The National Football League is currently gripped in a whirlwind of concussion dispute and lawsuits from former players. Well if Hollywood gets its way then there will be nowhere for the NFL to run. There are multiple projects lined up detailing concussions and CTE in football, including one that is slated to include star actor Will Smith.
Smith is in talks to star in an as yet untitled film based on the 2009 article “Game Brain” by Jeanne Marie Laskas which appeared in GQ Magazine. If he signs on as he is expected to do so, Smith will play Dr. Bennet Omalu, the forensic neuropathologist who first discovered chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) while conducting an autopsy on Mike Webster, the former center for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Omalu is one of the experts interviewed in the “Frontline” documentary “League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis” which was dropped by ESPN after pressure from the NFL.
After looking at the images of Webster’s brain and naming his condition, Dr. Omalu thought the NFL would actually be appreciative of his findings.
“I was excited,” he told “Frontline.” “I thought the football industry would be happy with our new discovery. I thought naively that discovery of new information, unraveling new information, redefining concepts, I thought the football industry would embrace it — again, about my business experience — utilize it, turn it into some type of utility, some type of utility function to enhance the game.”
Exactly the opposite happened, the NFL went after him almost immediately. Omalu said on “Frontline” the league tried to publicly discredit him through its doctors.
When he submitted his findings to the journal used by most NFL doctors, it was peer reviewed by 18 before finally being published, compared to normal reports that are looked at by two.
If a star of Smith's calibre takes up the project then there would really be nowhere left for the league to run. Once it hits Hollywood, Roger Goodell and co. can forget about any more distraction tactics.