Since 2011, more than 4,500 former NFL players have joined a class-action suit against their past “employer” for various issues related to head trauma and concussions. The two sides emerged recently from months of court-ordered mediation with a settlement figure:
I just wanted you to see that number sitting there, all by itself.
If you’re trying to do the mental math, allow me to help. The staggering $765 million, when divided by 4,500 players, pays out $170,000 to each man, not taking into consideration one hell of a legal fee enjoyed by the team of attorneys.
Details are a bit sketchy on how everything went down, and there’s been no disclosure on which numbers were put on the table before coming to this settlement. I’d guess the players were asking for a cool billion.
Many corporations have endured class-action suits before, and big ones at that. But it seems strange to me that the NFL didn’t cover its rear-end years ago to avoid lawsuits like this. Still, the league and its owners didn’t have to admit liability in the case, nor were they found guilty of negligence.
It’s tough to say who scored the victory here. The smart money is always on the league over the players. The players really had no choice but to settle, as they probably would have lost had they gone to trial.
That said, to avoid future issues, here’s a simple something the league may want to consider in regards to player liability.
I vividly remember signing up to play high school football back in the day, and putting my name on a dotted line, just above the line designated for my parents’ signatures. It was an agreement and acknowledgement that the sport was potentially dangerous and harmful to my health. It stated I could suffer serious injury or blunt force trauma that could lead to health issues or even death.
Shouldn’t a multi-billion dollar organization be as adept in addressing liability issues within contractual agreements as a high school? One would think.