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tv   Capital News Today  CSPAN  November 23, 2009 11:00pm-2:00am EST

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eliminate sports. we must educate and properly evaluate and properly take care of those athletes. if we do that and create safety, that will encourage more use to be involved in our sports, that we're properly taking care of them and educating them. .
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but the healthy care and the health issues that exist in the nfl. commissioner, i want to thank you for having me here, and the rest of the committee, thank you for your time. >> thank you very much. i've got three questions. you referenced the uneducated parent and i am not a very sensitive person, but would you describe that uneducated parent with a little more spess fifty? >> chairman conyers, i
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absolutely would. i have a great example that happened a few weeks ago. it may have broadened the scope a bit from the uneducated parent to the uneducated coach who works on the sideline. i had a young kid named griffin who got up from a collision a little woozy. he had had some kind of head trauma. jake knows griffin. i wanted to address what was going on with griffin. i wanted to address a lot of cognitive things i am aware of now, to his name to what play we just ran to find out where his senses were, looking at his pupils. then i asked jake to talk to
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him to make sure it didn't elevate. five minutes later he ran over and said griffin is ready to go back in. i said no, he is done playing. i just wanted to make sure his systems did not elevate. then i wanted the parents to monitor him and take him to the doctor if necessary. jake could very easley be a head coach in our youth program, and he was willing to put his own brother back on the football field purely out of ignorance. i probably would have done the same thing. that is why i think standards in education would help with mistakes like that. >> my three questions are these. commissioner ghoul, -- goodell, is there a link between player professional football and the likelihood of contracting a
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brain-related injury such as dimension -- dementia, alzheimer's and others? my second question is commissioner goodell and executive director smith, will you agree today to open up your books, records, files so that we may conduct an independent examination concerning brain-related diseases? madam dr. culverhouse, how does it make you feel to see your former players suffering from the repercussions of poor choices made to prematurely put players back into the game after injuries? >> chairman, let me address your first question. you are obviously seeing a lot of data and information that
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our committees and others have presented with respect to the linkage. the medical experts should be the ones to continue that debate. our bottom line is we are not waiting for that debate to continue. we want to make sure our game is safe, and we are doing everything we can for our players now. that is why we have encombaged in aggressively making changes to our game. we have done some of the things that have been discussed here on a variety of levels. let's start with the fact that we have made significant rule changes to our game. five rule changes this year alone have been made that i think are improving the safety and welfare of our players. they have had a positive impact in the short term they have been in place, and we will continue, as we have done every year, to evaluate rule changes to make our game safer. many of those changes this year were specific to head injuries and making sure that we take
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certain techniques out of the game that can be unsafe for our players both in the short term and potentially in the long-term. we have also engaged aggressively on education. we have worked with the players association, with our medical doctors, to create information that we can share with our players and also with players at other levels. it is an important responsibility. >> well, you have testified to that. i just asked you a simple question. what is the answer? >> the answer is the medical experts are -- would know better than i would. we are not delaying anything that we do. we are reinforcing our commitment to make sure we have the safest possible field. >> i have heard. dr. cantu? >> sir, in the world of literature, chronic inreceive lopeath is reported in boxers and reported at a younger age
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in boxers because they probably take more head trauma than any other sport. but it is not confined to boxers. obviously we are here today because of the same entity due to head trauma in the central. it has been reported in soccer players, it has been reported in rugby, in individuals that have head-banging disorders. it has been reported in a clown that got shot out of a cannon in a circus. so yes, i think there is cause and effect. it is not unique to the nfl though. >> commissioner goodell and director smith, will you let us see the records? >> the answer to that question is absolutely yes. we first discussed this between the nfl and the nfl-pa last
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spring. we are going to make all medical records available to them and we will do so to the committee. >> yes, sir, of course well. >> thank you. dr. culverhouse? >> as one could imagine, my children were involved in football early on. i had a child born in 1972, 1973 and 1974. they went wie me to games. they developed favorite players, players that took the time to give a hand shake to my son, or give my daughter a ride on his shoulders. in january i learned that one of those players who had stayed in tampa and started a successful business was dead. batman wood, my son's favorite players because he wore bats on
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his knees, elbows and shoulders, was getting lost trying to drive home from starbucks. i met with batman and heard about his story and asked him about another player that we had really liked, and he said j. eckwood is really bad. i said i have to find him because i need to help him. the same thing with scott brantly, a former gator. scott brantly is in big trouble now. he said to me this morning as i was coming over here, he said gay, you have always been a rebel, but you are a rebel with a cause. make them hear that we are hurt. make them hear that we can't fill out all of their forms. we can't do it. our mental capacity isn't there
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to answer the questions on the phone and fill out the forms. they are missing those of us that are severely disabled. so what i am doing with randy grimes and a number of my players is i am filling out the forms. i am going through the networks for them to access the benefits that they may be entitled to, which are not enough to sustain them monetarily. they are not enough. $5,000 for a hip replacement is not enough. i just had my knee done. i can tell you that for a big fact. but we've got to get proactive for these players. so i am going to little rock, arkansas, to find jerry he could -- eckwad to take him to the doctor myself. i don't want to read about another one of my players is
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december. this isn't working for me. >> our ranking member, lamar smith. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to address my first question to mr. goodell, dr. fisher and mr. martin. i know you all will come at the answer from different perspectives. mr. goodell, you may want to address ways that you and the players association can cooperate, or new rules that might come up. dr. tucker, you might address ee equipment. mr. martin you may have hoot your own experience. we have discussed a lot today about problems. we have discussed a lot about past actions that have been taken. my question is what future actions should we take? what are the next steps to advance our understanding of the problem of head injuries, to try to improve treatment and to try to increase prevention of these head injuries?
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even though you have different perspectives, if you will talk about the future as opposed to the present or the past. >> let me try to address that without repeating a lot of the testimony. we have to continue to support this research and put more and more into this research so that we can find out exactly what are the medical facts. that is first, and we will continue to do that. the second thing we have to do is continue to prevent these injuries in the best way we can. that is rule changes that we have instituted that are making a difference. secondly, because of the research we have done, we have made some very important changes to the equipment, particularly in the helmets and chin strams. -- chin straps. these are important issues in making the game safer. the other issue is education. for every player at every level in every sport is to make sure
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they are aware of the issues when you have a concussion. it is a serious injury, and you have to take it seriously and get medical care. >> thank you, mr. goodell. dr. tucker? >> at the risk of repeating some of the testimony, i will speak a little more specifically to equipment. we have made mention that research has shown that at least concussion that is occur in the nfl occur from blows to the side of the helmet and face mask. the helmet manufacturers have responded with change. the new helmets have that have rolled out test better in the laboratory. so we are optimistic that the forces being imparted to the brain are showing that they are decreased compared to the older helmets. it won't eliminate concussions, but if we can decrease the risk, we will feel good about that. it will take more time, more
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study, and more meticulous tracking of these injuries, which we have been doing for a lot of years, to figure out whether the new helmets actually decrease the risk or occurrence of concussion in the nfl. over the last two years the number of concussions diagnosed and recorded have actually dropped slightly, but i wouldn't make much of that. it is premature to say. >> thank you. mr. martin, any practical advice you have for us? >> yes, sir. i am optimistic in this new spirit of cooperation that we can all come together with a unique plan to address many of these serious issues. but the three points that i am concerned about particularly as it relates to a lot of the so-called heroes or constituents, we must determine and identify where they are. a lot of them value their
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anonymity. we want to make sure we have identified and embrace them. and we want to make sure the splinter or faction grooms are working for the same goal, to ensure these are not isolated incidents, and we can address them collectively. i am encouraged with this new platform we have. that is the message i am going to take from here. >> how many touchdowns did you score on interceptions or fumbles. >> i held the record for most touchdowns by a defensive line, which was seven. however, i have one touchdown as an offensive lineman, which would make it eight. >> we will correct the record. >> so it is eight, sir. >> there is a university of
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michigan. how is your study misrepresented, and what impact has that head on the testimony? >> it has been misrepresented to the extent that it as been asserted there is a certainty that there is an elevated risk based on our study, which i don't believe there is. what harm? it focuses more on safety, and where is the arm in that? we have an epidemic of obesity in children. do we want to tell prospective junior athletes that there is a 19-1 risk of dementia if you participate in the sport. that would be my main concern, that we are possibly frightening people away from healthy participation in sports.
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>> thank you. the member from north carolina. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me thank the chairman for convening this hearing. it has been very enlightening. i especially want to express my thanks to the last two witness, the former players in the nfl, for the very balanced approach that they brought to their testimony. maybe i could get mr. smith to cut his microphone off over there? thank you. i am also a big nfl football fan and certainly observed the change that has taken place in attitude about this issue.
