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tv   Open Phones with Mark Fainaru- Wada  CSPAN  August 12, 2015 10:03pm-10:29pm EDT

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went to washington. we were asked to speak to the armed services committee just a conversation around the experiences they had as being a woman. during that, i was discussing what it meant to display single mothers. in the book, you would see in very close detail how desma children are cared for when she's not here during her to year-long deployments. her children are young. her girls are young and her son is a little bit older. the repercussions for children is something even the department of defense is looking at as were deploying single parents and mothers. when we have the draft, we didn't didn't draft parents of
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young children of either gender so in the all voluntary military, this is a new thing where we have these children at home where these parents are doing multiple lengthy deployments. when i finish talking, desma took the microphone and said i just want to add something to that. she said, i am earned a lot of money during my deployment. i got combat pay and i chose to enlist and i chose to fulfill those orders. i appreciated having that opportunity to earn that money. i earned a lot more money doing this than i was making as a waitress at a truck stop, and i wouldn't want my experience used in a way that would deny anybody else the same economic opportunity.
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and so, she was essentially saying, you how in thorpe the author of this book might think it's not a great thing deploy a single mom, but that's easy for you to say because you weren't trying to raise my children on what i was earning. she told me later that she thought i was uppity, i think she meant upper class. [laughter] i think she was right. the class angle is there and it's very real but if you speak about it in a certain way, it sounds like you are looking down on people and desma wouldn't like that at all. so she is not someone who wants to be seen as a victim so there is something there in my perspective on the fact that i
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don't think it's great as a society to deploy single mothers and i feel critical of that propensity on our part because i feel the children are suffering as a result. desmond is desma disagreement with me, i think there's a lot there and we could probably talk about that for a long time. >> she got around - we weren't supposed to allow single mothers to enlist and she got along around that. >> when she enlisted, they were not recruiting single mothers are single parents to sign up and desma actually got married right before she went to basic training so that she was not in the position where she could have given up custody of her child which was a decision
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another person might make, but she chose to marry her boyfriend that she was technically no longer a single mom. there are many many people in the forces who wind up in desma position later on which was she got divorced and that marriage didn't last. she ends up a single parent again later. now if you are married when you sign up and have custody of your children and later divorce and have custody of your children and are a single parent with full custody, you can still get appointment orders which is what happened to desma. the long-distance parenting which desma does is heartbreaking and she is trying so hard to be there for her kids and be a good mother. anyway, i'm afraid we have to and there. >> i want to thank helen thorpe so much. >> thank you.
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>> please don't forget the signing upstairs. thanks. >> the congress will debate the iran nuclear agreement. they look at the sanction portion of the agreement tomorrow and the possible consequences if they violate the deal. we have coverage starting at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> this sunday night on q&a, institute for policies that he fellow and antiwar activists on u.s. foreign policy since 911, the recent negotiations with iran and the war on terrorism. >> who is isis?
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what is their origin? what do they believe? why are they so violent? i address all those questions in the book. something more important and something we can do about is what is the u.s. policy regarding isis? why isn't it working? can we really go to war against the war on terrorism? i think those are the questions and sometimes the most important and would be the most useful. >> sunday night at eight eastern and pacific on c-span q&a. >> next a discussion on head injuries in the nfl. we hear from the co-authors of the book a league of denial. also joining in the conversation, former professional football player mcdaniels. the event was held at the tucson festival of books. >> so i would like to introduce our distinguish panel. steve is a senior writer with espn and with his brother mark he is the
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co-author of the league of denial, the nfl concussions in the battle for truth. it's a new york times best-selling book on their attempt to cover up theer injuries. he won a 2008 peerless or prizef for international reporting forq his investigative journalism. sa american mercenaries fighting in iraq. baseball, cuba and the search for the american dream. his brother mark is an investigator reporter for espn. he is is a member of their investigation and enterprise unit with which produces work for the award-winning program outside the line which i know many of you have seen. they both serve ass reporters ad writers on a companionor for documentary for pbs award-winning program frontline, a a league of denial.
