Really dumb. I don't see how the players would win this, and they shouldn't win.
2,000 former players to sue NFL
Devil's advocate..... What is the NFL really did cover up information about the prevalance and effects of head injuries or what if they covered up information about how they could make the game safer in order to maintain profits?
Way to make the game safer: paper football, wearing gloves (to protect from papercuts), and helmets with face masks (wouldn't want anyone getting hit in the eye).
In fact, they are doing a lot to make sure players don't get injured. Also, since College basically has the same rules, wouldn't that mean the NCAA also covered something up?
I don't know the answer to there questions... I was just challenging the idea that there was no chance of the players winning the lawsuit.
But I agree with you that there is always a chance with a sympathetic judge who relies on his emotions more than on logic and rationality. Look, it was only maybe 5 years ago that all of us referred to what we now know was a concussion (using our greater knowledge given more medical publicity on this issue) as "getting your bell rung." That was simply common thought during the times these players are talking about. It's ridiculous to think there was some sort of conspiracy. People thought, once you got over your dizziness, that you were ready to go back in the game. Everything doesn't have to be somebody's fault--I feel for players who are messed up now, just like I feel for boxers that have problems, but that doesn't mean people owe them money or were conspiring against them.
You can't say that. We have none of the facts. You're simply assuming that what "we" knew 5 years ago was also what the NFL knew.
I agree that the further players go back in time, the harder it will be to prove that the NFL knew about the extended risk of concussions (meaning, beyond the immediate effects), but it's not far fetched to think that researchers on the cutting edge of concussion research were informing the NFL of their findings long before those same findings made it to the general public. Any players playing after that point might have a strong case depending on what the NFL knew and when.
Point is, it's premature to make any assesment of the plaintiffs' case prior to completion of the discovery process.
after all of this research and publicity, right now do not know much about the long term affects--right now some big studies are going on that should shed more light on this, but even doctors in the field will say that we know less than we need to know.
True but we know more than we used to know about concussions. It seems pretty definitively established that there are negative effects to them. Also, you are missing his point; if the players' allegations are found to be true during the discovery phase of litigation, then why shouldn't they be entitled to collect? He is advising not to pass judgment on the case until the facts come to light during the discovery process. If your employer willfully covered up the harmful effects of your job performance and misled you to believe you were not being permanently or significantly harmed, why shouldn't you be entitled to damages? Let's wait until the players can either prove or not prove their allegations before we question the judgment of this lawsuit.
All that this is, is a master complaint filed in what was approved mutlidistrict litigation under the federal rules of civil procedure. Individual cases have already been pending, having been filed individually or in bunches, in other U.S. District Courts.
Here is how much your title "did not say it all"...
Profits from a faster-paced game with bigger hits. Remember when people thought Roy Williams was a good nfl S because he would light recievers up when they were often most vulnerable. He got lots of espn coverage for it. Also, did you read the article: if the former committee on head traumas was creating false information it would be doin it to get the injured players to play when they shouldn't. Your very incentive for the nfl would have been an incentive to mislead people about concussions for years.
Also, if the NFL committee on head traumas specifically created misinformation and false reports on head injuries what does that have to do with the NCAA? Your logic is flawed. Just because two institutions have similar rules does not mean that both are misleading people. Here is an analogy: two governments with very similar laws and structure, but one is corrupt to the core and the other is relatively just and follows its own rules and promotes the well-being of its people. Disclaimer: I don't actually think the NCAA is benevolent or more than a money sucking machine, and the nfl and the NCAA are not that similar.
The problem is that there are a bunch of other sports doing research in regard to this, so they can't cover it up.
Suing the NFL for this in one breath and the next making sure the guys who were putting bounties on their own Union Brothers heads reaks of hypocrisy.
I just don't know how you can sue, while trying to defend the same players against a bounty scandal.
Is the union handling the lawsuit? The article doesn't say either way. It's a class action lawsuit so maybe the players have independent legal counsel.
It is not a class action. See the link I posted above.
Regardless of if it is or is not, the players can't say "They aren't protecting us", then try and have their own representatives argue appeals over bounty scandals.
You actually need someone to explain to you that from the age of roughly 12 to 30 you're going to be running as fast as you can and hitting someone else who is running as fast as they can could possibly cause head injuries?
You had a chance to earn a ridiculous living for you and your family by playing a game, you took the risk.
Football players could have easily used their free education to enter a different profession out of college.
But that's just part of the issue. What a lot of people did not know was that the minor, repeated sub-concussive collisions can also add up to long-term brain damage down the road. If the NFL knew about this and covered it up, that could be trouble.
Not every NFL player gets a chance to earn a ridiculous salary. There are lots of fringe guys who make minimum dollar-still like 250,000 a year. The average nfl career is about 4-5 years. Then one has to make a living elsewhere. Additionally, these are former players, and not too long ago pro athletes were not making as much money as they do now. Pro athletes have had an explosion in value the last couple decades. It is pretty well established that these kids aren't all taking advantage of their educations. These NFL guys who you say could have gotten their education also went to school not just to learn to get a career. They went to play football and try to go pro. Also, te NCAA doesn't really put academics first and, yes, the schools want their students to succeed, but the schools greater incentives are to win-see the SEC.
