NFL Reaches $765 Million Settlement with Former Players Over Concussion-Related Brain Injuries
In June of 2012, the lawyers of 2,138 former NFL players got together and consolidated their 81 pending cases against the league into one single lawsuit. The complaint? That the NFL had concealed information that linked football related head injuries to permanent neurological problems.
On Thursday, August 29, 2013, these former players and their families reached a $765 million settlement with the league. And it won’t just benefit the players who filed the suit. It will benefit all 18,000 retired NFL players and their families.
Of the $765 million, $75 million will pay for baseline medical exams, while another $10 million will go toward research and education on brain injuries. However, the vast majority of the settlement, some $675 million, will compensate individual players, or, in the case of deceased players, their living relatives.
Players suffering from Alzheimer’s can be awarded up to $5 million. Players proven to have died from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) can be awarded up to $4 million. And players suffering dementia can be awarded up to $3 million.
Of course, as you would expect, the reactions to this major settlement have been mixed. Some players, both current and former, don’t think it’s necessary at all. They say something to the effect of, “hey, it’s football, what did you think you were doing out there?” Moreover, it’s not like players weren’t paid pretty decent salaries.
Others, however, say the settlement is not nearly enough. The NFL made $10 billion last year. The terms of the settlement stipulate that they must pay half of the total amount—which is $382.5 million—over the next three years. Then they’ll have the next 17 years after that to pay the rest. So while three quarters of a billion dollars sounds like a lot of money, to the NFL it’s really not.
The reality is that this is a somewhat fair settlement. The NFL is the world’s most valuable sports league, and it was built on the backs of players who sacrificed their physical health. Yes, these players were paid—in some cases (but not all) handsomely—but the guys who played in the 70s and 80s most certainly did not really understand what they were signing up for.
Could the NFL have awarded more? Of course. But the important thing is not that former players get rich off this, but that they get the medical care they need. And this settlement should make sure that happens.
Sadly, it didn’t come soon enough for some former players, like Junior Seau or Roy Easterling.
Hat Tip – [ESPN]