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that documentary from then prestigious george polk and peabody awards as well is an emmy nomination.rk for mark, along with colleague lance williams, they earned national honors in 2004 and 2005 for their coverage of the story steroid scandal in baseball. in their book, game of shadows, it became an immediate new york times bestseller. it prompted major league baseball tod investigate steroid use and its league. do you see a pattern? he is regarded as one of the best sports agents in sports history. he is the agent that had six overall number one picks in the nfl draft over a seven-year period. the number one picks that he represented in his career is unmatched in nfl history. at 11 time, half of the starting quarterbacks in the national
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football league were lee steinberg's clients. he founded his practice in 1975 and has since represented over 250 professional athletes over 250 professional athletes including troy aikman, warren moon, stevee young, and many many more. he ia currently pres. and ceo of the steinberg sports and entertainment and an advocate for player safety. he has hosted two national conferences on the subject of concussions in the nfl. finally our third and fourth amount and member of the panel, he has played for the beavers and the kansas city chiefs. he is assistant professor at emory university. his interests
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include african-american and world war i and african americans in the intersection of sports and civil rights. his first book, prince of jockeys, examines the life in the career of the 19th centuryw jackie. we'd like to thank everyone watching here and around the country on book tv. the issue of concussions in the nfl really came to the forefront because of the book that steve and mark co-authored. we want to begin by asking them to quickly issue a summary statement statement about how this issue came to their attention and thus the nation's attention and what the status of this debate is and then weum i will invite lead too weigh-in after hostingmcda conferences for players and sport administrators on concussions. then we'd like like him to weigh-in on the player perspective.n steven mark, i'll turn it over to you. >> we really want to thank you for having us here. it's the second time back at the festival and it's amazing how huge it has gotten. we arell really hateful to be here. i'll give you a quick synopsis.
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there had been a lot of really good reporting done on the issue of concussions in football prior to us jumping into this story in 2011. our colleagues at espn had done fantastic work on the issue and others but i think one of the fundamental issues that have not been really addressed about this is what does the league know and when did they know it? how to address a problem that was becoming a huge public health crisis not only at the nfl level but at the youth level and foe r us you've seen the nf, the pressure on the nfl was ratcheting up considerably on this. in 2010, the 2010, the commissioner was called before congress and just hammered byic representative henry waxman for raising the question, is their connection between football and brain damage p by this time there had been a number of stories out about this connection and the commissioner
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did what the commissioner has done repeatedly and still does to this day, witches flub off the question and just say we will at the medical people decide which the representative was noh only dismissive but also derisive. i thought a lot of medical people were to because for them the question had beenav answered. to this day that still seems to be his position that we will let the medical profession decide. 0 for us it was a way to reflect back on the issue that began in the early '90s and so we really wanted to get at the core of taking a look at the nfl denial and ultimately, what what the book represented for us was presenting what had been toan of denial.ip n sort of a two-pronged front by the nfl where they went off to her scientists who were raising the question about the connection between football and
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brain damage and ostracize them and minimize their statement and at the same time essentially taking over a medical journal and publishing paper after paper after paper in that journal suggesting that there really was no problem playing football. that there was no connection. that essentially nfl players had different brains and the rest of us and they just weren't susceptible to getting concussions are the kinds that woul d cause brain damage. that is the type of information that would circulate for years. what came out of the book was the high-level publicity around this issue accompanied by a documentary, pbs frontline did this documentary, and this documentary, and that generated additional focus on this issue and to the point now that there is an ongoingis dialogue and i will let steve talked about where we are now. >> right, thanks. i think one of the things for
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mark and me when we started to get into this was we had a real opportunity to talk to a lot of ex-football players and and get their thoughts on what was goino on. you had on the one hand, as marr said, the, the nfl with all its power and resources trying toh deny that this was actually a problem, and yet we were goingin from player to player to player and we were seeing the incredible devastation that hadh been present and that they believe was directly attributable to their careers in the national football league.e so we had this obvious tension where these people were feeling left out, they were feeling abandoned. i think many mental healtht problems, you saw was not something that just affected the players but it affected everyone around them. d so, when we began,
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we knew we wanted to start really as patient zero. it was mike webster at the center for the pittsburgh steelers during the 1970s. and what we did is we just essentially chronicled what had happened to webster and what had happened as he had gone from being this person who was the stream like conservative, stable, i hear in the community, so be there was a great teammate and family man to somebody who he was incredibly stable and a hero in the community and a great family man to someone that was completely unrecognizable to his friends and family. he went from someone who is financially conservative to spending every dime that his family had. he ended up living in his truck
