Several parts of the film Concussion that would be considered "unflattering" for the NFL were removed.
Sony's upcoming movie Concussion may soon cause grief for the NFL, but The New York Times reports that emails revealed in the company's hacking last year say some scenes in the first draft were softened to avoid NFL protests.
The film stars Will Smith as Dr. Bennett Omalu, a neurologist who worked to connect the science behind chronic traumatic encephalopathy and the violent nature of football.
In one of the emails reported by the Times, Sony Pictures domestic marketing president Dwight Caines wrote to three top studio executives on the positioning of the movie saying:
“Will is not anti football (nor is the movie) and isn’t planning to be a spokesman for what football should be or shouldn’t be but rather is an actor taking on an exciting challenge. We’ll develop messaging with the help of N.F.L. consultant to ensure that we are telling a dramatic story and not kicking the hornet’s nest.”
A Sony Pictures spokesperson said in a statement that, "[The] New York Times article and headline, written by individuals who have not seen the film, contains many misleading inferences. As will become immediately clear to anyone actually seeing the movie, nothing with regard to this important story has been 'softened' to placate anyone.”
The film's director, Peter Landesman, discussed the film's position with the Times.
“We’re just being smart because any large corporation will design a response to something it considers to be a threat to its existence,” Landesman said. “We don’t want to give the NFL a toehold to say, ‘They are making it up,’ and damage the credibility of the movie.”
The movie is set for release in December. The NFL has declined to comment on the trailer or movie.
- Christopher Chavez