This situation isn't as cut and dry as you would make it. Of course the players knew that the game was/is dangerous. But, as the other response mentions, not everyone knew that small concussions can build up into long term brain damage. If the NFL knew that before everyone else and didnt reveal it or willfully misled its players, then it should be liable as any other company would be that fraudulently and intentionally misled it's players to their detriment-insert disclaimer about players being employees for their respective teams and not the NFL.
Just because they don't take their education seriously while they're going to school for free is their own stupid fault.
And a lot of people in this country would KILL to make $250,000 a year.
Why is it surprising that even minor hits to the head several 100 times could be detrimental to your health?
Punch yourself in the leg lightly enough that it doesn't hurt very bad. Now keep hitting the same spot 100 times, guess what's going to happen?
if there is evidence that the NFL knew about the increased risks of head injuries and did not disclose those risks to its players.
You also have to assume the NFL has a duty to disclose those risks, that they did not disclose, and that the players did not sign an agreement assuming the risks and liability for their paid participation (although it is possible a waiver of liability could be unenforceable w/r/t gross negligence, etc.).
There's an additional issue for instances in which medical teams told guys they were okay and sent them back in, or withheld potential effects of additional headshots.
Not saying this is a sure winner, but to outright dismiss the suit's prospects is really premature.
If the medical teams have actual Dr.s on staff than and this were the case (which I am not saying it is) than they should be suing the Dr.s, not the NFL. Add to that the fact that as I said many times already in this thread concussions have only just started to be understood and I don't see how you could even make a case for that.
Who did the doctors work for?
As always, follow the money.
Respondeat superior, bitch.
Those doctors almost certainly work for the teams. You could sue the franchise, or the coaches, if they were involved, but I doubt any prodding of a player onto the field could be traced back to the NFL. Furthermore, you'e have to prove that their putting the player back in the game was unreasonable: which means not tjhat they made a reasonable error, but rather that they knew, or should have known, the player was unfit to play, and pushed him back in. Further muddled by the fact that players probably often want to get back into the game and say they're "ok," although at some point that cannot be relied upon over physical symptoms.
1) Employers are liable for the negligence of employees.There are exceptions to that rule but they are hard to show and are unlikely in this scenario.
2) I have no idea who you are, so when you say may times already that concussions are just beginning to be understood, you'll have to excuse me if I just consider you to be an anonymous guy on the internet and take your statement with perhaps an electron sized grain of salt.
I'm not a nuerologist, but am a cardiologist and because of my love of sports (football and hockey specifically) I have been following the developments in the research of concussion for some time.
As to your first point I would have to say I disagree. I am not a lawyer but I would think that if an employer hired a Dr. who was passing along misinformation or was otherwise taking part in some sort of malpractice without the employers knowledge than it wouldn't be the employer who was at fault. It is the Dr. who has the expertise, not the employer. He hired the Dr. to look after the people because he (the employer) doesn't have the knowledge necessary to make those judgements.
I don't see it any different that the hospital that I work for. Technically they hired me so could be considered my employer in a loose sense. If I made mistakes it wouldn't be them who got sued, it'd be me.I just find it hard to believe that a court of any form would expect the employer to know more about concussions and their effects on players than a Dr...
No, if you did something bad it would be your employer who gets sued. This is because you don't have millions of dollars, but your employer does. They would sue your employer for poor workplace environment, lack of employee training, etc.
Here's an example: if you get hit by a truck, your family can sue the trucking company for millions of dollars in damages if the trucker is an employee of the company.
There is a bit of a difference between Dr.s and truckers. I don't know how it works in the USA but in Canada I am technically the employer (Dr.s are self employed) so the hospital doesn't get sued, we do. I am not sure that it would be similar in the NFL. They may well be considered the Dr.s employer.
Maybe, but these sort of differing facts would make the class action approach pointless.
Maybe, maybe not. Class actions don't require cases to be factually identical in every way. The issues would be the same.
But if a case by case analysis of the facts is needed (not necessarily in this suit, but in the case of suing specific doctors, as mentioned above), you can't sustain a class action.
Yes, but a case by case analysis isn't needed if the claim is simply that the NFL and its members/employees withheld information regarding concussions and the players all suffered the same harm (i.e. diminished lifespan, quality of life, vitality, etc.)
We can debate the merits of the class action industry all you want, but it's a debate for another day.
Very dumb, They knew it not girly game. THIS IS FOOTBALL!!! I believe they are looking for money thanks to Union.
There are a bunch of former football players scared shitless they're going to turn into Muhammad Ali.
Or... they knew it was not a girly game, but had confidence in the league mandated, approved, liscensed protective gear (helmet and other) would protect them.
The "Girly Man" Exception. The only counter to the Chewbacca Defense.
Players know what they are getting into when the play football. If they were that concered they shouldnt have played then. We all know the risks we take doing many things and we still go through with them. The only issue are when they are hidden risks. Nobody should have to be told that repeatedly slamming your head against things which gives you clear symptoms afterwards is bad. I agree there should be help for these guys by the NFL, but the rest of their claims are bogus to me.
over the last couple decades is that humans are absolutely horrible at processing and evaluating risk (this is why some people don't wear seatbelts--something like 90% of drivers think they are above average drivers).