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i am a big carolina panther fan and observed the dante wesley hit that got him suspended and knew in my own mind that several years ago the response to that would have been a 15-yard penalty, and that would have been the end of it. so i understand that there is a change of attitude taking place here. the one thing that i try to discern out of hearings of this kind is what kind of public policy direction we might take. so i'm extremely pierre tiff to the last two witnesses for their balance on that, because after all these years, we still haven't taken any steps to outlaw or ban boxing, and i
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don't think we are likely to take any steps to outlaw or ban football. so we have to look at what the possible adjustments are short of that, that may be made either within the sport or from a public policy perspective. the one thing that i kept wondering about throughout the testimony, particularly mr. goodell, dr. culver house, mr. martin in particular, there seem to be financial incentives that discourage athletes from being honest about their own condition even if they are
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capable of discerning their own conditioning. all of the counter precious are there for them to get back into the game -- counter pressures are there for them to get back into the game because there are financial incentives associated with that. is there a policy in place already in the nfl, or is there some kind of policy that you all might be able to think of that would minimize or eliminate that financial incentive by assuring that a person who is diagnosed with a concussion and has to miss a game as a result of the standards that i think mr. martin or merrill outlined --
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is there some way to build a contract necessity that would shield those players against the consequences of the medical conditions that they incur? mr. goodell, mrs. culverhouse, and i would be particularly interested, mr. martin, in your response to that? >> well, i would be happy to start. first off, you do identify an issue. self reporting of concussions has been an issue. i think by the education we have jointly done with the players association and the player's advisory commission -- >> you are evading the question, mr. goodell. i asked you about contracts. >> let me address that directly then on the contracts. if a player misses a game
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because of a concussion, he still gets paid. >> but there are financial  consequences at the end of the contract, the incentives compensation for games played, that there are economic consequence that is flow from that. is there a way to protect against that? >> there may be some incentive contracts that would be hindered by that depending on the length of time that the player was out. it would be something we would have to discuss with the players association and try to see if there is a way to address that. >> mr. martin and dr. culverhouse, and my time is expired, to i won't interrupt you in your response? >> i will take a stab at it. i'm not quite sure i have the answer to it, but i appreciate the question. i don't know if you can do that
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with an athlete because of his predepending to want to go out and perform. i'm not sure how you protect his financial incentive to want to go out and perform in light of being injure aopposed to disincentivizing him because of the injury. >> it would be very difficult for the nfl to mandate to the owners how to structure their contracts. that would be a difficult thing . i can tell you that owners are like a bunch of mavericks, and it would be very difficult to mandate to them how to have their players play, because incentive bonuses are the way you get those players back in the game, and you win. this is a business. it is a blanking cutthrow business. the bottom line is making money. if their players ain't playing,
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and the team is losing, that is the bottom line. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have gone over, and i yield back. >> senior member, bob goodlet. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to direct my questions primarily to mr. goodell and also to mr. smith. it regards, first of all, the problem that has been very well described by everyone on this panel today in terms of the risk of these head injuries and the fact that this is something that starts becoming a problem at a very young age in junior high school, high school, up through college and long before they get to the nfl. there are a number of good ideas that have been expressed. mr. hodge had some very good ideas regarding nuregal exs and with regard to -- neurological
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exangeses. >> one of the problems is getting the information out. i'm not sure that given the wide variety and changing opinions that this is suitable for legislation from the congress. but i'm wondering, does the nfl during games use public service announcements, for example, to educate young people and their parents about the risks of head injuries and things that could be done on a practical basis to avoid them in little league play and in high school, and so on? >> the answer to that question is i believe we have used public service time. we could probably use more on this. but i would tell you that the most important thing is we set
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the example on the nfl field. we saw this this past monday night when we had brian westbrook, a player go down in the game with a concussion. he was taken off the field and did not come back to the game, and it was done in a cautionary and conservative way. we will look at the idea of whether we can give more public service time. >> i millsed that play. did it involve a -- missed that play. did it involve a play that required a penalty or some other action on the part of the referees to indicate that this injury was sustained because of inappropriate activity? >> it wasn't inappropriate activity. it was a knee that hit to the back of a player, which happens in our game and in our sports. >> i wonder if you would review the policy you have. i see many public service announcements that promote various things on the
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broadcasts of professional sports, and you could work with the broadcast companies to promote greater information, just promoting the very ideas that mr. hodge promoted. mr. smith, i wonder what you think about that, but also what involvement the players association has in getting that kind of information out to young people and their parents? do you favor having greater contractual requirements for the players to actually get out whether voluntarily or as a part of their contract, be more engaged in communities around the country to promote this kind of safety? >> congressman, our players are doing that right now. i think to answer your question succinctly, there are four or five things we can actually do, and i'm proud to say we are doing. our players in the national football league i believe should be the model. i think that commissioner goodell is right. we have an obligation to set
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the standard. that standard is the standard that will be followed in college, it will be followed in high school, and it will be a role model for youth football. both of us are vitally involved in the u.s. football movement. we use that vehicle to not only encourage youngsters to play football, but to do it safely. third, our players are also a number of the individuals who end up being coaches not only in the national football league, but coaches on the college level, coaches on the high school level, and as merrill indicated earlier, coaches on the youth football level. so having our players understand and embrace all of the information to make safe choices is yet another way in addition to p.s.a.'s that we can get the message out. lastly, we do a tremendous amount of work on the players association to get players appreciate -- to appreciate the
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best and the right helmets to wear. we believe that if we advise the players and give them all of the information, the most up to date information, urge them to wear those helmets, that is yet another way that we serve to set the right example and to get the information out to the people you mentioned >> thank you. it sounds like both of you are very committed to trying to reduce these injuries not only within the nfl, but in the sport of football at large, and i think getting that information down to particularly the parents and coaches at the high school level and college level is very, very important. i think you could both use more resources than are devoted it it now to play a major role in that since you are the ultimate beneficiaries of that entire system that find and recruit the finest football players, gets them in the nfl and gives them the opportunity they have and that all americans have to
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enjoy professional football. wouldn't it be the best path forward for the nfl itself or private parties to come up with sluges? are either of you arguing that congress should be making that decision, and if so, why? >> we are not arguing that. we have pushed research and education. we have made changes to our game and equipment. we have made significant changes which i am happy to put into the record with respect to the management of concussions. i think we are doing a terrific job and a much better job, much improved job, of conservatively treating concussions and managing them when they occur, so we don't have incidents like merrill hodge spoke about before. i think we are doing a job that is important because these are serious injuries, and we need to continue to make advances. >> congressman, we don't believe that legislation is the only answer. one thing that we all know just by all of us being brought here
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today is this great body not only can spark public debate and serve to inform to better the lives of everybody through legislation, but also by having these hearings. we have talked a lot today about a university of michigan study, but one of the things that will be entered into the record is the fact that over the last 10 years, there have been hundreds of studies on this issue that have talked about the links between on-field head trauma and the early onset of a number of mental illnesses. so while we are here perhaps because of the recent articles and the news that has come out about a number of players, the reality is that over the last 10 years there has been study, after study, after study, after study. i do believe, to go back to your earlier point, how do we do a we are job? it is to understand and embrace these studies as being game changers and player safety, and getting that information out to
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all of the -- not only the kids who will play football from youth football going forward, but to the coaches and to the parents who gladly have their kids be involved in physical activity. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. before i recognize maxine waters, we are pleased to appreciate the presence of jim brown of the cleveland browns in the room. thank you for joining us, jim. >> thank you. >> the distinguished gentlelady from california, maxine waters. >> thank you, mr. chairman and members. before i raise a few questions, i would like to submit forward full disclosure of my husband's affiliation with the national football league, having previously played for at least three teams, the cleveland
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brounls with the great jim brown, pittsburgh and the washington redskins. so i do have intimate knowledge based on my interaction with a number of players and owners about the nfl. georgia was a very close friend, and john shaw, who is president of the rams, and chip, the new owner, our friends. however, having said that, i remained extremely concerned about the polite -- plight of football players, particularly some of the older ones who worked and played when times were even a lot more difficult for players. let me just ask mr. goodell. in an october of 2009 issue of
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q.g., we were told the story of mike webster, the legendary center for the steelers. at the height of his career, mike webster was publicly revered as an unstoppable tight and and formidable force in the league. yet shortly before his death in 2002 at the age of 50, he spent his latter years homeless, suffering from dementia, while in a contention legal battle with the very organization that made him a legend. they called it a battle against a multibillion-dollar industry that seemed to have used mike webster, allowed him to be destroyed and then threw him away like a rotten piece of meat. i bring up his case because he had dementia which obviously associated with the years he played. why could he not get taken care of by the nfl? >> well, congresswoman, this
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was before my time as commissioner. i will say -- and i'm happy to say -- in our current state right now, he would be eligible to participate in our a.d.a. plan and would get the benefits of the a.d.a. plan regardless of whether that was caused by playing in the game. >> how many players do you have out there who are suffering now or have suffered from dementia or from our injures related to playing football that have not been taken care of because of the benefits packages of the past? for example, i think you changed it, but i don't know. those people who took early retirement were not eligible for disability. did you change that? >> yes, we do. we opened a window to allow them to come in and get those benefits. we opened that window about a six-month period. >> we know that the nfl and the nfl players association are currently renegotiating their collective bargaining agreement. what are you doing in this
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bargaining that you are involved in now that will deal with the very issue that we are talking about related to brain injuries and dementia, alzheimer's alzheimer's and all the other things relate todd this kind of injury. what are you negotiating that will better recognize the injuries and how you are going to take care of them and their families? >> let me take the first start at it, and d. can contribute to it. i think both of us have identified that the plight of our retired players -- >> i can't hear you. >> both of us have identified -- i believe there is on. both of us have identified in the collective bargaining process that this is a prior for the players and owners to take better care of them. we conducted a survey which may have been one of the impetus
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for this hearing, was to identify the priority that our players need to have addressed. there are multiple issues that need to be addressed. spl of them are medical, some of them are financial >> -- i would like to take back my time. i appreciate where you are going. we have heard from the nfl time and again. you are always stud igor, you are trying. you are hopeful. i want to know what are you doing in the negotiations that are going on now to deal with it this problem and the other problems that are related to injuries that football players obtain and its impact on their health later on? >> well, again, we are in the very early stages of negotiations, but i believe that we will be addressing these matters in a responsible fashion. we will be able to come back before you at some point and say we have addressed these in a way that is responsible. >> mr. chairman, i appreciate
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the opportunity for the hearing. i know my time is drawing to a close, but let me say this to mr. goodell and everybody who is here today. i think it is time for the congress of the united states to take a look at your anti-trust exemption. i think you are an $8 billion organization who has not taken seriously your responsibility to the players. the fact of the matter is, yes, people want to play. the fact of the matter is they are going to be injured. and we know no matter what kind of helmet you build or what kind of equipment you have, it is a dangerous sport, and people are going to be injured. the only question is what are you going to do? are you going to pay for it? are you going to pay the injured players and their families for the injures that they have received in helping you to be a
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multi-billion-dollar operation? that is the only question. i know that you do everything that you possibly can to hold on to those profits, but i think the responsibility of this congress is to take a look at that anti--trust exemption that you have. in my estimation, take it away. i yield back the balance of my time. >> i thank the gentlewoman for her modest suggestions. [laughter] the chair recognizes howard from north carolina. >> thank you, mr. chairman. what does the alumni association have to say to active pro, college and high school players about the importance of early and completely presenting to team physicians any sims that may have been called by
