players may be required to report to the club’s preseason training camp no earlier than five days immediately prior to the mandatory reporting date for all other veteran players, provided the club has already opened (or simultaneously opens) its official preseason training camp for all rookies and first-year players.

A three-day acclimation period will apply to players who are on a Club’s roster up to and including the mandatory veteran reporting date. Players who join the roster after that date may practice (including wearing pads) and play immediately after passing a physical.

July 22*

Signing Period ends for unrestricted Free Agents to whom a “May 10 Tender” was made by prior club. After this date and until 4:00 p.m., EST, on the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, prior club has exclusive negotiating rights.

* or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later.

July 22

Signing Period ends for Transition Players with outstanding tenders. After this date and until 4:00 p.m., EST, on the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, prior club has exclusive negotiating rights.

For more information contact a Seattle NFL Agent.

Kevin Smith added to Seahawk’s 53 Man Roster

November 20, 2015
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Kevin Smith (17) during an NFL preseason game against the Denver Broncos on Friday, Aug. 14, 2015 in Seattle. The Broncos won, 22-20. (AP Photo/Ric Tapia)

Kevin Smith has gone from undrafted free agent from Washington, to cut, to working at FedEx back home at Compton to playing for the Seattle Seahawks. We are very excited to our client on the field Sunday! John Boyle with the article from Seahawks.com

When the Seahawks promoted receiver Kevin Smith off of the practice squad and waived Chris Matthews Tuesday, it was a move coaches felt made the team better, but it also represents something bigger for Seahawks coach Pete Carroll than just upgrading a particular position group.

The way Carroll sees it, you can’t build a program around a philosophy of “always compete” if you’re not going to live it, and sometimes that means a practice squad receiver beating out somebody on the active roster for a job midway through the season.

“If the central theme is competition, then you’ve got to do what you say,” Carroll said. “We’ve always tried to stand for that and give guys opportunities to show what they can do and sense when that hunger is right to take advantage of the opportunity and let them excel. That’s always been some of it. But really if you say that, then you need to act on it, and that’s just another indication I think of it. That’s exactly what’s going on with that right now. That’s why he’s up.”

For Smith, a former University of Washington standout, a chance to play on Sunday is just the latest step in his journey from going undrafted in 2014, to being completely out of football and working for FedEx last season, to Seattle’s practice squad this year and an eventual spot on the 53-man roster.

“It’s awesome, it’s a blessing, a dream come true,” Smith said. “… It means a lot. You’re out there for the practice days competing with the No. 1 defense, getting them prepared and seeing the offense get prepared. Really, it’s just a dream come true that come Sunday, you get to play in that first game.”

After going undrafted out of Washington last year, Smith spent time in the offseason with Arizona, Jacksonville and Seattle, but after the Seahawks released him at the end of training camp, he kept waiting for his next chance, but it never came. Instead, he spent last fall and winter working for FedEx at home in Los Angeles, “unloading and loading trucks, sorting shipments.” But while holding down that job, Smith stayed in shape, kept in touch with fellow undrafted Husky turned Seahawk Jermaine Kearse, and even cold-called scouts from six or seven NFL teams that he had met during his Pro Day at Washington, “just trying to get my foot in one of those doors… Nothing really happened there, but at least I made an effort.”

The Seahawks eventually brought Smith back in February, and a slimmed down, quicker and very driven Smith made an impression in camp and in preseason games. Even after missing out on a roster spot, Smith continued to impress his coaches in practice every week as a member of the practice squad.

“Kevin has paid his dues,” receivers coach Dave Canales said. “He played offense and defense on the practice squad. Probably the hardest thing for a guy to do is to be in a position where you’re challenged to get better every week without having a gameday as a payoff. He stayed focused the whole time, he stayed in it.”

Perhaps most impressive, Canales noted, has been Smith’s mental preparation despite not playing in games. Each week, assistant wide receivers coach Nate Carroll puts together a test for his receivers based on the information covered in meeting that week, and according to Canales, “Kevin regularly scores just as well as Doug (Baldwin), just as good as Jermaine.”

