On Monday the news broke that the NFL and the NFLPA would provide benefits to former players diagnosed with ALS. That was huge. For a long time there have been the rumblings about the number of NFL players who have been afflicted. For the league and the players' association to agree to provide benefits is a both an acknowledgement and a compassionate gesture. Newscasts and print media have room for NFL news at this time of year. Radio waves are filled with talk of football. Where was the coverage of the 88 Plan and ALS? Where were the good questions that should have been asked about the names of the players and the history of the problem and the studies on athletes and the controversy of head trauma and college football stars who have also been afflicted and on and on? Has the story's shelf life now past without having raised any meaningful ALS awareness? Should organizations involved in the battle against ALS also have shown some prompt public gratitude for the NFL and NFLPA working together to address the problems of their players with ALS?
On Tuesday we got wind that the CDC's ALS Registry was to be launched on Wednesday. There was to be an embargo on news until 8 a.m. on Wednesday so that the CDC's ATSDR could make the announcement. What's the point of an embargo if you're not working with the media to make the story pop? Pfffft. There was very little media coverage on Wednesday... or on Thursday. This is an important repository for retaining information on people with ALS. Thousands of people have pleaded with legislators for a number of years to make this happen. Many of these advocates did not live to see the registry launch. We could have explained the outrageous fact to America that nobody had been counting noses of people with ALS until Wednesday. Why not tell the world about the United States taking leadership in surveillance of cases of ALS? This was a reason to tell America that we owe it to all Americans to figure out if there are environmental factors that can trigger death via ALS. This was a reason to talk about ALS.
This truly was a slow news week. We saw and read more than we wanted about Juan Williams and Joe Miller and Virginia Thomas and Lindsay Lohan and whether Roddy White trash talks more than Chad Ochocinco. This should have been a huge news week about something that is a matter of life and death -- ALS. The stories were there. Who was dishing them up for the media?
Great Caesar's ghost.