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concussions? players are probably reluctant to do it for fear of maybe losing a college scholarship or losing a lucrative pro contract. what do you say to that, mr. martin? >> thank you very much for the question, sir. first of all i would say that one of the major activities that alumni athletes have is going back in the community and giving back. we position ours as examples pro and con, good and bad, and we have a platform that we take very seriously. it is my job and will be my responsibility to make sure that that is enhanced particularly as we are addressing these very serious issues. the problem and the challenge we have is disseminating this information among a wide grouping of constituents, and a lot of our members don't have this information. i think it is vital that they receive it. once we obtain that information, we have to be ambassadors to go back, as i
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said in my earlier point, to make sure there isn't a propensity of these things happening down the line. that is our charge. >> i'm glad to heavy you say that. in a recent "new york times" piece concerning concussions, a former quarterback is quoted to say they are legislating hitting out of the game. we have had the same sort of comments from retired players echoing the same sentiment during television coverage of games. this suggests, it seems to me, that some of the retired players are concerned that the game is not tough enough any more as a result of the rules made to hopefully protect players. how do you respond to that, mr. smith? >> congressman, last weekend i met with the 40 pf person congress who represents retired
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players. they talk about the toughness of the game, but they also talk about the life-long injuries that they sustained, the loss of their ability to keep a train of thought. when you talk to the chair of the wives organization, they will tell you a story about players who are unable to move on mondays and tuesdays. when i watched brian daunte culpepper ins walk down the steps -- on a monday afternoon, and while i shook his hand and went to embrace him, he put up his hand and say hey. well, i don't think there is anyone who plays football today who doesn't believe this is a very, very tough, tough game. no, we are not looking to legislate hitting out of the game. but in the same way this congress has stepped in historically, whether it was
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the increase increase almost 40 years ago, -- ncaa almost 40 years ago or other sports to ensure the safety of the players, this body works, where you ask us tough questions, where we put forth information. but i do believe that this congress, this body, does have a role in making sure that the people who play this game on the professional level all the way down to the peewee football level are doing so safely. >> thank you, mr. smith. >> thank you. >> doctor, as your second study proceeds, what other research would you like to see performed to help better understand why, if at all, football head injuries cause long-term neurological impairments in the players affected? >> as best i understand it, the study underway should shed
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interesting light on the progression of head injury cases. i think it is actually o great importance to compare college athletes and professional athletes to those who did not participate to look at the risk of each of those levels independently. that will probably require a larger study than that. there have been some criticisms of that studies because it is being conducted directly under the auspiceses of the league. that could be remedied by an independent board. it would be a shame if that research ended up having no value because it was simply not considered credible. i suspect it will have great value. that is the kind of study we need, long-term follow up of people. >> thank you, dr. we're. i see the red light has illuminated. i yield back. >> thank you, sir. the chair recognizes the
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distinguished gentle-woman from houston, texas, sheila jackson lee. >> thing thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you for this brilliant hearing. i would like to acknowledge, roger, that both you and maurice make a good pair. you should look at yourselves as part of the 21st century nfl. i wanted to make mention of a meeting that i had this morning with nfl hall of famer jim brown. we talked about the value of the nfl, the value of the players particularly today. we talked about the raging violence among our communities and young men. you have been with me, and we have addressed these questions. we have acknowledged the fact that the nfl is respected and admired. the young men that are a part of this great family that you have can be wonderful role models. and of course mr. brown is aware of the dire need of mentorship and manhood
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training. he was in the room today, and we talked about the idea that i shared with the attorney general recently that tracks mr. brown's program, but it is to build a partnership with the nfl and our government on this whole question of violence, and in particular young african-american men, young men, to create a new revolution in mentoring, to have nfl players out across america in these schools and addressing the questions of manhood, and how do you be in essence a manned-up man, but also a compassionate caring person that does not take up the gun. all of our young people admire you, and i wanted to pay tribute for jim brown and thank him. i am going to ask a very quick question to mr. goodell. would you work with us to implement a program that i would like to start with the
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d.o.j. and others on this question of violence among our young people? >> congresswoman, yes, we would. as i said earlier in the testimony, we believe we set the standard on the nfl level, that our players do on and off the field. i have spoken to mr. brown about the work he is doing, and i encourage it. and i would welcome the opportunity. >> the full disclosure, and this separates from the questioning, this would be different from what you traditionally do. mr. smith, would we be able to work with you on this issue? >> absolutely. i am always happy to work with the attorney general and with you as we have done in the past. we have challenged our players to not only be good players, but to be good men in our community. >> this would be not an existing program, but we are talking about a whole new approach. >> absolutely. >> so i look forward to that issue. that leads me to why i am here questioning today, because i want these young men to have completely vibrant lives into
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their middle ages and older ages. i thank jim brown for staying in the room, and we acknowledge you and thank you for sharing your great leadership. thank you so very much. my questioning is in his name but also in the name of earl campbell, my champion, my tyler rose, among the many others who have come out of the colleges in texas. let me say keep on coming. i do believe it is important, and my colleague made an important point. we do not do this in anger. we do not do this in the need to undermine a great organization. frankly, many will say you are america's pastime. the great interest of who bought the st. louis rams was not about trying to deny capitalism. it was to have you have the right image, the right attitude. that is why some of us expressed our opposition to who might be buying the rams. these are my questions, to mr. goodell in particular. how does a former nfl player
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qualify for the league's pension plan and disability plan? it is my understanding that the football player does not qualify for the pension plan until they have play for four seasons? however the average span of an nfl career is 3.6 years. considering these physician, it appears that the substantial amount of players are not eligible for the benefits that the league does offer. does a disability benefits plan operate under the same way? do they have to play four years? >> it is three years. >> they have to play three years. >> they have to play three years, and they only stay for 3.6. mr. smith, could you imagine there are injuries prior to three years? >> there are. there are people who do suffer those injuries. there are people who suffer significant injuries prior to their third year second game. >> so in actuality, this legislation as we look at it,
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and the idea of the anti-trust exemption, which many of us are looking to consider as a way of helping the nfl, are you suggesting that this kind of effort is very important to saving lives and saving future quality of lives? >> i think anything we can do to take a look at all of the information to make reasoned decisions based upon that information so that we can aid mauer players who play this game, any step in that direction is good. >> mr. kolb, -- could you tell us again about the nfl players who couldn't film out the forms? give us that detail again, please? >> yes. i have surd a concussion. i actually had a brain sheer and could not access words for
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two years. that was one concussion. you can imagine players who have sustained players who have sustained repeated concussions. they are now in their 40's and 50's. you look at ream's of paper bourque. the print is so small, i have trouble with my glasses. they look at it, and they say gay, i don't remember what year, what game, what date. i don't remember that. and then they look at all of it, and they say is it worth it? what am i gooding to get? what am i going to get at the end of all of this? and they would much rather go home, take a pain pill and lay on the sofa. it is downtowning, and there are no advocates to help them filth paperwork out. it is almost as though if you have the intelligence to jump through those hoops, you're not disabled. >> mr. chairman as i see the red light, let me say this.
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we are the help in this room. we are not the funnishers, but we are the helpers. frankly, if we do need this extra hammer, which sounds negative, sounds punitive, i believe these young men, and i believe the nfl, for what it has become to america, warrants the participation of this body, warrants a review, whether it is a question of the anti-trust issue. mr. goodell, we are friends, but about he must save lives. we must do that now. mr. chairman, i count myself as a friend of this great sport. i am from texas, and boy, are we wedded to you. but we want our young people to lib with a good quality of life, come back from the nfl and share their stories. i look forward to being in touch with both your offices on this issue. mr. chairman, thank you for the time. >> thank you. the chair recognizeds the
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distinguished gentlemen from california. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let's not fool ourselves. football is controlled violence. that is the nature of the game. you don't have to play in the nfl to get hurt. i have had five knee surgery, a new hip and i didn't even play varsity at notre dame. the question is, is the violence controlled? teddy roosevelt saved football at the beginning of the last century. things such as the flying wedge were allowed, and players died. the question is whether they were going to outlaw this game in the united states. teddy rose velts brought the leaders of the -- roosevelt brought the leaders of universities here and said get your act together. this hearing serves a very good
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purpose. i would like to concentrate on two things. one is education. the other is on-the-field enforcement. players have a responsibility to do the right thing. we had a quarterback for the redskins not long ago who head-butted a wall before a game and gave himself a concussion. we see players head-butting one another in celebration today. that is just nuts. there is peer pressure that needs to be utilized with information that the commissioner's office and the owners and the players association can give. i mean it is not macho to be head-butting one another before the game, for goodness sakes. so education is extremely important based on scientific information, i have no doubt about that. but part of that, and this was in a briefing we had with the
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nfl earlier. a couple of days ago i asked do you have any control over your commentators? the answer was no. but do you educate your accomodate norse -- commentators so that they don't make stupid statements about the plays on the field that will encourage that kind of conduct, maybe not by the players in the nfl, but by the kids watching? so i would hope that education would be an important part of whatever you do. both the players, the commissioner's office and the owners. the other thing is on-the-field enforcement. we have had changes in rules. i'm old enough to remember jack tatum. i'm old enough to remember the cover story of "sports illustrated" where he was called the assassin, and where he talked about trying to hit a player hard enough in the head that he hoped he would drool
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while he was playing there on the field. nobody spoke out against that in those days. that was the norm or the bar you wanted to achieve. i nova we have gone in a different direction sips then, but we need to go even further. tim tebow, probably the most famous college football player there is today, suffered a major concussion, and he was playing the next week. i don't think that met merrill hodge's standard of seven days. i wonder about the story. i know there are doctors involved. i attended a game at my alma mater two weeks ago, and i saw a head hunter on the field that tore a helmet off a player, and he was left dazed. no penalty. the next week that team played in the l.a. coliseum. that symptom player did the same thing to a player from
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oregon or oregon state. no penalty. he tore his helmet off. he is the second guy hitting him, two weeks in a row. no penalty. what the pack 10 has just done is suspended the official for not calling a penalty. no penalty on the player. i realize that is college, not pro. but i would say, without talking about that particular instance, mr. martin, what message would that send to the team or to the players if two weeks in a row -- i will take it away from that circumstance. two weeks in a row a player did something which really went after a defenseless player, and no call is made on that player two weeks in a row? what message does that deliver to the team and to the players? >> first of all, from my humble opinion, and thank you for the question, not only does it send the wrong mental to the player
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himself, but the institution and the coach. i know from a structured point of view in the nfl, those situations would not happen. but i think there has to be a point where the players themselves through education -- which i think is vitally important -- the player has to realize it is incumbent on him to conduct himself as a member of that organization. i am from the old school and from the yesterday spirl of the nfl. i have taken my responsibility of giving back to the community and my obligation to my teammates very seriously. i think that is one of the reasons why i now head this post. i would like to see more of that conscience yussness in this. >> mr. goodell, i have to say this. when that play has been shown, the ones i refer to, the commentators almost always say and this person will be a first round draft choice of the nfl
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because he's the kind of guy they are looking for. i just want to tell you -- i know it is not your responsibility, but that message seeps down to kids, and kids see that, and these are their heroes. and if that message gets out that that is allowed on the playing field, frankly, you will have more assassins out there and more kids hurt. i don't think we can stand to allow that to occur. with the knowledge we have now gained from the medical community which we did not have before. so i hope -- i am taking in good faith what you have said, what mr. smith has said, what the doctors have said. i truly hope you are taking this more seriously because the tragedy of the nfl players that have suffered dementia is a tragedy, or any player who has, but i'm thinking about the kids coming up. and i hope that you folks are genuine in what you are telling us here today. >> thank you.
