Winner 2013

FRONTLINE: League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis

FRONTLINE, Kirk Documentary Group

Drawing on the book of the same name, League of Denial crafts a searing two-hour indictment of the National Football League’s decades-long concealment of the link between football related head injuries and brain disorders. FRONTLINE writer, producer, and director Michael Kirk meticulously charts the uncovering of scientific evidence of the chronic brain disease, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), and its relationship to football concussions. The documentary demonstrates not just a pattern of denial by the NFL, but also intentional efforts to repress scientific findings, discredit researchers, and create its own “scientific research” suggesting football is safe. Brain examinations of deceased college and high school players with CTE also suggest that such injuries can occur at much earlier ages than was previously thought. The result is that viewers may feel a bit uneasy with the implications of their own fandom for what is increasingly understood as a very unsafe sport. For its dogged pursuit of evidence, meticulous argumentation, and willingness to take on the most powerful organization in professional sports, FRONTLINE: League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis receives a Peabody Award.


Executive Producers: David Fanning, Raney Aronson-Rath. Producers: Michael Kirk, Jim Gilmore, Michael Wiser.
Director: Michael Kirk. Writers: Michael Kirk, Michael Wiser, Steve Fainaru, Mark Fainaru-Wada. Reporters: Jim Gilmore, Steve Fainaru, Mark Fainaru-Wada. Managing Editor: Philip Bennett.  Editor: Steve Audette. Coordinating Producer: Colette Neirouz Hanna. Director of Photography:  Ben McCoy. Associate Producer: Lauren Ezell. Narrator: Will Lyman. Production Assistant/Assistant Editor: Caitlin Rotman. Production Assistant: Elliza Hamilton.