Last week, TSN had a week long examination of the concussion lawsuit being filed against the NHL. There have been many depositions given by all sorts of hockey ops personnel, many of which are known names but only a handful of owners. Unfortunately, one of the owners is the longtime owner of the Boston Bruins, Jeremy Jacobs.
Jacobs was subjected to a seven-hour-long deposition in which he seemed to not only deny any knowledge of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) in athletes, he seems to be stuck on the idea that CTE is something only observed after death, that it’s from dead brains. Watch the video in this article to see.
It seems unlikely that an owner of any sports team that promotes such aggressive contact between players would be unaware of this degenerative brain disease, especially since there has been much media focus on it, movies made about a pathologist who discovered this in post-mortem examination of football player’s brains, and that there is an institute at Boston University dedicated to studying this. How far out of touch does Jacobs have to be to not know any of this?
Well, apparently, it’s not just him.
“If we take these owners at their word, and they really don’t know what CTE is, it just makes the owners look like dilettantes,” said Jodi Balsam, a former NFL league lawyer who now teaches at Brooklyn Law School in New York. “These teams are businesses that earn and lose tens of millions of dollars and the idea that they wouldn’t keep themselves up to date on the science and medical developments that affect their most important assets is remarkable to me.”
According to testimony that hasn’t be redacted, team officials like Glen Sather have admitted to paying little attention to tracking concussions since they expected the players to be around for 1-2 seasons. Or Brandan Shanahan had had players talk to him personally about their fear of brain injury when he was the head of the Department of Player Safety, players he conveniently forgot about later.
The NHL comes off as willingly ignoring the science while trying to build their sport even dismissing traumatic brain injury as only a football thing. While not understanding the exact science of CTE is understandable as the knowledge is constantly evolving, just pretending they know nothing won’t make it go away.