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we have two judiciary suspension bills on the floor right now which requires that we declare a recess. we will have lunch, et cetera, and we will resume after a series of votes as early as we can. it will be about an hour or half an hour -- probably 45 minutes to an hour. the committee stands in recess. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] . .
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>> i had made some notes. now i am fumbling for them. this has been very informative. it's one person still with us? i figured he had left.
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maybe somebody on the panel can answer this question. it is a medical question. the term c.t.e. and what i have read has the information -- the research has come from a result of autopsies. is there a technology now that exists that allows for the diagnosis for the determination of c.t.e. in a young male that is alive?
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>> some of these doctors will be able to answer that better. it is not easy or simple to make a diagnosis of this from an imaging steady right now. certainly, there are mri changes associated with dementia-related diseases. related to the question you asked, my answer would be no, but i would defer -- >> i understand this is a second panel. the purpose of this question is the leak itself. that is the standard. in terms of young people, it is
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not just about the nfl. this hearing goes beyond that. there are some 3 million participants in a youth football today. that excludes the universal -- young men playing in college and at the high-school level. what we have is not just players in the nfl but thousands of young males participating in football in this country. it is because of the popularity of the nfl. my question is if it were to be -- if there were a diagnostic
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test to determine whether this was present in young people as they were playing the sport would serve as an early-warning of a potential problem and inform those personnel or coaches or athletic directors that to this young man should not be participating in a sport with a. until for a concussion when occur. with that diagnostic tool not existing, it might be incumbent upon upon congress working with the administration to examine the feasibility of providing funding through nih or some other relevant appropriate agency to do so real serious work to do so said that we do not have a young people out
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there playing when they should not be. i think as parents we would feel more comfortable because the stories that have been related to the committee by this panel -- get it. your testimony was very evident with concern for your players. i am sure you consider it as a part of your extended family. thousands and tens of thousands really demand and in answer about this issue. the nfl was here today because this committee has an anti-trust jurisdiction. we need to be responding to this issue.
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that was my main question. why don't i conclude with this. this will be done on the second panel. -- we were on the same field altogether. i appreciate that. i want to remind people here that there were some injuries of people carried off the field. this comes at a timely fashion. as i listen to members of this committee discussed this, i note
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that one person says she is concerned that owners need the right image. her opposition festive you might be buying the st. los rams, the owners may not have the right image prepared we know cushiest talking about. that is rush limbaugh. i would like to ask the commissioner this question, your position on owners having the right image. one person said i think it is debose of commons. -- did this of -- divisive comments. you have a couple of owners that have performed liver if and songs that are far more offensive. i do not think anything that rush limbaugh said was offensive.
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but jennifer lopez and s and others have used derogatory with words in their lyrics and are owners of the miami dolphins. the statement that was made with that it seems to be surviving the criticism. we have some social concerns in the nfl. the media is interested in black coaches doing well. a lot of critics. i am trying to find a " that can be implied as racism on the part of rush limbaugh. i cannot find it. that is the only quotation the scenes to survive the scrutiny -- of the quotations alleged to
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rush limbaugh are complete fabrications. the one that remains the stands true and shined a light against the media not against rush limbaugh. if you are concerned about this, i would ask you if you are prepared to level the same charges or prepared to apologize to rush limbaugh today? >> the comments he made were specifically about donovan nab.
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the comments of the nfl are about bringing people together. our teams have demonstrated that both on and off the field. nothing brings the community better than the nfl. >> were you considering the other quotations i mentioned? what about the one i read to you that does not shine a light on rush limbaugh but on the media? >> i am not an expert on all of these quotes. he was not under consideration at one time. we stated this several times before that we had not started a process under review. he had not been determined to sell the st. louis rams. >> he said the comments the rush limbaugh made against donovan if
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nab -- >> he is an outstanding young man and young quarterback. >> of 1 to close with this. here is the disposition of rush limbaugh. there is nothing there that would undermine this. >he says my views are that every human being is treated as precious without regard to their race. i ask you to go back and take a look at the owners of the dolphins and the language that is in the public songs they have recorded. i can provide some of those lyrics to you. i wonder if you look at the same scrutiny on those owners. the way that you are doing it on an rush limbaugh.
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>> the hearing will now turn to the gentleman from new york. our member was recently displayed just a few days ago. i would now turn to mr. steve callahan id: -- cohen and the gentleman from tennessee is recognized. >> thank you. the game monday night that was here, there was a running back from the eagles, who was
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injured. as i understand it, he had a great free concussion which is the maximum grade. the coach had reportedly said that he is counting on west work to be back on the field sunday against the giants. that does not sound like he is looking out for the most careful approach to his concussion. do you think those comments are appropriate? it sounds like they are putting a burden on him to rise to the occasion? >> i have not seen the ". these are medical decisions that must be made by medical professionals. i guess he has medical advice as to how he is responding to the injury. he is under very strict in
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careful medical attention. the doctors have given an indication that he should be able to play. >> the doctors are the team's doctors. they are counting on him. they have to get 3 yards. first third and goal. >> when he is 60 years old, he may have thought that it was done a good for him to be there. >> i would offer to you that our doctors do not work for the coaches. in most cases, they do not work for the teams. they work for other institutions and other well- known medical institutions. they do this as part of their
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representation of that or they are doing that because this is in addition to their other private practices. somebody finds the check and chooses those, who are they going to pick? don't you think it would be nice to have an independent panel in these circumstances where the panel is looking to play? >> medical professionals said it was ok for mohammad ali to fight larry holmes. he did it for the money. i just think you have to look out for the players. one doctor should be commended. she has great love for her
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players. what do you think? >> absolutely not. there is no way. i have suffered a concussion, i have watched my players suffer a concussion. i have talked to my players about their concussions. there is no way that planner should be back on the field within seven days of that kind of injury. there is no way. >> is there a system where there could be a three-member group that the ama could work with you? >> absolutely. that is what i have mentioned earlier. if you have an independent neurologist, you only need one that would work for both teams as independent evaluator.
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these players -- we grew up with a trust for our doctors. even if they said something we did not want to hear, we trusted them. these players trust their college doctors. all of the sudden, their doctors are shooting them up in the locker room before they go out to play so they can make the score so they can block. at halftime, the of putin cups -- putin ting cuffs. the player is being looked after by a coach as allied whose goal is to get the player back on the field and make that score.
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where are the other owners? are there other owners that have the same feeling that you have about your players and spoke out on this issue? >> not to my knowledge. i am a rebel with a cause. this person is representing every owner in the nfl. if he is not saying what he wanted to say, he would be replaced. >> thank you. >> i appreciate all of the witnesses being here.
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>> i know about having the contact you had with congress -- was there something in mind you had fifth congress-have? >> the nfl players. >> i took it that you would want -- look at the nfl and the players. i think that holding this hearing today both in this instance and historically this
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great body shines not only the light that comes from asking tough questions of people brought before this committee but also to bring it out to the public in general. when congress asked a question and ask to come forward and present information, that is a good thing for the national football league. >> when i say the nfl as an outsider, the players, everybody, owners, managers, coaches, it is nice when you work together. i appreciate your compassion for the players and all to owners
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and players and nfl people need to be told what to do >> absolutely. >> what if we decide we do not want you as an honor any more, fine with me. it's someone honest and straightforward that cares about the players. >> it seems to depend on who is in office. when the white house or leaders in congress get upset with the industry and threaten them, they are willing to retaliate -- retaliate in do something like that.
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some might say it is important to make sure that everybody plays fair. there is a level playing field. make sure that the players and the owners have a level playing field in which to meet and work things out that benefit the entire nfl. when congress steps in, it seems that we do not make things better, we create more problems. in view of the way things have gone lately, it seems like perhaps a solution that some in congress might come up with would be to give people more choices given a federal public auction, green bay has an option where we have government teams -- if we had government-
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run teams, perhaps the tampa bay, st. louis, tenn. would have some winds under their belts said take it as somebody to beat up on. that is my concern. so often when we come in sometimes we make it even worse. >> you have not been in congress. >> hope bring eternal in my world. , that is why i am still here. to be a player not a referee and make sure everyone is playing fairly. that is the only time we should step in. we get too involved in the industry, if i had known what
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you were going to do, i never would ask congress to do anything, please keep that in mind when you ask for anything, it may come out with something you never have dreamed. i appreciate everything. >> thank you. >> i believe he is ahead of me in line. what are you talking about?
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i am delighted to recognize the starting player representing the congress from new york. >> i want to recognize this player from florida who played tight end. an offensive line that did a great job. i want to thank you. who is this doctor? >> here is a doctor that serves on our committee. is he an employer of yours? correct he is not an employee of the nfl.
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if we asked him to participate in this hearing, and we ask your help, did you ask him to be here, and he said no? >> i did not get involved in that. >> the record should show allen schwartz at the time has been driving the issue -- a recent expos said that he published went into the credibility of the story. three points of contention
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emerge from his investigation. any of the nfl supported in funded research will lack a basic level of independence. some of the statements that have been made on behalf of the nfl put a cloud over whatever research might show. a second concern that was raised by experts not associated with this debate but with research the relative paucity a subject that are being studied for the purpose of trying to clear the some of this and get down to the brass tacks. some high-profile positions have been taken. a hard line has been driven.