This is especially true where they don't have complete information on those risks, which, I assume, is what the players will argue here.
I understand their argument, but to me, you dont need a warning telling you knives can cut you, matches can burn you, or that the beating your body will take playing football will cause some issues.
If the players win then it keeps sending a message to America that its not your fault you didnt think things through or didnt stop what you were doing, its someone else's fault. As a teacher I can tell you my students ALL think this way and its terrifying.
Idiocracy is starting to look less like sci-fi and more like an ominous prelude to an inescapable future.
is not the same as knowing the magnitude of the risk. Saying "they knew that slamming into each other at high rates of speed would cause damage to their bodies" isn't the same as saying "they knew the full magnitude of the risks that researchers may now be uncovering" (though I know the research is still debated).
Put another way: if people knew football turned people punch-drunk, why has that topic only really come out in the last couple years?
Exactly, why didnt it come out years before with suicide issues and brain issues. In my opinion, which is just an opinion and I could and oftne am wrong, its because of the economy and because of the mentality to blame everything on someone else and get paid for it.
Yes but... you do need a warning that coffee is hot!
Or that we are horrible at processing statistics. The NFL has a decent sized body of former players, enough for a good comparison to the US as an aggregate. I've not seen anything that compares percentage of former players who have depression with percentage of US citizens with the same characteristics that have been diagnosed the same way. Same with suicides.
2-3 suicides in the NFL is akin to how many in the general population? Is there a higher risk? I guess I can plead ignorance, but it seems like a few cases get blown out of proportion.
I agree that humans are not good at evaluating risks, but that doesn't make it someone elses fault when you decide to do something. You can't say "Humans are poor at evaluating risks so the NFL should pay these guys money since they were hurt".
The fact is they knew there was a risk and decided to do it anyway. I don't see there being the possibility of a cover-up here either. Concussions have not been well understood until the recent past and as knowledge was increasing, the rules of the game have been evolving. I don't see how they can win this case.
If people are bad at evaluating risks, it means the bureaucracy in charge needs to A. make those risks crystal clear and B. take what steps are available to mitigate those risks.
I have no idea whether the NFL did that here or not. I'm not taking any position on the merits at all. But the idea of the suit itself doesn't strike me as ridiculous. Would anyone really be totally shocked if the NFL failed to release full information on health risks?
but the fact that even today concussions aren't well understood makes it hard for me to imagine that the NFL has known more than they have been letting on over the past decade or so. The rules have been changing as new research has been done. It isn't like someone could say that the NFL hasn't made changes since head injuries have become better understood...at least IMHE they can't.
If people are bad at evaluating risk, doesn't it logically follow that beaurocracies (which are comprised of people) are equally bad on a larger scale?
Yeah I know what you are coming from. It’s sad because this is very common senses thing we all should know this football is a violet sport. If you are halfback you know you going get beat the sh*& of you by the D-line, LB, etc….. (But I will be thinking I am tough halfback nothing is to going hurt me.) You are in tough Sh*&
You no major in English?
No I think that only Northwestern is violet, Michigan is Maize and Blue.
If people are terrible at assessing risk, and that negates the "players knew that football is dangerous" defense, why doesn't the same logic apply to the NFL? At that point you're basically saying "we're dumb and you're way smarter than us, so you owe us money"
The only wy this should succeed is if they can PROVE the NFL was sitting on a ton of specific info that they deliberately and systematically withheld from the players. That's a high hurdle.
The sad thing is that this suit is probably the result of a few lawyers seeing a fat payday from a rich target, and these lawyers are just being exploited again.
Obviously the second instance of "lawyers" should have been "players"
I believe the whole point is that the players didn't know the risks, and they are alleging that the NFL did. I think it's easy to look at the game now and say "of course all that stuff is bad," but it wasn't too long ago that players could get knocked unconscious on the field and then go back in a few plays later. I think you're overestimating the degree to which people understood the nature of football-related head injuries (especially ones that are not huge, head-rattling hits).
I don't know any more about this case than anyone else, but it doesn't seem unreasonable that the NFL figured out how bad these head injuries were and didn't do anything about it until it creeped into the public consciousness. Or it could just as likely be the case that retired players want/need money because they're broke and/or the union doesn't provide enough medical coverage for them. This is why these things play out in court.
I'm asking honestly...what do you think the NFL would have to gain by doing that?
Also, concussions are still not very well understood today, so to think the NFL had a good understanding of them a decade ago is pretty far fetched IMHE.
You don't think the NFL would be interested in hiding information that indicates that repetitive brain trauma caused by football leads to what is essentially early onset alzheimer's and all the consequences therein? It's bad business when your product causes that kind of damage, and hiding it would be in their interest.
I'm not sayint that's what happened, or concussions and sub-concussive trauam associated with football is a direct cause of some of the recent former player tragedies we've seen, just saying that the NFL would certainly have an incentive to hide knowledge of such a connection.
Just to clarify, I'm not saying the players are right or that the NFL is going to or should lose. Just saying that there is a logic to the case that merits letting it play out.
