Law Suit Overview by NYT

Ken Belson took a stark look at the law suits facing the NFL about head and brain trauma, over a dozen at this time.  The plaintiffs in these cases are going to fight an uphill battle, from resources to even getting the case to trial;

Taken together, the suits filed in courts across the country amount to a multifront legal challenge to the league and to the game itself. While the retired players, including stars like Jim McMahon and Jamal Lewis, face a time-consuming and difficult battle, the N.F.L. will have to spend heavily on lawyers to fend off the chance that juries might award the retired players millions of dollars in damages.

The league must also grapple with unflattering publicity as former players claiming to be hobbled by injuries and, in some cases, suffering from financial problems sue their former employer, the steward of America’s most popular sport. The stakes will only get higher if any of the cases go to trial, where details may emerge about what the N.F.L. knew about concussions and when, how it handled that information, and whether it pushed manufacturers to make the safest helmets possible.

Belson makes some valid points on behalf of both the players and the league;

  • Players – Could get a sympathetic ear from juries (if they go to trial)
  • League – Previous CBA’s did not address this issue
  • Players – Are retirees and fall into the pension/health care of those THAT played
  • League – Get all the suits combined in one in a favorable court
  • Players – Feel the old “medical brain trust” of the NFL hid results or at least knew of problems
  • Players – 2007 pamphlet that said “Current research with professional athletes has not shown that having more than one or two concussions leads to permanent problems if each injury is treated properly.”
  • League – Progressive attenuation of problems with current changes
  • League – The sport is inherently risky
  • League – No true “smoking gun”

Take a look at the article and then think about where we are.

Personal opinion on this matter: Players have a valid point about known research prior to 2007, the sacked doctors of the former committee is a testament to that.  However the deepening issue around long-term effects have not come into better focus until 2009ish, when the NFL started to make very small changes.  The key to all of this is the 2007 pamphlet and the words “if treated properly”.  Both the league and THE PLAYERS played a vital role in that, because of the warrior mentality some of this can fall at the feet of the players too.  Regardless the league needs to get rid of any person on their “advisory” board that have conflicts of interest, whether with teams or with the league.

A second opinion from a regular follower: One comment for the guys in the field.  The NFL docs are going to run a damaged goods strategy, i.e., blaming injuries in youth, high school and college for the long-term neurological problems.  It is bad for all the dedicated ATC’s.  It is worse for the sport since mom’s will be yanking kids.  I (commenter) believe this is the predicate for the NFL throwing the NFL docs under the bus.  Kids who don’t play will not become fans.  No fans, no money and no game.

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