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multiple concussions could lead to problems later on in life. for the purpose of this conversation, we have had a member of it nfl staff referred to the research center reinforced as bad use. one person says this. for the purposes of a lull in the public to have confidence in
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the end product, and given that this has been characterized as a issue and there are experts that, would not id the most wise to put the brakes on the study that is going on that has raised so many questions about the impartiality and just lets try to air on the side of absolute impartiality trying to find someone separate from this entire debate that is that this kind of stuff that both sides and all signs can take a look at that information and say we have absolute confidence. for those of us -- this is a worker's safety issue. putting aside whether or not we like this product, and i do,
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this is no different from someone coming off of the assembly line and saying, they all had arthritis in the right knee. we look at it in the exact same way. if you can give me the answer to that question, we can save so many questions have been raised about this and do something truly independent. something that everyone agrees is independent and start from scratch to try to get it to work. >> to answer your question, we want you to have confidence in the study. we have published every piece of data that we have done. we have published it publicly, it is part of peer review. when you talk about this and
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others, we do not control these doctors. they do this for a living. they draw conclusions from that. >> for you confident that this doctor is an independent view were giving -- given the statements he has made it? quite independent of what? independence of this position here. it seems to me that he arrived at this debate -- the nfl says research does not show a connection to long-term problems in nfl players. i doubt you would say that multiple concussions do not have long-term problems.
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he asked questions. he said in important areas, already, there were some any questions, why continue going down this path why not address the structural problems in the research. this is lacking in credibility. i do not think most of the public is served by this. we want to make sure people are protected. but not it be better to get a fresh start with a fresh report? >> we want congress, the medical
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community, everyone involved to have confidence in the work that is being done. that is why we have medical professionals involved. if this committee finds a way we can improve that by making it more independent, i would be happy to work with them. we want to have confidence in the work we are doing. many have taken our research and used it including what was mentioned earlier, the department of defense. >> i appreciate your willingness to assess this as we go on. i am reading this to you as i get it. >> thank you. >> of want to thank all of you
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for being here all day and your testimony. as the chairman mentioned, i'm from texas. you talk about football, we believe we are the best. i have a two favorite college teams. my brother in law played for the new york giants for five years. everybody plays football for wants to. my son started at nine years of age in went through college and played college ball. as you all know, football is what we do. this report in your testimony about this report is important for us to be aware of injuries that can occur, but i am not
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really clear as to what congress ought to be doing involved in professional football. if congress get involved, it would seem to me would be the in a football as we know it. whether it is high school or pewee leak, people know when you play football, there is a chance that you will get hurt. parent and players know that. all of you know it better than anybody. my question really is what do you want congress to do about the information that all of you have testified about an report? what do you want us to do? i will start with you on this end. quite as i stated in my opening
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remarks, we are not waiting to see what the medical research shows. we are taking steps down to improve our game, prevent injuries, make sure that when injuries do occur, they are treated properly and that we are caring for our athletes. we have to do a better job of that. i think it the exposure is raising this as a public health issue and the debate goes on within the medical community is healthy. it does put a spotlight to something that can effect millions of people. alzheimer's itself is projected to affecting over 100 million people in the foreseeable future. that is a significant issue. we want to be part of the
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solution. we want to share that information and continue to make progress that will affect thousands of people that and not playing football but plain other sports. if we can be helpful to that, we would like to be a part of it. >> i understand from what you said and the research has been passed on to other sports but to health professionals as well, the research that has been done. what do you want congress to do? more research to the private sector? i was asked to come here. i am not asking congress to do anything. >> that may be a first. let's go down the road. >> i think a couple of things. i think congress should ensure
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that there is a disclosure of the aggregate data that is being collected. i think that is one. i think it is the role of congress to make sure the business plainfield and businesses engaged in is fair and equal. when congress assures itself that it has done everything it can do to protect the safety of those on the safety level, college and the youth level, i think congress is serving its role. >> thank you. anybody else want to weigh in this? >> i would like you to help me keep my grandson from being damaged. >> have you expect congress to do that?
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>> i think congress is very creative. i believe in congress and the united states. i believe you have power that others of us do not. that is why we elected to this office. i am asking you to please help the use of our day now and in the future to stay safe. call it anything you want, but they go from being our youth in america to being our employees. i believe americans have an obligation. >> i appreciate that. you are not the only person with grandchildren. i had several. at parent, it is our role to
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take care of the safety of the children. i do not think the federal government has a role to intervene. congress may have a role in making sure that there may be some funds for research and development in getting involved in the everyday operation of the nfl football team, congress is not qualified to do that. maybe we should stick to what we know best. i yield back the remaining balance of my time. we discuss things. debate. >> we now recognize our colleague from california. >> i want to make a comment on the testimony before i move on
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to the questions i have. you were quick to mention the improvements the league has made. i want to point out to the skeptics that the changes the league made was in keeping with the suggestions that came out of the subcommittee hearing on this very issue in june of 2007 which was a couple of years ago. for those that think congress is ineffective, the congressional scrutiny may have had something to do but the positive changes. i want to show a brief clip that is courtesy of hbo. >> this man leads a team of nfl doctors that did a study of active players. the concern over head injuries is overblown.
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>> is there any evidence that links multiple head injuries among pro football players with the oppression? >> no. >> with dementia? >> no. >> with early onset of alzheimer's? >> no. >> is there any evidence that links multiple head injuries with any long-term problem like that? >> no. >> you are about to be handed a copy of a handout that is currently distributed to nfl players. i would ask that you would please read the high limited portion of the pamphlet and enter it into the record. >> without objection it will be. >> yes. >> it says if i have had more than one concussion, can you
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read that out loud? yes. current research -- >> can you read the question then the answer? >> if i have had more than one concussion, am i at risk for more than one injury? each injury must be managed properly. there is no magic number for how many concussions is too many. >> thank you. the question i have for you, i am concerned that the nfl has a blanket denial or minimizing of the fact -- it reminds me of tobacco companies that said
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there is no link between smoking and damage to your health or ill health of banks. bridgett ill health effects. wouldn't they be better off if college and football players the better off if we stop trying to minimize this is you then delete it the opposite perspective? we really need to jump on top of it and make kids and parents aware of this so there is not a sense that the nfl is slow walking the issue and saying, we have been studying the issue for several years when there is already researched that suggest there is a high correlation with this impairment that is
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cognitive that would not the lee be better off legally and our youth in terms of knowledge if you embrace this? >> i believe we have embraced the research and the medical study of this issue. >> you are talking about one study, the nfl study. what about the independent studies that have been conducted? >> i am not sure of your question. is there a link fein we conduct our own steady? >> to a large extent, we have driven this issue by making sure that we have met " -- medical
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professionals studying this issue. i am not a medical official. >> i understand this. there are a number of great questions that i'd like to ask one person. the one -- i think it would have been important for him to be here today. in the future, we would like him to come so we can put specific medical questions to them. i just want to briefly go through one of the big issues with respect to the issue that is currently underway in the nfl. other professionals have looked at the methodology. some of the concerns have are even race.
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of what to go through them again. one of the criticism of the study is between those that played football in college and professional football players. [unintelligible] . can you go back and talk to the doctors that are conducting this study the second thing that really troubles me is the subject ourselves elected. hollis people do not typically have addresses where you can send letters. some of the defects are slowed speech, memory loss, physical
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incapacity patient -- incapacity. some cannot travel to new york to be examined by the doctor. can you go back and tell how you are collecting them? it appears the doctor has already made of a determination of what the conclusion of this study will be. what are we going through the sure representing the final analysis if the determination has already been made about -- by the doctor and was denied? >> i think he stated that he is
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the only one in the findings. that is not correct. >> he is not controlling the examination or the findings? >> no. >> he has been a consultant to the nfl? >> he has been with one committee for several years. >> people for the face of the study of other conflicts of interest. one of the committee members owns the company that makes and markets its products used in the study? >> i do not done the insert. >> i am concerned. several people are in a related or being paid by the nfl connected with the study. >> at the back to a statement that i made early on in my
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opening remarks. the last hearing we had was very helpful here. we a knowledge that and appreciate that. i will submit it. i want to make sure that is clear. you are raising a very important point. i do not control the doctors output. the doctors we have involved with, i do not judge whether they have a particular view going in or out this is a selective group with tremendous professionals say a study this and other issues on a scientific basis. this is part of the medical debate.
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we are trying to move past the debate. >> my suggestion would be that instead of having nfl consultants and doctors set the true findings of an unbiased study would be conducted by those that have not been on the payroll in any capacity. with that, i will thank the chairman for his patience and yelled back. -- yield back. >> thank you. i recognize the gentleman from florida. >> thank you. thank you for recognizing the line -- the people on the line
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of scrimmage. i am going to refuse myself from asking questions. i played football at washington and jefferson. on the other side of the table, -- i am not really sure what our role in congress should be in getting involved with the national football league. football is a very violent game. those that choose to play football fully understand that. i will take the liberty to say and question the statement that was made earlier that pro
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football teams do not care about their players. i hope that is not true. i hope that is not what was meant. this chairman raises a series of issues. i am confident that the nfl and the players will continue to work together and make sure they are doing everything they can to improve the league and players safety. i yelled back. >> thank you very much. i think the witnesses. in response to a question from the gentlemen from new york, it seems that the committee member never requested that the doctor testified. i undressed -- that the doctor
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testified. i understand you want to clarify that response. >> i was handed a note which i will read to. i have not been contacted. >> this record will be open for a while. >> i will check with our staff. >> i want to thank this panel. it was surprisingly well attended. i think there are some things that we can come to an agreement on about the serious nature of these injuries and the fact that more can be done about it.
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for that reason, of you can be excused or stay for the second panel. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> we will have more coverage later in the week. watch wednesday night. former nfl player will testify. you are watching public affairs programming on c-span. up next, they will discuss the situation in afghanistan. and the conversation on breast
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cancer screening guidelines after that. later, the indian prime minister. >> bill clinton is on hand to present steven spielberg with the liberty menil -- metadal. and it discussion on terrorism and nuclear weapons. and hip-hop rapper and actor ludacris. that is giving day on c-span. -- thanksgiving day on c-span. richard holbrooke spoke for 45 minutes on afghanistan and pakistan.
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>> good afternoon and welcome. secretary clinton went to asia and kabul to absorb -- observe the inauguration of the second term of office of president car side. -- karzai. we thought it is important that neither is a government in place, to put her trip in context as we await the decision
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from the present on the military component. >> thanks. i am here to report on her trip to afghanistan and i am happy to talk about pakistan as well. i want to explain to the members of ever team from our office. i would like each one of them to stand and identify who they are and what they did. we are here to talk about the civilian efforts. this is the approach. some of the people you know in some you do not know. i'd like each person to stand,
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say who they are, and then we will get into a discussion. >> [inaudible] . .
