Sony Pictures and Cinemark Theatres are giving free tickets to anyone with an NFL Players Association card.
When the Will Smith drama Concussion—based on the true story of a doctor who raised awareness of brain trauma injuries in the NFL—hits theaters Christmas Day, former and active NFL players and their families will be able to see it free of charge. Sony Pictures Entertainment has already been screening the film to players nationwide, but they’ll be making free tickets available for players who want to see it with the rest of the nation.
In the film, Will Smith plays Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic neuropathologist who discovers the first evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a brain disease found in people who have suffered repetitive head trauma and injuries. The real-life Omalu studied the brains of multiple football players and found that CTE was prevalent among them. Symptoms of the disease include dementia, aggression, and depression. The NFL campaigned long and hard to stifle and discredit his findings. Concussion chronicles his struggle to cast light on the disease. Ridley Scott and Giannina Facio-Scott, the film’s producers, say they hope the movie will help spread more awareness, particularly among those who are pursuing a career in the NFL.
“This is a movie for the players, so we wanted to give them a chance to see it before its nationwide release and free admission during its run in theaters,” they said in a statement. “We think the players will enjoy watching this movie about Dr. Omalu's incredible courage—courage that changed the game.”
The NFL Players Association’s executive director of external affairs, George Atallah, told Sports Illustrated that they hope players will go see the film. He said:
“We are encouraging players to see it, as a teaching tool for them about the not-so-ancient history of how the league mismanaged a serious health and safety issue, and why it’s crucial for the union to be aggressive on these issues. I think that’s where the film has a really strong message. Not that football is dangerous, because we all know playing football comes with risks, but the only way football is going to end is if we continue to deny some of the dangers and don’t try to fix them.”
Players just need to show their NFLPA membership card to get free admission at any Cinemark theater.