Emails: Sony Changed Concussion to Please NFL

Studio didn't want to 'kick hornet's nest'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 2, 2015 6:01 AM CDT

Sony execs must be wondering if the fallout from last year's hack will ever end. The trailer for Concussion was released Monday, followed swiftly by reports that Sony Pictures had watered down the Will Smith drama to avoid the NFL's wrath. The movie focuses on the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, who first found the brain disease CTE in NFL players, and leaked emails show that execs discussed how to make it a whistleblower story instead of one that could appear anti-football, reports the New York Times, which notes that changes were made even though Sony doesn't have the same strong financial links to the NFL as other studios.

"We'll develop messaging with the help of NFL consultant to ensure that we are telling a dramatic story and not kicking the hornet's nest," read one email, which first surfaced on Reddit. Another email says "unflattering moments for the NFL" have been axed, and another says lawyers have taken "most of the bite" out of the movie. Director Peter Landesman tells the Times that the story wasn't compromised to please the NFL and any changes made were done to make the story richer and more accurate. Concussion comes out in December, and Josh Fox, director of anti-fracking film Gasland, tells the Daily Beast that the movie is powerful enough to end the NFL's concussion crisis, if Smith is willing to take the time to campaign for change after it's released. (Click to watch the trailer.)

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