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>> good afternoon. i'm with the state department. >> joanne has overseen the enormous increase in our civilian personnel. >> good afternoon. i'm senior advisor on afghanistan to ambassador holbrooke and have worked on election issues. >> department of homeland security, mainly on cross border and border management issues. >> coast guard, right? >> yes, sir. >> my name is gonzalez, i'm the
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agricultural -- agricultural invite. naubnauble >> working on communications. >> a lot of people, my two deputies, some in the field, some are traveling a lot are off working on projects, but this is the whole of government process which secretary clinton and president obama committed themselves to two days after he took office. i've never brought this whole team here before, we had a joint appearance but it was a smaller group. our purpose is to make clear, there's a major civilian component.
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one thing about marianne, she will be going -- am i allowed to say your next assignment? >> not official yet. >> unofficially -- unofficially, her majesty's government is spending -- sending her to tehran as the deputy chief of mission. she will be relaced, she will be succeeded but can't be are placed. she's done an unbelievable job and i worked with a lot of people who were on loan to the department, i've never seen anyone who did a job as good as jane and we will sorely miss her. what else do i want to say about this team? we are also reorganizing our international outreach and the counterparts, there are about 25 or 26 counterparts to my job now, established since this job
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was set up. and the germans have been coordinating that effort. and with the elections now behind us, we're going to be intensifying our effort on coordination -- coordinating the international effort. the germans are appointing a new counterpart as part of the agreement between the c.d.u. and the f.t.c. we don't know who that will be yet, unless it was announced today. and they will remain the coordinator, but we agreed to set up an international cell here in the building which will do a lot of the work. we're going to accelerate our international process. now to report on the secretary's trip. i know some of you i see here were on the trip with us, some were not. let me start at the beginning. this was our first trip to afghanistan as secretary of state, her fourth trip in her
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life. and it was a very important trip. she -- she timed it to coincide with the inauguration, precisely because we felt that the inauguration marked the end of a long, complicated process, the president used the word messy at one point, and produced a new government that we have been waiting a long time to work with a government that had been -- that was a result of the elections and what everyone thinks of the elections, they were not perfect and we said from the beginning they wouldn't be perfect. all of us said this publicly well before the election. they produced a winner and a legitimate government with which we intend to work as closely as possible. sas the reck se -- secretary said, we are encouraged by what
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we saw in this trip. secretary clinton described the moment that we saw a few days ago as a window of opportunity. on the night we arrived, she and i and ambassador ikenberry and general mckristal had dinner with president karzai at the president. -- at the palace. it was a warm, cordial meeting, substantially during the tone from meetings during the election period. elections were behind us and he brought with him his senior ministers in key areas and the first part of the evening was devoted to very detailed discussions with the minister of agriculture, the minister of finance, the minister of education and the chief of intelligence. minister of interior was supposed to be there but he was out in the city, making sure there would be no attacks during the ceremonies the next day, so
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we missed him. the conversation was detailed and engaged. those of you who knew hillary clinton as a senator and followed her closely may or may not know this. but she had been all over the agriculture issues as senator. she had worked with the state university of new york, i think at stony brooke but i'm not positive, to get a big tree planting program. she'd followed it very closely. she was fascinated to hear detail which is normally don't interest all of you but interested her greatly about 12 tons of apples airlifted to india a few days before we arrived. this was a very big story in the afghan press. it opened up a new opportunity for afghan agriculture. as i think you all know, after the security issue, we believe agriculture is our highest immediate priority and the -- in the civilian area, for the simplest reason. it's 80% of the people, they're
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great farmers, they have big export markets until 1978, they ex-ported pomegranates an raisin, dominated the world raisin export market, almonds, pis tashyows, saffron, wheat, they want to get back to that but need help. we had a situation where we were -- the united states was putting less money into agriculture than in poppy crock destruction. didn't make a lot of sense to us. as i mentioned, last time i was here, we phased out supporting poppy crop eradication. some may still go on, but that's afghan's run now. the u.s. is not solve 678ed the military is focusing oven interdiction. they're working closely with the d.e.a. and the f.b.i. and other patients of the u.s. government and they have had very sub staunrble -- substantial success
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in interdiction. meanwhile, we're putting a lot of money into agriculture. otto gonzalez who introduced himself a moment ago, is our liaison with the agriculture department. secretary vilsack will be going to afghanistan soon. date is not yet clear. it's been postponed because of high domestic priorities he's involved in, but he's going early next year. that will be important for us. she engaged in a very detailed discussion of agriculture with a minister. the finance minister discussed both economic issues, the ongoing negotia,i transit agreement, which president obama had mentioned specifically in the may 6 and 7 trilateral summit. mary beth goodman is our point person on that, both here and in islamabad and kabul. we talked about anti-corruption efforts and the general
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financial state of afghanistan. then, the minister of education gave a very encouraging report from the -- on the extraordinary progress that's been made despite the taliban in that field. this was an impressive performance in these fields. the intelligence chief talked about the taliban. and then issue -- and sean -- she talked about that in her public comments. on the personnel side, we are dramatically increasing our personnel. joanne is in charge of that effort. when we came into office, there were about 300 american civilians in all of afghanistan. and most of them were on six-month tours. and they had very substantial leave arrangements to go to dubai or abu dhabi or somewhere
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else regularly and there was no real continuity. no more six-month tours. spouses are allowed to come and encouraged to come if they take jobs, and the school-age children issue is a big problem but there are plenty of spouses there now and that, of course, is a big payoff. leaves have been changed and more and more people are signing up for a lengthier tours. some of the people here have had tours in afghanistan and will rotate back. and so we are going to be at about 900 people, i think, jack gave you figures in his lengthy press conference the other day and some of you went to camp aterberry with jack lou on thursday, the same tai we were in kabul and you saw the training process out there which derek hogan has been responsible for setting up.
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so the civilian effort is going quite well and i must say, a tripling, while we eliminate six-month tours, is really more than a tripling in terms of person-days in the field. far more. so it's -- this is an extraordinary increase. if you consider that each one of the americans has a footprint of nine or 10 support people, afghans, third country nationals, n.g.o.'s, it's a very large increase, proportionally larger than the military. we will have 900, about 900 by the -- say that again? >> [inaudible] >> 974 by the end of the year is the target. actually, to be even more precise, 974 by the early weeks of next year. we're going to run a couple of
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weeks behind the original buildup schedule. not because we don't have the people, but simply because the vetting and personnel process, it's as simple as that. i don't want to go into all these figures, that's not why you're here, but it is very important. and more american civilians will be on their way next year for an advance -- we're in advanced talks with ambassador ikenberry, jack lou, a.i.d. and elsewhere on that. on thursday of last week, the dinner was wednesday night. on thursday of last week, after the inauguration ceremonies, secretary clinton and i, general mcchrystal and ambassador ikenberry met with an extraordinary and impressive group of american civilians and military who have come in from the field. all of the seniors except the secretary of state sat off the
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table. the table was only for people from the provinces, run by ambassador tony wayne. for a very long time, i would say an hour and a half or more, and this actually delayed our departure kabul,s the reason, for those of you who remember, why we didn't land until after 4:00 in the morning, it was this meeting, she was enjoying it so much. she really drilled down on rule of law, on agriculture, on civilian-military integration, and i know that she has already described this to our colleagues on the principles committee and i'm sure she'll do so again in the meetings coming up. it was a -- it was a terrific meeting and she was enormously proud of the integrated civilian military process. we all talk about civilian integration and the bottom line on this, the closer you get to the battlefield, the closer the
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integration. at the province level, the district level, it is really remarkable. now, on pakistan, we haven't had anything on this room on pakistan since she returned. i have traveled with and watched many secretaries of state. i have never seen a secretary of state have a trip in which the public diplomacy part of it was more extraordinary than this trip. everywhere that she went, she was greeted as an iconic person, but then hit very aggressively on issues. and she just kept taking the questions, and making an extraordinary impact on the pakistani people. as many of you in this room know, firsthand, everything she did was covered live.
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her visits to the shrine -- her visit to the shrine was a particularly successful, got huge approval. she met with women's groups, hundreds of women, students in lahore. business men and women in lahore. parliamentarians. tribal leaders. she gave interviews to radio journalists of pakistan and afghanistan. as it evolved, it was a conversation. she seemed to be saying, this is me, this is in my words, not hers, she seemed to be saying, we are friends with a disagreement, this is the way friends talk about things. you could see the impact. she also, very important, private meetings with the president, prime ministers, generals, and shareef and chief
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minister shareef in lahore. so she had one of those trips that those of you who accompanied know how intense it was. i was very proud to be part of that trip and i think it marked a -- the beginning of a turn in our relations with pakistan. you're not going to see it show up immediately in public opinion polls. but the goal here was to lay the foundations for a partnership a deeper, more productive, genuine partnership among two sovereign nations. she also agreed to a strategic dialogue. the previous administration, strategic dialogue was conducted by the deputy secretary of state on the american side. she will personally lead the strategic dialogue. there's been a lot of talk about
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trilateral and bilateral and not coupling afghanistan and pakistan. the truth is, we have bilateral relations with each country. but they are interlayered. she has elevated the strastiege -- strategic dialogue with pakistan to the ministerial level and will personally lead it. we will tee that up for early next year, not too early we don't want to just have a meeting for a photo op. meanwhile, we'll continue the trilateral process. we are completing a new civilian assistance program which will broaden the scope of our relations with pakistan and help pakistan address its long-term development needs. the reason we were late to this meeting is we were meeting with ambassador rahall, she's essentially our chief of
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operations in pakistan. she and -- we are working out the operationalizing of the general agreements as we speak and we're talking about how to improve our economic assistance and to help the overall, the people of pakistan in their major needs like energy and water. water came up more than any other issue on the trip, even energy. we took that very seriously. our n.g.o. officer, roman pharrell who is not here right now, was working on the water n.g.o. issue because expertise on water is much greater in the private sector. all of this is going to complement our new public diplomacy effort which judith mchale and ashley balmer are jointly spearheading. we hope that the pakistani people will recognize our deep respect for their sovereignty
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and our deep commitment to help them deal with the pressing problems they face. so that's a brief report on the two trips. i think with that, i'll be happy to take your questions and if it's too technical, i'll defer to one of my colleagues. >> there's been a lot of talk about whether the afghan military force is a reliable partner. i'm wondering in terms of civilian, from what you've seen on the ground, do you think you have enough of a well-trained kind of afghan civilian reliable partner to do what you need to do or do you think that there'll be as much need for training of the afghan stass -- afghans? then, if i might, on pakistan, there's a lot of uncertainty about the future stability of the government, given some rulings that are going to be
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coming up. i wonder how much of a concern is that, that there could be a vacuum? >> i'm not going to comment on the internal affairs of pakistan. ipts to make that clear right now. we're well aware of it, following it carefully, but it's -- if it's an internal political issue, it needs to be dealt with by the pakistani people. that's all i think i should say on that. on your first question, you know, like any government, there are ministers that are better than other ministers. there's some ministers who have extraordinary records. i go back again, for example, i'm afraid if i single one out, it won't be good for his health. i won't single any out. but we want to work with strong ministries and we also recognize that the leadership in afghanistan is thin because of the high rate, the horrific
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consequences of 30 years of continuous war, the enormous set of refugees the diaspora people who left the country, very few of whom have returned and the -- and the conditions in afghanistan. this is one of the main reasons we're increasing our civilian role. it's extreme lidell cat to get the mix right. we want to help the afghans help themselves sms we do not want to replace a sovereign government with international -- and by the waymark other countries are increasing too. if you go into a ministry now, you may run into people from the u.n., from e.u. countries, japan, it's quite complicated. and one of our major goals is to coordinate this better. that's what i meant when i alluded earlier to our new efforts to coordinate international. so what is our belief in the
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capacity here? well, it's very hard to answer this question. we know how important it is, it's building the capacity to build their own -- run their own affairs, it's a process by which eventually, on a timetable i can't give you, the international troops, including the u.s., can be replaced by local security and the international civilian advisors can phase down other time. but international economic assistance for afghanistan will continue for a long, long time, as secretary clinton has said publicly in her trip. i want to stress that point. >> two things.
