Larry Fedora might want to start backtracking.
The North Carolina Tar Heels head football coach made some head-scratching statements Wednesday at the Atlantic Coast Conference preseason media event. Fedora said repeatedly that he didn’t believe the links between CTE and football had been proven. He also made the claim that the dramatic changes to the game of football ultimately could lead to the downfall of America.
“Our game is under attack … I fear that the game will be pushed so far from what we know that we won’t recognize it 10 years from now. And if it does, our country will go down, too,” Fedora said, per The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach.
Ah yes, of course, the fall of American civilization will be due to extreme safety precautions on the gridiron and not a foreign power meddling in our elections or the glut of complex political issues that face the country going forward. But do away with kickoffs and that’s all she wrote. Come on, Larry.
When asked about the connection between CTE and football, Fedora denied seeing a connection.
“I don’t think it’s been proven that the game of football causes CTE. We don’t really know that. Are there chances for concussions? Of course. There are collisions. But the game is safer than it’s ever been.”
“I blame a groundswell of data that is tweaked one way or the other because I can take the data and make it look one way and you can take the data and make it look another way and whoever’s presenting it is the one that gets the say-so,“ Fedora said, per Luke DeCock of The News and Observer.
Fedora’s blatant disregard for the scientific evidence that has linked the violent game of football to head trauma is troubling, to say the least. Couple that with the fact that North Carolina has a renowned sports-related traumatic brain injury research center on campus makes his denial all the more bizarre and toxic.
Fedora came back out to clarify his comments, but just ended up doubling down on his wild beliefs.
North Carolina will have to look long and hard at Fedora’s comments and whether or not he should be leading a group of young men while denying that the game they play puts their brains at risk. He certainly hasn’t won enough at Chapel Hill to warrant getting a pass for these comments.
Thumbnail photo via Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports Images