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Judge Denies $765M NFL Concussion Settlement

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Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images.
Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images.

The NFL was likely hoping that they were able to finally put the concussion issue to bed after they came to a $765 million settlement agreement with former players, but one federal judge isn’t letting them off the hook just yet.

U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody has denied preliminary approval of the $765 million settlement agreed upon by the two sides because she does not believe that it would be enough to cover the 20,000 retired players involved in the agreement. The settlement is supposed to be paid out over a 65-year period, but if the settlement fund dries up before that time is up, that could leave some players who need the money out in the cold.

“We are confident that the settlement will be approved after the Court conducts its due diligence on the fairness and adequacy of the proposed agreement,” said lawyer Christopher Seeger, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs.  “Analysis from economists, actuaries and medical experts will confirm that the programs established by the settlement will be sufficiently funded to meet their obligations for all eligible retired players.  We look forward to working with the Court and Special Master to address their concerns, as they rightfully ensure all class members are protected.”

The NFL is confident that the settlement will ultimately be approved by the courts, and it’s certainly possible that they’re able to convince Brody that the settlement is enough to cover all the players. But if they’re intent on getting this over with, the issue could quickly be put behind them if they agreed to provide the necessary capital to cover players in the event that the settlement funds run out.

“We respect Judge Brody’s request for additional information as a step towards preliminary approval,” the NFL said in a statement.  “We will work with the plaintiffs’ attorneys to supply that information promptly to the Court and Special Master.  We are confident that the settlement is fair and adequate, and look forward to demonstrating that to the Court.”

While chances are that a more palatable agreement for Brody will eventually get ironed out, the NFL has their fair share of work cut out for them in order to get it ratified. This is one of, if not the biggest black eye that the NFL has ever received, so it’s certainly in the best interests of the league to get the settlement approved as quickly as possible.