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it was said that they believe sunnis don't share u.s. intentions for afghanistan, they have their own intentions and may be pursuing that. will you commend on -- comment on that? also he said he's not sure who's running the army. also there was a report in the palestinian media that probably u.s. government and the pakistani government had a meeting with the taliban. >> the first two questions i'm not going to answer because i haven't seen the statement. what was your third? >> a meeting between the u.s. and afghan and pakistani governments and think taliban? >> to my knowledge and i believe this is absolutely true, there's been no direct meetings between american officials and taliban officials.
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there was one accidental engagement about a year ago, actually before the inauguration of president obama. it was inadvertent and wasn't a real taliban and that was -- that became public and we cleared that up. we are not having direct contacts with the taliban. secretary clinton, in her speech to the council on foreign relations on july 15, she made a speech in which only a few of you noticed the paragraph on afghanistan. one or two of you reported it. but that was very important. she laid out the conditions by which the u.s. believes people fighting with the taliban can rejoin, rei want grate into afghan society and -- reintegrate into afghan society
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and the first point was, denounce al qaeda. remember and never forget we are in afghanistan because of 9/11. and the other thing was to renounce violence and to lay down their arms and participate in life peacefully. in fact, many, many taliban have done that since 2002. people who were senior officials. some of them are in the national assembly. former taliban in the national assembly. there's regular contact between them and internationals, including americans. but what you're talking about, no, sir. >> i'm from the bbc. how reassured were you by what you were hearing about the fight against corruption? and can i ask you what is it that concerns you? corruption can cover a whole
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host of different activities. >> corruption is enormously complicated issue. it's easy just to put the word in the headlines, but when you get down 20 it -- down to it, what does it mean? when -- what is the difference between traditional baksheesh and real corruption, these are complicated issues. let me be very, very clear on this. we are deeply concerned about corruption. secretary clinton did not hesitate to discuss this. we have -- because the international community led by the united states has such a large footprint in afghanistan, and a lot of the targets of opportunity for corruption come from the international community. and so we have a legitimate
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concern on that score, and that's what the g.a.o. and the special inspector general for afghan reconstruction focus on. and because we have american troops and our allies on the line risking their lives, we have a legitimate reason to ask for better performance on corruption. president karzai in his speech, in his inaugural speech, addressed this problem, saying he would strengthen the existing commission on corruption and he would hold some special conferences on it, i believe was his word. i don't have the speech in front of me. but we discussed the subject at considerable length with him. yes, sir. >> ambassador holbrooke, i'm from al-jazeera english television. this question straddles your two
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key areas of responsibility. india wants more influence in afghanistan. you talked about the apples, 12 tons coming back the other way. pakistan on the other hand remains suspicious of indian hegemony. they talk about putting afghan out of indian reach. how can the u.s. balance the interests of these two key partner, one of which is the key partner in the war on terror? >> first of all, all americans, and everyone here is just delighted that the first state visit of this administration is india. no one in pakistan or any other country should read this in any way as a comminution -- diminution of their importance.
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someone has to have the first trip, but -- it used to be european allies. they come for informal trips. a state dinner is a big event. president obama thought this was the way to go. it should not be read as a diminution. we seek to improve our relations with pakistan. we seek to improve our relations with china. we seek to improve our relations with india. this is not a zero-sum game. every country benefits from improvement in the area. i'm not going into specifics of it, but i want to say, i read the press, i understand what new
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deli and lahore say about each other, but it's really -- it really is not just justified by the facts in many cases. these two countries live side by side and have to live together and our role is to assist both of them in different way, according to their own desires and their own view of their own sovereignty. >> thank you, ambassador. before we met up with you in kabul, you'd been in moscow. we never got a readout of that leg of your trip between pakistan and afghanistan. what did you accomplish in russia? did you -- >> i was in berlin, paris, and moscow and met with the british along the way. i would add, that in kabul, as you saw we had foreign ministers from france, the netherlands, deputy foreign minister of japan
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and i would draw your attention to the fact that the japanese quadrupled their aid last week and went up to $5 billion in commitment. tremendously important. a tremendously important decision by the new government. canada, their foreign minister was there. the indian foreign minister was there. and senior officials from many other countries. specifically to russia, as you know, i've been trying to go to all the concerned countries, but i haven't been able to get to all of them up to now. i still haven't gotten to all of them because of two thing the need to make, in the early part of my job, i had to go to afghanistan, pakistan a lot because there was so many issues to straighten out, we were in a period of transition in our leadership in afghanistan and had to put a whole new team in place and had to rethink our pakistan policy in conjunction with ann patterson.
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our ambassador there who has been kept down because of the high confidence we all have in her. i was unable to get to moscow earlier for logistical reasons and just scheduling, and in that talk, we outlined for the russians our strategic view and put forward the simple proposition that russia and the united states, like all the countries in the neighborhood, have a common strategic symmetry. that stability is something that's important to all the neighbors and near neighbors. the russians pointed out to us they had legitimate strategic concerns in the area, which we agree with. and they have won over -- one
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overriding issue which is mentioned prominently in the joint communique of president obama and president nadge ref dating july 2 or june 2, i can't remember which, but one of those two dates, and that is markets. that's a big, big issue for the russians. we explained our policies. i met with the deputy national security advisor, the security advisor being out of the country in singapore. i met with the foreign minister, my old counterpart at the united nations and my close friend. i met with the ministers of defense and reassured them the united states does not seek a permanent nato presence in afghanistan. i met with the drug czar, with the russian equivalent of fema and many other officials on the trick. it was a very productive opening
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meeting. we agreed we'll continue the dialogue. i took an interagency team with me from various agencies. we will continue the dialogue in the near future. we also had a team in china before the president's trip and we have had consultations with turkey, which we are going to continue, so there's a lot of activity going on. >> was there a pledge or promise or an agreement for assistance? >> they -- well, i leave to general petraeus the logistical issue. they didn't give any promises but showed considerable interest in wanting us to do more to help prepare -- repair some of the damage that's been wrought over the last 30 years. it's a complicated issue for reasons you all understand. but in the -- we are -- we were
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very pleased with these initial talks. >> a couple more questions. >> ambassador holbrooke, charlie wilson of cbs. given that you're here to talk about the civilian side, but recognizing that a lot of civilians who will be in the field depend on increased military, and given that the president's announced a meeting tonight at the white house, he's had eight or -- i believe this is the ninth. where does decision making stop and indecisiveness start since he's been accused of this? >> last time i came to this podium i said frankly that my experience on these issues, and i as a very junior officer i lived through the lyndon johnson decision making process in 1965 and when i was in saigon, and in 1968 when i was an assistant to
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the deputy secretary of state. i've seen a lot of these things. this is the most thorough, the most sustained, the most thoughtful process i have ever seen. and over the long source of it, we have seen, we have all learned a great deal from each other and in a way which i think is exactly the way decisions should be made. i'm not going to get into public debate. i'm not going to go in that direction. i just feel that what you've seen is a very serious debate and that's really all i want to say about it. but i'm honored to have been a small part of it. >> since you talked about corruption and said you're very concerned about it and considering you had a minister accused of taking over $1 million in bribes, how does that
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affect relations with the government? and president karzai talked about a loya jurga type of effort. does this undermine the effort? >> on the first half of your question, we're not -- we hope that the ministers are the best possible ministers and who they are and how effective they are and the issue you just mentioned will all be factors in determining our interaction with them. on the loya injure ga question, to be quite -- loya jurga question, i want to learn a little bit more about what the government has in mind before i opine on it. but it's not 100% clear yet how it will work or what its purpose would be. it's part of another process where there's some international
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conferences in president karzai's inaugural speech he talked about a conference in kabul next year. that's also part of the process. one more? >> you said that the united states can assist pakistan and india. would you -- >> please be care frl here. i don't think that's what i said. i said that we think good relations between the u.s. and india and good relations between the u.s. and pakistan are not incompatible and that we are not going to get involved in negotiating these kinds of things. please, it's really important, because when we get misquoted or twisted by some of the press, in these countries, we really have to spend a lot of time, poor p.j. has to spend the whole night, with the time difference, cleaning it up. let's stick to the precise words i used here.
