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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Is Football The New Tobacco?

How scandals could change the business of football is today's post shared from Editor’s Note: Due to rights restrictions, the online version of this segment has been edited from its original broadcast version.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Meanwhile, there’s been a new development in the Ray Rice domestic violence case. The NFL Players Union filed an appeal last night for the former Baltimore Ravens running back. He’s been suspended indefinitely by the league for punching the woman who’s now his wife.

Two other NFL players are also facing domestic violence cases. Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy played in week one, but not last weekend. Today, he was taken off the active roster while he appeals his conviction for domestic assault. And San Francisco 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald has played in both his team’s games so far.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, said today that was the wrong call. Even so, the 49ers’ Sunday night game with the Chicago Bears drew one of the largest TV audiences ever for a regular season game. Chicago won that 28-20.

What kind of threats do these stories pose to the future of the game as a business?  And is the business itself showing any cracks?

We check in with two who have a good lens onto all of this.

Gregg Easterbrook is the author of “The King of Sports: Football’s Impact on America.”  He’s a contributing editor to “The Atlantic” and a columnist for ESPN and And Andrew Zimbalist is an economist...

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