Is it me, or does this seem like a win for the National Football League?
For the relatively low price of $765 million – just south of $24 million per owner, which works out to roughly 20% of this season’s salary cap – the NFL was able to settle their lawsuit with over 4,500 former players who argued the league knowingly conspired to conceal the long-term risks associated with concussions for decades. The settlement works out to an average of $170,000 per player.
On top of parting with a fraction of their yearly profits, from a public relations standpoint the league should be able to finally put this issue to rest, while likely avoiding the release of testimony that could have done irreparable damage to the shield’s image.
Here are some of the pertinent details via the Associated Press:
The NFL and more than 4,500 former players want to resolve concussion-related lawsuits with a $765 million settlement that would fund medical exams, concussion-related compensation and medical research, a federal judge said Thursday.
The settlement likely means the NFL won't have to disclose internal files about what it knew, when, about concussion-linked brain problems. Lawyers had been eager to learn, for instance, about the workings of the league's Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee, which was led for more than a decade by a rheumatologist.
Deadspin has more specifics on how the money will be doled out:
Of the settlement, $675 million will go directly to the former players and their families, $75 million to medical exams, and the rest for research. The money will be paid in installments over 20 years, with half coming in the first three years. Because this is a consolidation and not a class action suit, not all players will receive the same amount of money—it will be distributed on a case-by-case basis.
The good news is that thousands of professional athletes who were perhaps misled and as a direct result may have done irreparable harm to their brains will receive compensation and/or medical care thanks to this settlement. The NFL putting additional money toward researching brain trauma is a plus as well, and it’s something they should continue to do voluntarily.
Can’t help but feel like maybe they got off a little easy though considering the damage that’s been alleged. It should be interesting to see how this news is received in the football community, and if the story really will be shifted to the backburner with the suit finally resolved.