After Will Smith played the role of CTE discoverer Dr. Bennet Omalu in the 2015 movie “Concussion,” he thought he’d be making an impact.
He thought bringing to light the darkest side of the NFL and its history of denying football’s relation to head injuries would deter some fans from watching, but he was left surprised at the results.
“I thought ‘Concussion’ would have a bigger impact,” Smith recently told Vanity Fair magazine. “I knew it would be hard because people love the game, but the science is so overwhelming, and it’s something that we really need to take a look at,” he said. “I thought that people would get behind the mission of that. I was surprised that people were absolutely like, ‘Nope, I’m not stopping watching football, so I don’t want to know.'”
Other than a dip in ratings for this week’s Monday nighter due to a relatively compelling election debate, there are no reports of the NFL’s viewership descending.
Smith is disappointed with people’s resiliency in remaining ignorant to the dangers of their favorite game, but says some have come around to the film’s message.
“I saw (former C.I.A. director David) Petraeus randomly a couple months ago,” said Smith. “He said, ‘Listen, I just watched Concussion. My wife made me watch it; I didn’t wanna watch it. I had refused to watch it, That’s the best movie you ever made.’ That was the first time that someone had actually, specifically said they didn’t want the pain of watching it.”