But to answer your question, there are a few reasons I can think of as to why the league wouldn't acknowledge increased risk they knew about. Think about all the people who very loudly complain about how the NFL is ruining the game or watering it down or how it's barely football any more every time a rule is changed. Think about the increased subjectivity in officiating when it comes to penalizing helmet-to-helmet hits. Plus, it really makes the game look bad when the governoring body announces that the players we love watching are probably going to be suffering from memory loss, dementia, depression, loss of motor control, and generally degrade into the severely elderly by the time they hit their 50s.
Now, there's a lot of research that is pouring out right now about how things like acculumated subconcussive hits affect the brain long-term, and a lot of that research is very preliminary. Plus, the game has really sped up and gotten much more super-humanly athletic in recent years; I wouldn't be surprised if the NFL is scrambling to play catch-up on understanding health issues. But the former players seem to think otherwise. I have no idea who's right.
What do they have to gain by downplaying the risks of employment to the employees? Their whole business model depends on having the top-flight talent out on the field, not on the sideline. People don't pay to see the scrubs. The owners pressure the coaches to get injured players back on the field, the coaches know their jobs depend on it, and the league is run by the owners. The incentives to press the employees back into working is through the roof, particularly when in this case, much of the damage is allegedly long-term. It's like saying "what does a coal mine operator have to gain by downplaying health risks to the miners?" Uh, besides everything, you mean?
The point I am getting at is if owners knew, they would have nothing to gain by hiding it and everything to gain from finding ways to prevent it (which is what they are doing now). Also, you don't think the fact that they get paid in the millions of dollars to take part in this sport would more than offset the fact that the sport COULD cause some long lasting effects? Now who isn't being serious.
Look at fire fighters. They face far more serious risks than football players and get paid far less, yet continue to do their job. I just don't see the point of your post.
If you operated under the assumption that if the general public knew playing football could cause concussion and with that knowledge, the best players in that sport would quit playing I could see your point, but that would go against what we know of human behavior.
This is why I don't believe the NFL has anything to gain by hiding anything. It is in their interest to keep the best players healthy and on the field.
What if there's no easy way to prevent it? It seems like there might not be, especially if the theories on sub-concussive trauma being as bad or worse than actual concussions. It's been proposed that basically on every play lineman are doing long term damage to their brains from colliding with opposing lineman. How do you prevent it? Even with much of the public now more aware of the risks, there isn't anything remotely close to a consensus on how to prevent concussions. Without any answers, the NFL absolutely would hide the problem.
The motivation for the NFL isn't just about keeping the best players playing, it's about stemming moral outrage. If the masses know that by playing, all these players are dooming themselves to a very poor standard of living in their 50's, do they keep watching? I don't know, but it's a risk the NFL would rather not face. Additionally, if anyone in the NFL is taking the long view (I'd be surprised by this), they could be concerned about later generations not playing because those generations were prevented from playing by their parents, and never became the potential best players in the world they could have been.
People always knew that you could get concussions playing football, and that concussions were bad. But only in the last decade have researchers realized exactly how bad CTE is (such as that found in Andre Waters or Dave Duerson), or that such brain damage can result from repeated sub-concussive impacts.
However, that fact - that nobody knew how much brain risk football entails - works in the NFL's favor in this suit. If the NFL couldn't have known how much risk the players were taking, how could it have disclosed such risk to the players?
Exactly. It isn't like the NFL is in the business of doing concusion research and they suppressed their findings.
Whatever the NFL could learn about various concusion studies, the players would have the same access to. It is not possible that the NFL conspired to keep some big secret.
You can only kow what you are getting into if you have full access to information about the risks. That is the point. If the NFL (a big if) withheld information about the risks then, by definition, the players did NOT know what they were getting into.
Exactly, I know that if I biff it on my motorcycle and wrap my body around a tree my chances are slim to none that I'm going to come out alive. Its an implied risk that I accept because I love my motorcycle and riding.
Again, if the NFL covered up evidence then they have a claim for that but to say they did not know/or should have been told that smacking your head on the ground 20 times a game is bad thats just ridiculous.
Shouldn't the Players Union hold some responsibility too? I mean, they represent these players and if they are truly watching out for their best interest, why didn't they alert their members?
I find this whole thing to be ridiculous. Does someone really need to be warned that playing professional football is dangerous and can lead to long term health issues? Give me a break.
Here's an idea: QUIT USING YOUR SKULL AS A BATTERING RAM.
Yes, the players union shoud have some responsibility. But to see the regard the union has for the retirees just look at how shitty their pensions are. The NFL gets a lion's share of grief over it, but its not like the union ever stands up for the retirees.
When really the union ought to be getting most of the grief since they're the ones they are the ones that are supposed to represent the players' interest. The NFL looks out for the NFL and the Players' Association looks out for the players. Or at least it's supposed to.
Not judging who's right or wrong without actual facts of the case. I just keep thinking back a few months ago when Troy Aikman said the NFL may not keep the number one spot in sports much longer and all the analysts laughed at him. If the players win this case, hold on to your hats NFL fans.
The NFL will always be number one because there are two huge, but separate interests; fans and gamblers. Some pure fans may lose interest if the physical level of football is diminished, but there will always be gambling viewers as long as someone is able to rush for a 4-yd td in their fantasy league. No other sport has the sheer betting draw as the NFL and that aspect has nothing to do with big hits.
