BOCA RATON, Fla. — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday that a possible connection between CTE and football is “consistent with our position over the years.”
Speaking at the conclusion of the league’s annual owners meetings, Goodell supported the recent assertion of NFL senior vice president Jeff Miller, who said at a congressional roundtable that there is “certainly” a connection between the brain disease and football. No league official had ever made such an unequivocal statement.
Goodell, however, did not directly respond to a question about Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who said Tuesday that any suggestion of a confirmed link is “absurd.”
“The most important thing for us is to support the medicine and scientists who determine what those connections are,” Goodell said. “We think that the statements that have been made by Jeff Miller and others have consistent with our position over the years. We’ve actually funded those studies. So we’re not only aware of those and recognize them but we support those studies. “A lot of the research is still in its infancy, but we’re trying to find ways to accelerate that.”
Goodell said owners approved funding this week for “additional research,” but he did not provide details. He also pointed to a series of safety-related rules changes — most recently, an attempt to de-emphasize the kickoff return more by moving the touchback to the 25-yard line — as further evidence of the league’s commitment to brain health.
During its meetings this week, the league prominently displayed new technology for helmets and softer playing surfaces.
“There are exciting technological changes that I think are going to make our game safer,” Goodell said. “We’re advancing that. We’re driving that. So our view is to try to continue to do that. We’ll support science and medicine and allow them to make those decisions and try to see what we can do to support that and advance it.”