That work ethic has helped Smith master all of Seattle’s receiver positions, a big reason, along with his special teams play, why he got the call this week.

“He has worked really hard. He has really improved,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “The thing that he does best for us is that he’s so versatile. We can play him at a lot of positions. We could put him at any of our three positions out there and he could get it done. He catches the ball well. We call him ‘One-a-day’ out there at practice—he’s like one of our vitamins, because about every day he ends up with a big play or a touchdown out there, so we really like having him out there.”

Hard work and good play on the practice field eventually paid off for Smith, and for Carroll and the Seahawks, rewarding that effort was an important part of what the team represents.

“We wanted to give Kevin a chance to play… “We thought it was time to give him a chance.”

For more information contact a Seattle NFL Agent.

How to make money on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

October 8, 2015
Andrew Right of Ripl

Andrew Right of Ripl

A local company here in Kirkland, WA has created a new app that users can earn money just by creating and sharing content. Ripl is a platform that streams all social media content into one feed and allows customized posts. We are currently planning on pairing athletes and celebrities with the Ripl platform to promote local and national brands. These marking endevarors are the future and we are excited to be at the forefront of it with an amazing team. The following is an article from John Cook on Geekwire.

Paul Ingalls and Andrew Wright tried to crack into the sports content business with Fanzo, but the Seattle entrepreneurs quickly realized that their application just was not differentiated enough from other sports-related services.

So, the entrepreneurs — who previously worked together at Redmond-based Smilebox and Seattle-based RealNetworks— did what most entrepreneurs do. They adjusted.

Today, Ingalls and Wright are unveiling a new service called Ripl, which is designed to help social media influencers build their followings and monetize their social streams with targeted promotions.

The name Ripl may ring a bell to long-time watchers of the Seattle tech scene. After all, former Classmates.com executive Bill Messing started a social networking service for college students by that name back in 2006.

But after Fanzo failed, Wright and Ingalls started kicking around a new way to share trending content on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and they approached Messing about buying the domain name Ripl for the new service.

Wright sees big things ahead for the new Ripl, so much so that the angel investor is devoting most of his time to the new project as executive chairman.

What makes Ripl unique from other services like Buffer, Tweetdeck, NeoReach, TapInfluence and Izea?

“We are the only ones that help influencers build and monetize their following and enable brands to effectively engage influencers with followings in the 1,000 to 50,000 range that happen to reach the largest audience,” said Wright, who sold Smilebox to IncrediMail for up to $40 million in 2011.

The Ripl app, which is launching today in Apple’s app store, helps social media influencers find original content that may resonate with their specific audiences, and it helps them craft custom posts from photos, text and links with animations in order to help boost the content in social circles. (This is a nod to the work that Ingalls and Wright did at Smilebox, a company that allowed users to create customized greeting cards using personal photos and video).

Even more interestingly, Ripl also allows social media users to make money by sharing promotions with their followers.

“They can choose and personalize the ones they like and share them across social media,” Wright tells GeekWire. “We do this by treating promos like other posts and enabling influencers to customize the copy, imagery and overall look for their audience.”

At the same time, Ripl tracks the engagement of these posts — including the number of likes, comments and clicks — and then pays the social media user based on the amount of engagement the posts get multiplied on a fee-per-engagement basis. The content creator keeps the majority of advertising revenue generated through the promotions.

For the most part, brand advertisers have focused their efforts on celebrities with large social followings of one million or more. Ripl is hoping to open the door on those with followings in the 1,000 to 50,000 range.

In a release, Ingalls said that Ripl is designed to help advertisers “find the right experts to advocate their products to the right people.”

Ripl has raised $2.1 million, which includes the capital that previously flowed into Fanzo. The company employs nine people, including Wright.

“I have invested with 12 companies in my angel role and I just thought this was an extraordinary opportunity to create a breakthrough product again with Paul and his team,” said Wright.

For more information contact a Seattle NFL Agent.

Player Collects on Loss of Draft Value Insurance

October 2, 2015

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Ifo Ekpre-Olomu had as high as a first round projection in some experts mock draft when he tore his ACL in December. Luckily he had filed Loss of Draft Value Insurance, which until now was just a precaution. Looks like he will become the player to set the precedent on collecting his insurance money. Currently a Cleveland Brown, smart planning by his representation on taking out this policy. Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports has the story.

