For anyone who doesn’t believe in God, I give you the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu and the National Football League. I’m a fan of the NFL, and of it’s executive staff, but this episode is not the NFL’s finest hour.
Dr. Bennet Omalu made a startling discovery that rocked the National Football League. A forensic pathologist now at UC Davis Medical Center, Dr. Omalu examines the brain of the late, great Pittsburgh Steelers Center Mike Webster. During the process, Dr. Omalu discovered a disease he named chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. He tried to warn the NFL, and not to shut down the game of football, but to save it.
At the time, the NFL thought differently.
In a riveting Frontline documentary called “League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis”, the NFL worked to try and discredit Dr. Omalu, and to a point that can only be called racist.
Now, all of that is going to be tossed back into the NFL’s face, and in the form of a Sony-distributed, Ridley Scott, David Wolfhoff, Larry Shuman-produced, Peter Landesman written-and-directed movie called Concussion, which stars Will Smith.
The movie was originally called Game Brain, and based on a 2009 article in Gentlemen’s Quarterly Magazine. It took up steam when Mr. Smith and producer James Lassiter and Overbrook Entertainment signed on in March of 2014.
After that point, according to sources, communications with the NFL heated up, and while I have not read the script, all indications are that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell comes out of this looking good.
Concussion, which will be released Christmas Day 2015, just may be the movie that lands Smith a “Best Actor” nomination at The Academy Awards. Reports are that he kills a pivotal scene where he’s explaining head trauma, and in a nigerian accent, as he’s playing the real life Dr. Omalu.
Concussion stars Will Smith, Albert Brooks, Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Paul Reiser and Luke Wilson as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.