The same could be said for boxing and horse racing not too long ago.
What could be said for those sports? I'm having a hard time relating them to what I said.
They also used to be very popular due to gambling. Now it has shifted to football. Gambler's tastes seem to change periodically. I know it's a different demographic, but take the elderly for example. They used to hit the local bingos religiously. Now the chic thing is to go on bus trips to the casinos that seem to be popping up everywhere. Just because something is the top dog right now doesn't guarantee it will be five or ten years from now.
The NFL isn't popular due to gambling. The NFL evolved from a great spectator sport to one that became addicting to gamble on. People have always been able to bet on the outcomes of sports like boxing, horse racing, and even football. However, with the invention of the internet and instant access to statistics, people can essentially bet on every single play via fantasy football. How many fans of horse racing or boxing ever spent hours during the week evaluating players and lineups for an upcoming match or race? The NFL has created a whole new legion of gamblers that never even existed before and whose tastes won't shift. They don't want to simply gamble, they want to gamble on whether or not Adrian Peterson rushes for 165 yds and 2 TDs.
I understand your point but I still think that popularity is cyclical. Look at how popular fantasy baseball was when it started and now it's been mostly replaced by fantasy football. I'm also not sure how much financial influence a legion of fantasy leagues would have to keep the NFL solvent if they have money problems. It seems to me the gamblers would just move on to another sport the way they migrated to football.
As far as horse racing goes, I used to work with a guy who would be in his early 70's that knew all the horses at the local tracks in Columbus and would go to the Little Brown Jug religiously. He read the racing lines or whatever you call them and bet on races across the US all the time. I think that horse racing was the NFL for a lot of people in his generation.
Troy Aikman's not that smart. Too many concussions.
the pads and helmets they were putting on? They couldn't pay for doctors to evaluate themselves periodically? They couldn't put 2 and 2 together to realize that 250 pounds going full speed at 250 pounds might have some effect on one or both player? Where is the "secret" information on this open playing field? Were there secret death rays being spewed on the field from the luxury boxes? Drugs in the Gatorade? Can't see how they win this case, but I can see how they collect if the NFL rolls and settles to make the suit go away...
The NFL won't roll and settle, because that would open them up to similar suits from every player who has ever played. The NFL will fight this tooth and nail.
WalMart is famous for fighting pretty much every liability suit brought against it, whether or not it makes sense from an immediate economic perspective. They'll pay $50,000 in legal fees defending themselves against a suit that only asks for $10,000, with the reasoning that refusing to settle will help to dissuade future suits. Ethical or not, it makes sense for the NFL to take a similar approach.
I can't wait for the day where you have to sign a waiver at a restaurant saying that they fairly warned you that your coffee may be hot.
EDIT: I fully realize that this isn't a great comparison, I'm just commenting on the fact that this is the direction we are heading in an age where everyone is terrified of being sued for something that should have been common sense.
If you're referring to the McDonalds coffee case, it wasn't quite as frivolous as just a person spilling hot coffee on themselves and cashing in. McDonalds intentionally kept their coffee dangerously hot so that it would stay fresh longer and save them money, even though they knew this was likely to result in injuries. It was sort of a less deadly version of the famous Ford Pinto case.
A good summary is here.
I was making a general statement.
What a waste of time. I don't see how the players can win this.
Have a look at previous tobacco legislation.
Focus in on the guy who used to run the NFL's concussion research programs (the guy screwed up Rick DiPietro's career as well). There's your roadmap to victory.
If an employer is aware of a risk to its employees, and fails to notify the employee of those risks (or worse, actively conceals the risks from the employee), then the employer may be liable for the resulting injuries.
I'm not saying it's a slam dunk; the facts are murky at best. But it's based on a really sound legal theory.
People need and want things to blame for erratic behavior and football is a great scapegoat. Brian posted something a while back that said that the per capita suicide rate among football players is actually much much lower than the general population. It is simply because football players are so high profile that it seems like there is so much suicide, which MAY result from depression, which MAY result from concussions, which MAY result from football. I mean, you're making three ludicrous leaps of faith. As a scientist, this type of irrational jumping-to-conclusions should be avoided.
Although there is a clear link of football to brain damage, brain damage to concussions, concussions to depression, and depression to suicide, it should also be noted that suicide is most often (the most general cases of suicide) not related to brain damage. If depression is the accepted trigger of suicide, then it is STILL irrational to say that brain damage was the cause of depression because the vast majority of cases of depression probably have nothing to do with brain damage. In other words, there is a high (> 90%) chance that these players who commit suicide could be depressed from other things, and not the brain damage.
Finally - on the note of having my prospective children prospectively play football - there are hundreds of thousands of ex-peewee, ex-junior high, ex-high school, and ex-college football players that are 100% normal functioning members of society with no depression or problems. I don't see anything wrong with it until high school, but playing college ball would not be advisable.
I'm beyond tired of hearing the logical fallacy that head injuries from CTE cause these events. A couple of poorly understood pathologic studies does not yet a medical breakthrough make. That's not to say there's nothing there; but let's at least be sensical in the conclusions we draw and not start with lawsuits and policy changes on correlations alone.
