A new CNN/ORC poll out this morning gives some revealing insight into the way people feel about football– particularly safety and the culture of the game.
Issues surrounding brain damage, and other potential long-term cognitive and emotional consequences of repetitive brain trauma, are now practically synonymous with the NFL.
Perhaps because of that attention, 36% of poll respondents said they view the NFL less favorably based on its handling of the concussion controversy.
Sixty percent say it has no effect on their views.
"When it comes to middle school and high school, there appears to be more concern," Dr. Gupta says. "These are kids versus NFL, these are adults. They have made some decisions about this particular career. So that's why you see the difference there."
On the topic of NFL injuries overall: About half of the public believes that something should be done about them, while the other half views them as part of the game.
The same number say they view the NFL less favorably when players inflict intentional injuries on opposing players; 50% view that style of play as part of the game.
"I think people just want their football and no matter what happens outside of the game, they realize it is a violent sport. These guys were trained to hit each other on the field," Scholes says in response to the poll numbers.
"And no matter what happens on the field or even bullying locker room, they won't stop watching the game of football… 19 out of the 20 of the most watched programs on TV this year have all been NFL games.”