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NFL, New York Times continue fight over concussion report (and the latter is winning)

The NFL wants you to know that it's dumb, not corrupt though actually it's probably just both.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Press Conference Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

The NFL would rather you think it stupid than evil. That's a great phrase, one used in a headline for an article published by SB Nation's Louis Bien early on Wednesday discussing the ongoing battle between the NFL and the New York Times.

You may remember the Times publishing a report claiming the league left out at least 100 concussions -- some of which were sustained by Steve Young and Troy Aikman -- from a database that was used to assist a study which was used by the league to downplay the dangers of head injuries. The Times report also linked the NFL to the Tobacco industry, which the league took offense with.

First, the league released a statement responding to the Times article. They claimed that the Times made a tenuous connection to the tobacco industry, which is their only legitimate complaint from where I'm sitting, and that the league's own studies were not meant to be comprehensive in the first place. They were flawed on purpose.

I'll wait while you take a minute to slam your head into your desk like I did when I first read this. Go ahead, slam away, and if you really need to, throw yourself on the ground and wail at the sky in absolute incredulity at that statement.

After that, the league sent a six-page letter from NFL attorney Brad Karp to the Times demanding they retract the story. They claimed that the report did not present any evidence that the league intentionally concealed concussion research date. In other words, they would like you to continue to believe they're just a bunch of idiots. It's not like the research is important or anything.

The Times made a statement to Politico sports editor Jason Stallman, saying they see "no reason to retract anything." They also responded to a claim that the league has no connection with the tobacco industry by pointing out that the league's firm represented Philip Morris in its RICO case.

Honestly, the tobacco industry stuff is secondary. The main point is that the NFL demanded a retraction of the concussion aspects as well, and legally, I imagine they are on somewhat solid legal ground. Given it would be hard to prove that the league intentionally left the concussions out of the study over the possibility that they're simply incompetent.

It's a shame that in the end it's probably actually both.