I wouldn't expect this suit to last very long. The NFL has been handing out fines for head shots for a long time. They make the players wear helmets and pads. Point being, they have been trying to prevent head injuries for a long time. The severe quality of life imapct that concussions have wasn't known until recently. Even if it had been known, the players would have still played (obvious since nobody's quitting now). There is no known way to prevent consussions, other than the numerous steps that the NFL has taken to penalize and fine players for headshots. If anything, the people who should be getting sued are the ones who put bounties out on injuring players, especially since that was happening recently.
The issue is that they covered up information...not that they didn't try to "make the players play safer" the players are saying that you didn't tell us what concussions would do to us, even though you knew!
I guess my point is that even if the NFL had this kind of information (incredibly unlikely since I doubt that 2,000 former NFLers have heard about some secret studies and memos that the general public has not seen yet), it wouldn't have made any difference whatsoever either on the decision that the players make to play the game, or on the safety rules and equipment.
The NFL knows the effeffects of concussions on the human body when the medical community doesn't even fully understand it....I guess we have been asking the wrong people all this time.
There are no end of risks in life. Trying to eliminate all risks is a costly course of action, and it won't work.
- You can get hurt on a bicycles, so be sure to wear helmets.
- You can get hurt skate boarding and skating, so wear elbow and knee pads.
- You can get hurt water skiing, so don't water ski.
- You can get hurt on ladders, so explain the risks.
- You can get hurt with hot coffee, so make sure people know it is hot.
- You can get hurt with undercooked meat, so overcook it, and no raw meat.
- You can get hurt with pesticides in fish, so don't eat fish.
- You can get hurt with too much salt, so eliminate salt.
- You can get hurt with unprotected sex, so wear a condom.
- You can get hurt on farms, so no farmer's kids under 14 should drive tractors.
All the advice and regulation is well meant, and some of it is even good. But here are several problems.
- A sense you are safe if you use protection. This is one of the biggest problems in football, but it is a problem with almost all risks. Life is dangerous. Having seat belts and airbags does not mean that you are safe: drive safely. Wearing a football helmet doesn't mean you won't get concussions: don't lead with your helmet/head. No matter what is printed on the coffee cup or the cigarette box or the side of the ladder, you can still get hurt.
- Risk exhaustion. A certain segment of the population finally gives up. A friend who is a public health professor mentioned that they are seeing an alarming rebound in HIV statistics. Why? The high risk population is tired of trying to avoid all the risks.
- Idiocy. I have twin 11 year olds. No matter what they are told, sometimes, they still do idiot things. Some people never grow out of this stage.
I personally believe that both the NFL owners and the players are complicit in ignoring many of the risks inherent in football, and this suit is simply an attempt by many players to get more of the pie. Another unpleasant reality is that better than 78% of former NFL players are broke within 3 years of retirement, and have nothing to show for their salaries while playing ball. What do broke, bankrupt former players have to lose in being part of a class action suit? Who knows, maybe the thinking is that a mere $20,000 or $50,000 or $100,000 would make a huge difference to someone who has virtually nothing.
I agree on the excessive protection of our society creating a distorted sense of safety. My dad has railed about this for years. The seat belt thing reminds me of something he told a class one time. Instead of putting more safety features on cars, we should make them more dangerous. Put nitroglycerine in the body panels and then people would drive more carefully.
Edit: Now that I've written this, I realize this may not have been an original idea. It actually sounds like something George Carlin might have said but my dad repeated. Either way, the point's the same.
That's actually one of the bigger hurdles to cutting down on head injuries in the NFL, in my opinion. Players have a false sense of security because they're wearing helmets (which protect the skull and do almost nothing to protect the brain) and assume they can whack each other in the head without consequence.
IIRC, isn't the "safest" helmet for preventing brain injury not even required equipment for the NFL? I don't remember the brand, but it seems I heard this on the radio, which was probably ESPN, so it may be complete BS.
I have no idea, but logically the league must not require players to wear the safest helmet. Players have a choice in the helmet that they wear and different players wear different things, so logically the league must not require they use the single most safe helmet, otherwise they'd all be wearing the same one.
but that's like saying people would have less sex if you simply made condoms less effective. Protection in the form of helmets, condoms, and even seatbelts aren't in place for the major blasts-- they also serve to protect from incedental contact as well. In reality, only some people would hit less hard or with better form if their helmets seemed less safe-- and would probably not seem as effective in comparison to their competition.
Think about the benefits of football as well. While I am not so ignorant to claim that every athelete is a poor innercity kid willing to risk everything to improve their situation, it is very true that while the danger increases from playing football (more exposure to hits from bigger, faster people), the benefits also go up. If you take it as a given that most of us played HS football (I didn't), how many of you would have played for four more years just to get free education? How many would have played for six of seven more years if you knew you were getting ten, fifteen, or twenty million dollars in adiditon to the cashe that comes with being a former professional athelete? I am pretty sure that just about everyone would, though that might change as we learn more. Nevertheless, I can only feel so bad for former players who recieved so much benefit from their careers-- even though I admit that my pity goes up as you look further and further back into history and see players who didn't recieve the massive benefits players have been recieving over the past fifteen years (at least).
