ESPN has pulled out of a collaboration with PBS’s “Frontline” program just as an investigative film about the NFL and player concussions was to air.
“Frontline” said Thursday that ESPN has withdrawn its involvement on “League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis,” a documentary about the NFL’s response to head injuries among players. The sports network, which has a lucrative deal to broadcast NFL games, will no longer permit “Frontline” to use its logos nor other credits on the two-hour film, nor two “Frontline” Web sites related to it. The film is scheduled to air in October on PBS stations.
“We don’t normally comment on investigative projects in progress, but we regret ESPN’s decision to end a collaboration that has spanned the last 15 months,” wrote “Frontline” executive producer David Fanning and Raney Aronson, deputy executive producer, on the “Frontline” Web site late Thursday.
“League of Denial” is based on reporting by “Frontline” and two ESPN journalists, Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru, a former Washington Post reporter. The Fainaru brothers are the authors of a forthcoming book, also titled “League of Denial.” They will continue to work on the TV documentary and will appear in it, “Frontline” said.