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>> would you suppose talks between the two countries, because pakistan said it would be more at ease to fight terrorists tissue >> if the two country december side to resume talks or have any sort of talk, of course we'll support them. but we're not their midwife, we're not their intermediaries, we're not trying to play a role that goes beyond our legitimate area of involvement. >> just to follow on from my colleague's question, on the talks with the taliban, apparently the saudis and the british are involved in talks with the taliban along with the pakistanis, do you have any information on those? >> i can't speak about the british, you have to ask them. as far as the saudis go, president karzai mentioned him by name, he asked king abdullah to play a role here.
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i will let the saudis speak for themselves, i have talked to saudi, i have been to riyadh and talked to king abdullah about it myself, we would be supportive of anything that the kingdom chose to do in this regard. >> but i was talking about pakistan there. the talks with pakistan and -- >> oh, i don't know anything about that. i read it a news account, but i don't know about that. >> then you mentioned the trade transit agreement. what is the status between those negotiations. is seems they're stalled and you won't make the deadline at the end of the year. >> i don't think that's a fair conclusion. have any of you ever seen a negotiation which didn't go down to the wire, international gokes? i think we have a good -- negotiation. i think we have a good shot at making the deadline. if you want more detail than that, why don't you call the
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office and -- i don't want to involve everyone in it but we are hopeful that it will be done. let's be clear for those of you who don't follow the negotiation. this negotiation began before half the administration was born. it's 44 years old. really. older than you are. i can tell. not older than me, unfortunately. this is 44 years and president obama asked the two leaders of the countries to try to finish it by the end of the year. it's a very ambitious goal. it's not easy to do. we have gotten it down to two or three issues. and my hat's off to mary beth goodman for the role she's played here. i'll do one more. last question, i guess. >> as the obama administration
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conducts the review on afghanistan, how much are you consulting with the pakistanis? the reason i ask is, foreign minister kareshi said that pakistan could offer a lot more, implied there had been almost zero consultation. >> i don't think he implied that. the sec restair of -- secretary of state was in islamabad and lahore. foreign minister co-reshea has been here twice in the -- kareshi has been here twice in the last five weeks, six weeks. we are in constant contact. also through the excellent ambassador in washington. i don't believe that anyone seriously thinks we're not having detailed consultations with pakistan. if that was said, i think it has to be put into context. but there's no country we're consulting more closely than
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pakistan, nor is there any country more integrally related to this issue. mullen is in constant contact with the pakistani military. i'm in constant contact with leaders of their government by phone and other means. i don't see that as a real issue. thank you very much. >> thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> on tomorrow morning's "washington journal," we're joined by clea benson on the
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federal government's relation with rural america. after that, lewis morris talks about fraud and waste in medicare and medicaid. later, ashley tallis of the carnegie endowment for international peace on the visit to the u.s. "washington journal" begins every morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern. later in the morning, president obama and prime minister singh will hold a joint news conference. live coverage of the news conference begins at 11:35 a.m. eastern. >> coming up, three specials on the three iconic homes of the american government. beginning thursday night at 8:00 eastern, the supreme court. then friday at 8:00 p.m.
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eastern, the white house. inside america's most famous home. beyond the velvet ropes, the public tour, our visit shows the grand public places as well as those rarely seen spaces. and friday, the capitol. the history, art, and architecture of one of the most symbolic structures. three memorable night, thursday, friday, and saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. get your own copy of "american icons" a three-disk d.v.d. set, $24.95 plus shipping and handling. order online at >> a task force recently recommended against annual mammography screening for women under 40 years old. nancy brinker talks about that and her battle with breast cancer. >> welcome to the national press
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club. i'm president of the national press club. we're the world's leading professional organization for journalists and we're committed to a future of journalism by providing informative programming and journalism education and fostering a free press worldwide. for more information about the national press club, please visit our website at on behalf of our 3,500 members worldwide, i'd like to welcome our speaker and our guests in the audience today and i'd like to welcome those of you watching us on c-span. we're looking forward to today's speech and afterwards i'll ask as many questions from the audience as time permits. please hold your applause in the speech so we have time for as many questions as possible. for our broadcast audience, i'd like to explain if you hear applause, it may be from the guests and members of the general public who attend our speakers events, not necessarily from the working press.
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a highly charged report on breast cancer screening by a federally appointed task force is inciting outrage, anger and confusion as women nationwide struggle to decipher some of the mixed medical messages. in reversing its previous ideas on breast cancer screen, it sharply contradicts advice of many physicians and medical authorities, including the american cancer society. it's also going head-to-head with the susan g. komen for the cure foundation. it's the largest grass roots network of breast cancer survivors and activists and the group's founding chairman is with us today. ambassador nancy brinker has been called the leader of the global breast cancer movement. she founded komen for the cure in 1982 after her sister's death from breast cancer. she is the driving force behind
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the world renowned breast cancer fundraiser, race for the cure. for years she has championed more breast cancer screenings for women. by contrast, the task force guidelines apparently recommend less, advising against the teaching of self-breast exams, against routine mammograms for women in their 40's and against annual mammograms for women over 50, suggesting one screening every two years is enough. what's the rationale mind the recommendation? supporters say too little evidence exists that self-breast exams are effective in reducing breast cancer deaths. they say early screenings cause him more anxiety, leading to excess biopsies that are not needed and to treatment of tumors that would not be problematic if left untreated. on the other side of the debate, task force critics warn if women don't follow the new guideline, many will die unnecessarily because of delayed detection. they cite cases of women under
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age 50 who are diagnosed with breast cancer in time to get treatment. numerous instances where women discovered their own cancer in breast self-exams. still other critic says the guidelines are a sneaky form of health care rationing, part of health care reform a slippery slope that could allow bureaucrats to enter the exam room. here to address these charges and more is a breast cancer activist who received the presidential medal by bruckbrauk. she's been on -- by barack obama. she's been on "time" magazine's list of 100 most influential people. she's served as the u.s. ambassador of hungary and was u.s. chief of protocol under president george w. bush. please help me welcome founder of susan g. komen for the cure, ambassador nancy brinker.
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[applause] >> thank you so much for that very kind introduction. great to be here with you all today. i would like to just take a moment and introduce three very important here at our organization who are here, came to be with me today, alexine clement jackson, would you stand please? liz thompson, vice president of our global health, and health sciences, and general fer larey, president of our komen advocacy alliance here in washington. i'm proud to serve with everyone here today from the komen organization. but i think all of us wish that we were here to announce that susan g. komen for the cure has found a cure for breast cancer and that we're out of business. and i frankly look forward to the day when i can make that announcement. i'm confident we'll find it, but
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it takes a great deal of work and we've got to focus on what we know. what works is what we know. early detection, awareness, presearch -- research and treatment. yes, screening, mammography, and self-awareness. if you just look at the facts today, five year survival rate for breast cancers that haven't spread from the breast is now 98% in the u.s., contrasted to 74% when i started this organization in 1982. 98%. there are more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors alive in the u.s. today. a large -- the largest group of cancer survivors living. i want to remind you that these 2.5 million breast cancer survivors are real women, mother, daughters, sisters, friends, employees, and men. and last summer, i met a breast cancer survivor in california at
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our affiliate in orange county who told me something really stunning, and keep people like me going. she told me she was an 18-year stage four breast cancer survivor. unheard of until now. i was amazed that this woman identified her disease as end stage. i asked her to walk me through her treatment, all the way from the beginning. she says, you know, it hasn't been pleasant, hasn't been easy, but i'm here, i'm alive, and i'm having a good life. i said, well, what therapy have you been given? she walked through each of the therapies. i'm proud to tell you, every single therapy she had received had been funded very early by susan g. komen for the cure grant. 18 years of a woman's life isn't a cost. it's an invaluable benefit to a family and our country to our national strength and values. that's why these reports and all
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the controversy from the last week, this report was officially released last monday, seems like it was 40 years ago, have take an tremendous toll. i believe they set us back. first they resulted in mass confusion and lack of clarity. and justifiable outrage. the women i have heard from, thousands and thousands of and thousands, are justifiably outraged and worried and angry. they believe the mammogram they have which detected their cancer saved their lives. they thought they had done all the right things and all the things all of us in the health care system told them to do. and they believe they're alive today because of these recommendations and because of their own practices and own engagement. i don't blame them for being concerned about future generations of women because we've spent 30 years doing this. we've asked them to take a very active approach to their health
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care. and now the report comes out, raises questions, we've worked so hard to build this public trust. clarity is absolutely critical. let me say it as clearly as i can. as a breast cancer survivor, whose breast cancer was found with a mammogram at the age of 37, and as a leaderer of the world's largest breast cancer organization, let me say clearly to anyone watching, mammography saves lives. even this report says so. keep doing what you're doing. speak with your physician. speak with your physician always. at susan g. komen for the cure, we are not changing our guidelines. we can't afford to. because for all the plogress we've made against breast cancer, it's still the leading killer of women in america between the ages of 40 and 60. one in eight women in the u.s. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in our lifetime. in the u.s., nearly 200,000
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women and men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die. this year alone. which brings me to my second point, which is access. act sets to care. you know, we can develop the greatest science we can develop the greatest treatment, we can develop the greatest screening, but if people don't have access, we have to question, what is it all for? 1/3 of american women, 23 million who need the most basic screening and mammography are not getting it today. that's right. no disagreement about this. after all, we've -- after all we've done to urge people to get screened, now they hear maybe they shouldn't bother. that's dangerous. we spent a long time aculture rating people to be involved in their care. we've spent a long time bringing fragile people into he health care world, into treatment and
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diagnosis and screening. people with low-dollar insurance policies. people rr dependent on medicare and medicaid. people who are dependent on many of the private organizations we funded and public organizations we funded in over 120 affiliate cities in the united states alone. people who would never have had the opportunity to have care or screening. you know work spend over $2.2 trillion on health care in the united states. surely we can cover 23 million women. it's a tiny fraction of 2.2 trillion. and we should. i'd also like to say that any insurance company who is thinking right now that this report could be used as a way to reduce coverage for mammography now or at some point, we'll be watching very carefully. we'll be watching. so access, clarity, and public trust are critical. but so, too, is perhaps the
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centerpiece of what it is we are having the most trouble with, and that's technology. in a strange way, all the dustup from the past week actually may do some good. maybe it's a clarion call. finally. we know mammography works, but we also know it's imperfect. we do need better screening technology. this technology that we're using today, though it's been improved and regenerated is still almost 50 years old. what other business or field that we know in the united states or around the world would use 50-year-old technology? there's a huge technology gap in breast cancer and cancerno carrr
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