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shuttling between wisconsin and pittsburgh, sometimes living on the road and sleeping and bus stations. he had incredible physical problems as a result of his career in the nfl even beyond his obvious mental health issues. he would go to these extremes to try to deal with them. his teeth started falling out for example and so he would literally superglue them back into his mouth. he had in chart incredible trouble sleeping. he couldn't sleep in a bed so he tried to sleep in a chair. when that didn't work he slept in his truck. when that didn't work, he had purchased several mail order stun guns and had his son or his friend taser him to sleep. it gave you an idea of sort of what the magnitude of these issues were and i think with what we saw over time as the book came out and we were able
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to dramatize some of these issues, you saw a real tension that exists and continue to exist today. this is a major public health problem in our country that affects thousands of kids and parents and players all the way up to the nfl, and then you have not only the nfl is an entity, as in powerful entity, but what the nfl means to our culture. it is still incredible incredibly popular. well over millions of people watched the super bowl. they have the monday night football contract and they have that for a reason because it
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makes a lot of money. that tension is at the heart of where we are now. i think it's going to be really fascinating to hear what they have to say about this and where were going because i don't think anybody really, totally knows where this is going to end. again you hosted a couple conferences for your clients. anybody who wanted to come throughout the leagues and agents and scientists, what kind of reaction did you get at those conferences? also from your clients and players, what came out of it and what did you learn about the issue having done a question that. >> first volley want to thank the festival of books. to be surrounded festival of books. to be surrounded by other people who love books, what an amazing thing and mind-boggling visitation. incidentally my book is the agent of my 40 year career making changes in the game. i had a practice that profiled players and looked for role models that would retrace the roots to high school, collegiate and professional communities. in 1989, i had half the starting quarterbacks in the nfl and i
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watched troy aikman get hit in phoenix and not to the ground and blood was coming out of his ear, and he looked for a while like he had died. it petrified me. then there was a night in 1995. dallas had eaten the san francisco 49ers for the right to play in the super bowl and the whole city was celebrating. troy had suffered a concussion so i went up to his room and he was sitting there in a darkened hospital room and he looked at me and said where my? i said while you're in the hospital. he said what happened? he's i said you suffered a concussion.
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did we win the game? did i play today? yes. what does that mean? the means are going to the super bowl and his face brightened. five minutes later he looked at me and said where am i? why am i here? did we win the game? i almost thought he was joking. this went on. ten minutes later, the same sequence again. i finally broke down on wrote down on a piece of paper the answers to his concussion night questions. it terrified me and i felt responsible because of my work with athletes was designed to enhance their lives than how was a conscionable for me to enable players to do an activity that would lead to dementia, and other brain injuries. we didn't know anything. we were told by doctors over and over again and i would go to conferences, there are no long-term consequences from concussion.
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one hit doesn't lead to another, to enclose proximity don't do anything. we had brought the leading neurologist from across the country to a conference. helmet manufacturers manufacturers try to approach it different ways. i had warren moon and troy aikman and a whole series of players there. ironically, one of the players that was there now has dementia. so we issued a white paper not much changed. we we did it again in 2005, warren moon and i and the concussion institute. then we had a whole series of neurologist that had been with me on the start and they had done the studies. they they told us that three or more concussions, occasion there is
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an exponential higher risk of als, parkinson's, dementia and depression and others. i called it a to ticking time bomb and an undiagnosed health epidemic. i now believe believe any time an offensive lineman hits a defensive lineman it creates a hit. you can have them walk out after playing college football with 10,000 hits, none of which had been diagnosed, none of which he is aware of but the aggregate will most certainly do most severe brain damage than three knockout blows. so what what has changed? we do baseline testing. we have better diagnostic
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techniques, but the bottom line is that it is not healthy to rattle your brain like that. i have said that 50% of the mothers new what this concussion crisis leads to, they would tell their kids you can play any sport cannot tackle football. the social economics of football would change. it would be unpowered people who knew they were going to get brain damage. i've been working on how much we we have a new helmet to protect against skull fracture. ultimately stem cell research will help out but thank god for these two gentlemen because it was lonely for year after year and elliott pellman, who studied medicine at the university of guadalajara and was a
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rheumatologist was who the commissioner had his brain studied in research. now, i'm not a doctor but doctor but i don't think rheumatology is the brain. what this fellow told players over and over again is there is no risk from concussion. there is no long-term effects. one doesn't lead to another and that's what they told players. so when you're tempted in this to say, they knew the rest, no they didn't know the rest. they were lied to. so one last thing and then i'll shut up, you have to stick this against the culture of health denial that all athletes have.
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they are taught to ignore pain. real men don't get knocked out of the lineup. don't complain. we would've known much sooner about this if older athletes would've been honest and if they would've understood what they were suffering from. i've had players play - so if you and i say long-term health is the biggest priority and after that would come they playing a pro career and after that, the athletes turn it on its head. it's it's this play. you get athletic denial and you get young men denial about health and it's difficult. none of my athletes have been happy with the way i've spoken out and buy their book, especially if you have kids that are thinking about playing sports. >> you played in the national football league. take us inside


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