In a report for the US House of Representatives this week, new evidence came to light that shows the National Football League continuing to fit the name “The League of Denial.”
“Democratic Committee staff received evidence to support the allegations that the NFL inappropriately attempted to influence the selection of NIH research applicants funded by the NFL’s $30 million donation to NIH,” reads the report. Such attempts are in violation of NIH policy.
This policy is the NIH’s way of excluding bias or inappropriate influence, ensuring the integrity of its findings. The report found that the NFL’s attempts to influence who received funding failed, and that the integrity of the process was preserved. Still, as the report has it, “the NFL did not carry out its commitment to respect the science and prioritize health and safety.”
Instead, the league attempted to strip Boston University of a $16 million project by meddling with the selection process, proposing league-affiliated doctors, and threatening to withdraw its donation to the NIH. The latest article from ESPN outlines numerous other interfering tactics and conflicts of interest: “NFL donations to brain research benefit league-linked doctors, raise worries about influence on science.”
The consequences for these transgressions amount to not so much as a slap on the wrist, as the NIH and its foundation currently have no process to address concerns about donors acting improperly. At least the NFL winds up with egg on its face, so to speak, as the embarrassment spreads through the press.
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