Regarding your first point, I'm not saying that safety is a bad thing. I'm saying that a lot of people misunderstand what kind of safety a helmet provides. Helmets prevent skull fractures, primary, and only offer limited protection from things like concussions. So, to use your condom example, it's more like people assuming that because a woman takes birth control that you don't have to use a condom for protection from STDs. It's the false assumption that one form of safety carries over to another form of safety.
I think you're probably right, though, that a lot of players (regardless of SES background) wouldn't pass up the chance at a full ride scholarship or an opportunity to play in the NFL (although, Sweat from OSU did just that). But that's kind of besides the point of the legal case in question; that's counterfactual thinking that's not proveable one way or another.
I can't remember the name of the book, but read it during a freshmen class that showed that stastically seatbeats actually caused more accidents due to that the assurance of safety led to more reckless driving.
Isn't there already a class action lawsuit against the NFL brought by former players for this exact same allegation? How is this one different?
Anyone in this post claiming the NFL isn't severely exposed to liability here, without knowing all the facts, is living in the 1960s.
The Ford Pinto, cigarettes, just because you know something is dangerous doesn't mean you had complete information about how dangerous it was.
Focus in on the guy who used to run the NFL's concussion research program. His BS doctoring screwed up Wayne Chrebet and Rick DiPietro, to name but two guys.
There is a roadmap to success for these players. If you don't think there are people that will be in that courtroom able to drive that road you're silly.
Furthermore, all the actions that Roger Goodell has taken to "make the game safer" should indicate to you that they are playing the Tampa 2 defense in order to try and minimize their exposure to liability.
but if what I understand is correct (and it may not be) the players are alleging that the NFL knew things about concussions that they didn't reveal to the players. I just don't think that is true. What you are describing is malpractice and certainly there could have been some of that going on on the part of certain doctors, but this case doesn't seem to be focusing on that.
I have a hard time believing the NFL had more information on head injuries than the medical community did and that is why I don't think they can win.
Would be the establishment of a long term, independant study (including many of the players involved in suit) on top of an increase in health care coverage for retired players. I am not sure they should-- or, rather, will--recieve much money exept in the form of reduced medical costs.
I think those large scale studies are already ongoing (I believe UM is actually involved in the primary one that the NFL has contracted out). It's obviously a very good idea to research this stuff, but it will have no bearing on the allegations in the case. The case hinges on the players' assertion that the NFL already knew about this stuff and didn't tell anyone.
But I was refering to the best possible outcome. I still don't think the players will recieve giant checks in the mail at the end-- it just seems like they are more likely to reicieve insurance cards with a small amount to help cover the cost of already paid-out medical costs-- maybe five ro ten thousand per player, max.
They may have a case, but this strikes me as similar to people suing tobacco companies for getting lung cancer or people suing McDonald's for being fat. Sure, you may have a legal case for it, but did you really think it was good for you when you got concussions / smoked a pack a day / ate 2 big macs?
The tobacco companies were sued. They lost because they hid the facts of smoking from their customers. You haven't heard about the settlement funds set up in the billions of dollars in the late 1990s? Unbelievable.
Terrible, terrible example which proves my point - the NFL is seriously exposed.
The tobacco companies KNEW and were withholding information. In order for the cases to be similar you would have to believe that the NFL know more about head injuries and concussions than the leading researchers in the world. I can't see that being the case.
In the world of misrepresentations, you have two roads you can hoe:
(1) fraudulent misrepresentation: you knew the risk but ignored it for your own gain or someone else's detriment;
(2) negligent misrepresentation: you should have recognized the risk, but you didn't, to someone else's detriment.
Take your pick - both are in play here.
I think you are making fair points and offering an educated opinion so I don't want you to think I am arguing with you to be a dick, I just think I disagree with what is in play.
For the first scenario if I understand correctly (and I may not as I'm not a lawyer) the NFL would have had to know the risk for this to apply. I think it is clear that neither the NFL nor the medical community at large really know the risk or linkage between head injuries and long-term health effects so I don't think that would apply.
In the second scenario you would have to believe that the NFL SHOULD know more than the medical community does if we were to come to the conclusion that they SHOULD have know the health effects of head injuries when the medical community doesn't.
I'm not saying the case is unwinable because I'm not a lawyer. What I am saying is it isn't reasonable to expect the NFL to know more about head injuries than medical researchers...that just doesn't make sense.
I would also say that it isn't like the NFL hasn't been trying (albeit unsucessfully) to curb these injuries in the way of fines, better equipment etc. So I just can't fathom a legal system that would rule in favor of the players in this instance> Not saying it can't happen, just that it shouldn't happen.
Sure, you may have a legal case for it, but did you really think it was good for you when you got concussions / smoked a pack a day / ate 2 big macs?
So despite the fact that the law is on their side, they shouldn't sue (or shouldn't win)? Interesting argument, though I doubt you'll see this one coming from the NFL.
So knowing what they know now, these 2000 players would not have accepted their multi-million dollar or at least 6 figure incomes to play football. They would have said thanks but no thanks, I'll be a teacher instead and make 30k and be safer.
Well, they don't have to prove that to win the lawsuit so your hypothetical is irrelevant to the case.
