NFL 1, Toyota 0

The NFL threatened Toyota to get the auto maker to modify a television commercial that highlighted the problem of the brain damage football players suffer from repeated concussions. In the original version of Toyota's ad which aired last November, a mother says she worries about her son playing football as viewers are shown two young players colliding head to head. The scene is enhanced with crashing sounds, as animated force lines ripple from the player's helmeted heads. The mother says Toyota's decision to share crash research with scientists who study football concussions makes her feel more comfortable about her son playing football. The ad bore no NFL trademarks or team names, but the NFL threatened to end the car maker's ability to advertise its products during games if it didn't modify the ad to downplay football as a cause of traumatic brain injury. Toyota capitulated, and in the new version of the ad, the helmet collision has been removed and the mother now worries about "my son playing sports," instead of "playing football."


I sure am glad the National Football League is looking out for all of those young boys playing football. This story is almost as unsavory as the tactics of Monsanto and the suppression of the rBGH story. I was once a football player and intuitively knew the sport was causing me head trauma. I chose to abandon my realized goal of playing college football during my Freshman year of college as a result. My father has never forgiven me for this self-saving action. If more people knew more about the real risks of playing football, the sport would suffer egregiously- which would be completely unacceptable to the "bread and circus" machine.

By abandoning an ad that not only helped their bruised corporate image but also had the potential for creating needed awareness about a problem impacting our kids (literally), Toyota just reinforced the impression that they seem to value profits over safety. That's sad. As for the NFL, it did not have much image to tarnish, as it has moved far too slowly on rules to curb player injuries. Only the NHL is worse.