NFL Settles Concussion Litigation For $765 Million
By Allen Kim
It was announced today that the NFL and the more than 4,500 retired football players have settled on an agreement that will pay out $765 million to the players for concussion-related lawsuits. The funds will be used to pay for medical exams, compensate the ex-players for damage, fund medical research and cover all litigation expenses.
Former United States District Judge Layn Phillips was appointed to oversee the case, and she supervised nearly two months of “intensive negotiations.” Instead of processing every claim individually, this settlement resolves the main issues of both parties and allows them to move forward.
“This is a historic agreement, one that will make sure that former NFL players who need and deserve compensation will receive it, and that will promote safety for players at all levels of football,” said Judge Phillips. “Rather than litigate literally thousands of complex individual claims over many years, the parties have reached an agreement that, if approved, will provide relief and support where it is needed at a time when it is most needed.”
The retired players accused the NFL of hiding information regarding the risk of concussions. The recent deaths of former players like Junior Seau, who was been diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), have brought intense scrutiny on the NFL and allegations that they were keeping concussion-related information from players and the public.
“This agreement lets us help those who need it most and continue our work to make the game safer for current and future players,” said NFL Executive Vice President Jeffrey Pash. “Commissioner Goodell and every owner gave the legal team the same direction: do the right thing for the game and for the men who played it. We thought it was critical to get more help to players and families who deserve it rather than spend many years and millions of dollars on litigation.”
Pash’s statement rings hollow. The NFL has adamantly fought against the case, and the settlement seems to be more about putting this behind them and protecting their image. They want to ensure the longevity and prosperity of the league, and this was a black eye that they just couldn’t afford to have linger on for months or years to come.
Despite the settlement, the NFL still isn’t admitting fault. One of the principal terms of the settlement is that it isn’t an admission of liability by the NFL or by the plaintiffs that their injuries were caused from playing football. After all, how can they ensure future generations of players if the fear of severe brain damage was a constant cause for concern?
Final approval of the settlement will be determined by United States District Judge Anita B. Brody, who is presiding over the case. With this settlement, the focus can go back toward the field with the 2013 NFL season about to kick off.