Correct me if I'm wrong(and point me to the study that proves I'm wrong) . But there still is no real evidence that concussions lead to serious brain damage and mental issue later in life. I think there is an assumed and generally accepted correlation between the two but it has never really been proven true. I have yet to see a study that shows more than some players who may have had multiple concussions while playing later in life had problems. What I would like to at least see is a comparative study that shows that playing in the NFL leads to an increase in the lively hood that you will eventually develop dementia or depression or whatever else. If the percentage of people who have never played in the NFL is the same or more as the number who have played in the NFL who develop the same type of issues, there is no case. If I was an NFL lawyer that would atleast be my argument.
which is based on absolutly nothing credible is that cognition and mobitliy is impacted pretty severly while "emotional" or psycological effects are roughly about average when compared to retierees.
"In the biggest sports lawsuit ever, the former players allege that the "NFL exacerbated the health risk by promoting the game's violence" and "deliberately and fraudulently" misled players about the link between concussions and long-term brain injuries."
I'll mention a largely non-football example first - dementia pugilistica, which is a variant of what is now called CTE, has been reasonably well-documented (moreso with the advent of effectvie neuroimaging) since at least the 1950s, I believe, with calls for outright bans of the sport arising even then because of this concern. Still, fights were heavily marketed and I have a suspicion that trainers and managers probably didn't let their clients in on the fact that this could happen, or at least downplayed the risks lest it interfere with their revenue.
As for the NFL, there were some rare cases of second-impact syndrome (I say that because SIS diagnoses, in my understanding, are pretty rare) through the 1980s and early 90s, so despite this being an uncommon problem, you can't say that the league was wholly unaware of what could potentially happen to players even going on 30 years ago.
I would love to find something to confirm this, but I remember hearing that, in the 1960s, ANSI had developed standards which could be applied to helmets to minimize head injuries, but that the NFL did not adopt them into their safety language for over a decade. If I am correct, amateur levels of the game - NCAA included - began to make changes to increase safety in the 1970s as well, so it would be impossible for the NFL to say that it didn't know or didn't recognize trends which would indicate a problem that they should be addressing. I wouldn't buy any argument from ignorance coming from the league. After all, didn't the MLB make helmets mandatory in 1971 to reduce the risk of, well, head injuries?
Even with all that, it will be interesting to see how exactly this case pans out. I have to wonder if they claim they were misled because of the failure of the NFL to make appropriate changes to the rules when there was clear evidence of a problem and other leagues and associations were in fact making those changes. It is not unrealistic to think that financial considerations came before the safety of players in the eyes of management back in the day because there is precedent for this sort of thinking in other sectors and it is sadly a cultural foible that businesses have worked to overcome through the last few decades.
Nowhere does it state that current players are joining in on the lawsuit. The problem with all of this is perception. The NFL does not want to be perceived as a league that doesn't care about the people making them their money. But, currently active players are not storming out of buildings stating that they will never play another down until they are safe, especially in a time where concern is higher than it has been in the history of the sport. The only logical explanations for this type of behavior by current players are 1) current players know that all the changes in the world won't protect them and 2) they love the sport and the money that comes with playing the game.
If zero current players hang up the cleats given the information presented today, is it not reasonable to believe that given the same information 30 years ago the same number of players would walk away from the game?
It is estimated that two football players running full speed at 20 miles per hour can generate 1,800 pounds of force in a head-on collision.
A few problems here:
20 mph is the equivalent of running 40 yards in just under 4.1 seconds, faster than almost every player.
Also, a player's 40 speed is usually measured in an ideal manner:
-Track or gym surface
-Indoors or good weather conditions
-Running shoes or sneakers
Someone running the 40 is likely to be more well rested than someone in the middle of a football game, and therefore able to run faster.
Perhaps I'm being nitpicky, and even if the worst collisions are only 900 lbs of force, that still sounds pretty bad. It seems that the plaintiffs lose a bit of credibility from what seems an exaggeration.
Give me a break. This is like the person who brought a lawsuit against McDonald's claiming injury from hot coffee. Most players I'm sure had 10+ years of playing experience before reaching the NFL. Nobody forced them to play and they were certainly aware of risks.
Seems like just a few weeks back I was pointing out that the McDonalds case had substantial merit. I'm starting to suspect you guys don't hang on my every word.
I like this a lot. The NFL can afford to litigate to the point of bringing legal costs too high for ex-players with no money and one or two undamaged brain cells left. With 2,000 players here, they can get great legal representation, and the legal costs won't be prohibitive.
...I have never been a big fan of the NFL; this just makes me hate that league. With incomprehensibly big and fast guys smashing into each other with uheard of force, getting concussed repeatedly in careers that last for years.
And in the process, screwing things up for college football.
The first thing that I'd do in the concussion controversy is ban the NFL. Guys would be done playing football when they complete their college eligibility. After that, they are on their own. Most of them should be strongly advised to get real jobs. For their own health and well-being. Force them to focus on academics; with football just a collegiate extracurricular activity, not a profession.
In collegiate athletics, strict concussion guidelines would be in place. Doctors would have no financial interest in putting unfit players on the field.
Can you explain the rationale that would make a legal ban on professional football something that can actually be executed under the laws of this country? Also, without trying to delve into politics, what kind of society would we live in where a persons livelihood (brought about by consensual activity between adults) could be banned?
Sounds like an absolutely horrible idea to me, on all fronts.