Former Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu is expected to be the first player to collect on a loss of draft value insurance, according to the man who underwrote the policy.

Keith Lerner told CBS Sports Thursday night that Ekpre-Olomu is in the process of collecting a $3 million claim after suffering a season-ending knee injury in December. The All-American corner, projected to be a first-round draft choice last May, slipped to the seventh round after blowing out his ACL before the College Football Playoff National Championship.

“That claim is close to getting paid,” said Lerner, the Gainesville, Florida-based head of Total Planning Sports Services.

Lerner added the claim should be paid in the next 30-60 days. Ekpre-Olomu was the 241st player taken in the draft by Cleveland. Loss of draft value claims are paid if a player slips one round lower than projected previously by a panel of draft experts.

“His hope is that he is going to come back and play,” Lerner said. “Hopefully he’ll come back and have a great career.”

Lerner’s Total Planning Sports underwrote the policy for Lloyd’s of London. Oregon paid the injury and/or loss of value insurance premiums for several players last year, including Ekpre-Olomu and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Marcus Mariota.

The ethics of schools’ paying of those premiums has become a talking point in NCAA circles. The money comes from the NCAA Student Assistance Fund. The fund typically totals $300,000 or more and is earmarked for all athletes in a school’s athletic department budget.

Premiums for a first round-rated player could account for 20 percent or more of that total. Typically, premiums cost $8,000 per $1 million of insurance, Lerner said.

Loss of draft value policies have been around for 25 years, according to Lerner, but only in the last 2-3 years have they increased in volume.

Lerner said only one player he has ever insured collected on a disability (career-ending) claim. That was former Florida defensive tackle Ed Chester in 1998.

For more information contact a Seattle NFL Agent.

Kam Chancellor Ends Holdout

September 23, 2015
Kam Chancellor has officially ended his holdout

Kam Chancellor has officially ended his holdout

With the news that Kam Chancellor has officially ended his holdout, one has to wonder what did he accomplish? Maybe a statement that he is unhappy with his contract. Not sure how that resonates given that he signed his contract two years ago and was extremely happy at the time. Also, he has apparently raised concerns over his knee injuries. Unfortunately that is the nature of NFL contracts where the most important issue is how much money is actually guaranteed. I would go on to focus that frustration towards his agent how had Kam sign a contract that currently has him only as the 27th highest paid strong safety according to percentage of contract that is actually guaranteed. Really questionable decision to holdout also knowing that the Seahawks are 29th in cap space and didn’t have assets to allocate to him. The report that Kam just wanted $4 Millon moved from 2017 to 2016 was a feeble attempt by his agent. That would mean Kam would play the last year of his contract, 2017, for just $2 Million. Really doubt that Kam would do that knowing that the Seahawks renegotiate deals when players are in the last year of a contract. Carroll and Schneider held strong and did not cave. The Seahawks lost their first two games of the season and one has to wonder if he would’ve been the difference to a 2-0 or 1-1 start. Kam lost two game checks and incurred massive fines which may or may not be waived or partially waived by the Seahawks. I would recommend Kam find new representation as instead of accomplishing anything he actually cost himself money and hurt his team. Glad he is back and now has the opportunity to show the Seahawks he is worth every penny and more. For more information contact a Seattle NFL Agent.

Scary Results from Recent NFL CTE Test

September 18, 2015

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I’ve written about CTE results in former NFL players before. Here is a good follow up article with even more alarming numbers on how CTE is affecting the NFL. Jason Breslow of PBS with the Story.

A total of 87 out of 91 former NFL players have tested positive for the brain disease at the center of the debate over concussions in football, according to new figures from the nation’s largest brain bank focused on the study of traumatic head injury.

Researchers with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University have now identified the degenerative disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, in 96 percent of NFL players that they’ve examined and in 79 percent of all football players. The disease is widely believed to stem from repetitive trauma to the head, and can lead to conditions such as memory loss, depression and dementia.

