This Just In: The NFL Is Made Of Kevlar
By Scott Daniels
In civil legal proceedings, settlement negotiations are an inevitable part of the process. Both sides engage in methodical yet calculated discussions for the purpose of coming to an agreement and avoiding a trial. It wasn’t too long ago that the NFL was embroiled in controversy revolving around concussions and its alleged wrongdoing in warning players or educating them on the potential harm the sport could do. What happened to all of that talk? How come the NFL dodged what seemed to be a seriously damaging bullet involving hundreds, if not thousands, of former NFL players?
They dodged that bullet by settling the massive class action lawsuit that hovered over the league like a plague. Day after day, damaging stories of former players whose lives now ravaged by degenerative brain dysfunction hit mainstream media and put a damper on the league’s global success. Books were written claiming the league knew more about concussions, but withheld information to further the sport. But right before a destructive documentary on the topic was released, the NFL quashed this class action lawsuit by entering into multimillion dollar settlement agreement.
By all accounts, the parties involved appear content with the agreement. The settlement provides compensation, future medical treatment and even allowed those parties not happy with the agreement to continue their fight in court.
Of course, the NFL did not settle this case by admitting any wrongdoing. In fact, it was just the opposite. They made it a point to publicly denounce any liability or wrongdoing on their part. This is the great irony with settlement agreements. The party doling out the money never admits to any wrongdoing, yet they are shelling out millions to the person, or persons, claiming foul. How is this even acceptable in our justice system?
The NFL appears to rolling full-speed ahead. The concussion lawsuit is almost an afterthought. The biggest question facing the NFL today is whether to have a Super Bowl in Europe. The league is virtually impenetrable. It’s popularity is at all-time high and fans crave professional football like a drug.
The NFL’s prudence in settling what felt like a massive blow to the integrity of the league was just another example of how the settlement agreement can make everything go away very quickly.