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Brothers Behind 'League of Denial' Say Safety Main Focus of Film

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All Rights Reserved

USA TODAY
October 8, 2013 Tuesday
FINAL EDITION
SPORTS; Pg. 3C
292 words
Brothers: Safety is focus of film

The two investigative reporters who co-wrote the documentary League of Denial say the goal of their reporting was to inform people about concussions, not advocate for the end of football.

"First and foremost, we want to tell you we love football," said Mark Fainaru-Wada, who worked on the film and a book with his brother, Steve Fainaru. "Steve has season tickets to the (San Francisco) 49ers. We both get together to watch."

Says Steve: "There are a lot of great things about football. ... I played in high school, and it was a major experience for me growing up. ... But I do think we've laid out in a 400-page book with a lot of evidence that this is a real problem."

Mark Fainaru says the focus should be on making the game as safe as possible.

"Look, the NFL is a $10billion industry ... and ESPN, our network, contributes largely to that," Mark said. "So it's hard to imagine the NFL going away in any form. It's America's pastime.

"I think the questions really resonate down at the lower levels around ... high schools and Pop Warner ... around parents discussing whether they want their kids to play because of some of the concerns."

Both men have sons, who are not playing football. Would the reporters let their sons play if they wanted?

"I have not had to cross that bridge. It's a really personal decision," said Mark, who played high school baseball and basketball. "Sports were an incredibly formative part of my life. ... By the same token, based on everything we've learned, there's a part of it that's a frightening proposition because you just don't know."

Steve acknowledged it can be a tough spot for parents.

"If our mother had told me that she wasn't going to let me play football in high school," he says, "I would have run off to Texas."

October 8, 2013

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