09/02/2015 12:18 EDT | Updated 09/02/2016 01:12 EDT

Sony says Will Smith head trauma film 'Concussion' wasn't softened to placate NFL

NEW YORK — Sony Pictures is insisting that the Will Smith film "Concussion" was not "softened" to placate the NFL.

Emails leaked by last year's hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment revealed executives, lawyers and filmmaker Peter Landesman wrestling with whether "Concussion" would antagonize the NFL, and making changes to the film.

After a comprehensive review of those emails, The New York Times on Tuesday reported that Sony blunted parts of the film, in which Smith plays the first scientist to uncover the fatal effects of repeated head trauma suffered by many NFL players.

In a statement Wednesday, Sony Pictures called the Times story "misleading" and insisted: "As will become immediately clear to anyone actually seeing the movie, nothing with regard to this important story has been 'softened' to placate anyone."

Jake Coyle, The Associated Press