In total, the lab has found CTE in the brain tissue in 131 out of 165 individuals who, before their deaths, played football either professionally, semi-professionally, in college or in high school.

Forty percent of those who tested positive were the offensive and defensive linemen who come into contact with one another on every play of a game, according to numbers shared by the brain bank with FRONTLINE. That finding supports past research suggesting that it’s the repeat, more minor head trauma that occurs regularly in football that may pose the greatest risk to players, as opposed to just the sometimes violent collisions that cause concussions.

But the figures come with several important caveats, as testing for the disease can be an imperfect process. Brain scans have been used to identify signs of CTE in living players, but the disease can only be definitively identified posthumously. As such, many of the players who have donated their brains for testing suspected that they had the disease while still alive, leaving researchers with a skewed population to work with.

Even with those caveats, the latest numbers are “remarkably consistent” with pastresearch from the center suggesting a link between football and long-term brain disease, said Dr. Ann McKee, the facility’s director and chief of neuropathology at the VA Boston Healthcare System.

“People think that we’re blowing this out of proportion, that this is a very rare disease and that we’re sensationalizing it,” said McKee, who runs the lab as part of a collaboration between the VA and BU. “My response is that where I sit, this is a very real disease. We have had no problem identifying it in hundreds of players.”

In a statement, a spokesman for the NFL said, “We are dedicated to making football safer and continue to take steps to protect players, including rule changes, advanced sideline technology, and expanded medical resources. We continue to make significant investments in independent research through our gifts to Boston University, the [National Institutes of Health] and other efforts to accelerate the science and understanding of these issues.”

The latest update from the brain bank, which in 2010 received a $1 million research grant from the NFL, comes at a time when the league is able to boast measurable progress in reducing head injuries. In its 2015 Health & Safety Report, the NFL said that concussions in regular season games fell 35 percent over the past two seasons, from 173 in 2012 to 112 last season. A separate analysis by FRONTLINE that factors in concussions reported by teams during the preseason and the playoffs shows a smaller decrease of 28 percent.

Off the field, the league has revised safety rules to minimize head-to-head hits, and invested millions into research. In April, it also won final approval for a potential $1 billion settlement with roughly 5,000 former players who have sued it over past head injuries.

Still, at the start of a new season of play, the NFL once again finds itself grappling to turn the page on the central argument in the class-action lawsuit: that for years it sought to conceal a link between football and long-term brain disease.

The latest challenge to that effort came two weeks ago with the trailer for a forthcoming Hollywood film about the neuropathologist who first discovered CTE. When the trailer was released, it quickly went viral, leaving the NFL bracing for a new round of scrutiny over past efforts to deny any such connection.

The film, Concussion, starring Will Smith, traces the story of Bennet Omalu, who in 2005 shocked the football establishment with an article in the journal Neurosurgery detailing his discovery of CTE in the brain of former Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster. At the VA lab and elsewhere, CTE has since been found in players such as Hall of FamerJunior Seau, former NFL Man of the Year Dave Duerson, and Indianapolis Colts tight end John Mackey, a past head of the player’s union.

While the story is not a new one, for the NFL, it represents a high-profile and potentially embarrassing cinematic interpretation of a period in which the league sought to refute research suggesting football may contribute to brain disease.

From 2003 to 2009, for example, the NFL’s now disbanded Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee concluded in a series of scientific papers that “no NFL player” had experienced chronic brain damage from repeat concussions, and that “Professional football players do not sustain frequent repetitive blows to the brain on a regular basis.”

In the case of Omalu, league doctors publicly assailed his research, and in a rare move, demanded a retraction of his study. When Omalu spoke to FRONTLINE about the incident for the 2013 documentary, League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis, he said, “You can’t go against the NFL. They’ll squash you.”

In a conversation with FRONTLINE, McKee said that her biggest challenge remains “convincing people this is an actual disease.” Whatever pockets of resistance still exist, she said, have primarily come from those with a “vested interest” in football.

“People want to make this just Alzheimer’s disease or aging and not really a disease,” according to McKee. “I think there’s fewer of those people, but that’s still one of our major hurdles.”

For more information contact a Seattle NFL Agent.

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