Today, the NFL and NFLPA settled the ongoing lawsuit over concussions and concussion-related issues for $765 million dollars.
The terms are just now coming out, but the settlement means a defined liability for the NFL and retired players get some relief for their medical costs.
Around 4,500 retired players – and their families – will be affected.
According to the article on NFL.com “NFL, ex-players reach settlement agreement in concussion suit,” ten Hall of Fame players are involved, including Tony Dorsett for example. Also affected are the estates of a number of NFL retirees that have since passed away, including Alex Karras, Mike Webster, and Junior Seau.
The article on NFL.com explains a lot of the minutiae of the settlement, but it also means the NFL is avoiding what could have been an ugly public relations disaster if things had dragged on since internal NFL memos would likely have eventually been made public about what they knew and when they knew it.
I, for one, never bought Roger Goodell’s “party line” about “player safety” having been the NFL’s focus “for decades.”
No, that was all PR from the Commissioner while the lawsuit was being played out with attorneys for both sides behind closed doors.
You can click on the link to the article on NFL.com to read more details and it will open in a new tab so I won’t regurgitate everything that article says here, but the upshot of this is that the NFL’s image has largely gotten through this major hurdle intact.
With recent programs like the “play safe” campaign and teaching kids who are just learning the game how to play and keep safety at the forefront will take a generation to fully implement, but it does at least show that the NFL has been aware of the issues involved and have, in fact, finally been pro-active about the root issues behind the lawsuit and the settlement.
I think both the NFL and the NFLPA realized that a long, public lawsuit would benefit few people in the big picture and probably would have caused the NFL’s revenues to take a hit in the billions of dollars. The ripple effects would have eventually meant lower salaries for players, coaches, officials, and everyone else involved in the league. The only “winners” would have been some of those retired players.
Hopefully now that this is over, the retired players involved will get relief with their finances and costs of their care – and deservedly so.