Emails from the April 2015 Sony hack show that both the studio and executives heavily edited its soon-to-be-released film “Concussion” so as to avoid a legal battle with the NFL, The New York Times reports.
Starring Will Smith, the movie tells the story of Nigerian-born Dr. Bennet Omalu. Omalu is credited with first diagnosing Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease, in football players.
Since Omalu’s primary diagnosis of CTE in Steelers center Mike Webster back in 2002, the NFL has paid hundreds of millions of dollars to retired players, “who accused the league of deliberately hiding the danger of concussions,” and CTE has become the largest threat to the $45 billion industry. (RELATED: Latest Will Smith Film Shines Light On NFL’s Most Taboo Subject [VIDEO])
Still, the Times reports that hacked emails show Sony executives urging “Concussion” director Peter Landesman to “avoid antagonizing the N.F.L. by altering the script and marketing the film more as a whistle-blower story, rather than a condemnation of football or the league.”
On Aug. 6, 2014, Sony’s president of domestic marketing warned the film against “kicking the hornet’s nest.”
Additional emails in August credit a Sony lawyer with deleting “unflattering moments for the N.F.L.” that took “most of the bite” out of the movie.