FRONTLINE Wins Peabody Award for “League of Denial”

April 2, 2014
by Patrice Taddonio Assistant Director of Audience Development

League of Denial, FRONTLINE’s investigation of the NFL’s concussion crisis, has been honored with a Peabody Award.

“Undeterred by the National Football League’s defense, FRONTLINE’s investigative team produced a solidly sourced, high-impact documentary about the extent of brain damage among players, a story still reverberating throughout the world of sports,” says today’s announcement on the Peabody Awards website.

“It’s very special to have our work receive this prestigious award,” says FRONTLINE’s Michael Kirk, League of Denial’s writer, producer and director, whose team also included Mike Wiser, Jim Gilmore, Steve Audette, Colette Neirouz Hanna  and Lauren Ezell.

League of Denial could not have been made anywhere but FRONTLINE, and would not have aired anywhere but PBS,” Kirk says. “The program continues the FRONTLINE tradition of asking hard questions about powerful institutions, and we’re grateful to the Peabody Awards for recognizing and rewarding that commitment.”

Drawing on the book League of Denial by Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada of ESPN, the film explores what the league knew — and when — about the connection between football and brain injuries.

Current and former NFL players spoke out about the film in the wake of its October 2013 premiere, and a number of viewers told FRONTLINE the film changed the way they felt about football.

“We’re very proud of this award,” says FRONTLINE founder and executive producer David Fanning. “League of Denial is a great example of the best of what FRONTLINE can do: to tell a deep and important story in all its complexity, and to make a major contribution to the national conversation.”

“We worked hard to bring the hidden story of the NFL and brain injuries to the public,” says FRONTLINE deputy executive producer Raney Aronson. “Receiving this award is enormously gratifying.”

“Week in and week out, FRONTLINE is an unparalleled investigative force, shining light on tough, complex stories that would otherwise remain untold,” says PBS chief programming executive Beth Hoppe. “We’re so delighted by this honor, and so proud of FRONTLINE’s important and ongoing commitment to powerful investigative storytelling.”

“More than anything,” Michael Kirk says, “we are glad that the film resonated with viewers and has helped to spark a national debate about a critically important issue.”

Watch League of Denial in full, for free, online, below.

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