NFL settles concussion lawsuit with former players for $765 million
Like any multi-billion dollar business would have done, the NFL took a step toward making a major problem go away on Thursday when it announced a settlement in the concussion lawsuit filed against the league by roughly 4,500 former players. The price tag? $765 million.
According to the NFL’s official settlement release, $675 million will go toward compensating former players who have suffered cognitive injury or their families (in cases in which the players have passed away). Another $75 million will be allocated for baseline medical exams and $10 million will go toward a separate research and education fund.
“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,” former US District Judge Layn Phillips, the mediator in the case, said. “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.”
When broken down and divided among the 4,500 players who were involved with the lawsuit, the settlement comes out to roughly $150,000 per former player or their family. If a retired player’s condition is deemed to have worsened over time, that player can apply for a supplemental payment, although NFL.com’s Albert Breer reported that those payments will be capped at $5 million.
Of course, front and center on the NFL’s settlement release was the following blurb.
“The settlement does not represent, and cannot be considered, an admission by the NFL of liability, or an admission that plaintiffs’ injuries were caused by football. Nor is it an acknowledgement by the plaintiffs of any deficiency in their case. Instead, it represents a decision by both sides to compromise their claims and defenses, and to devote their resources to benefit retired players and their families, rather than litigate these cases.”
Simply put, this is a win or the NFL. The league can certainly afford a $765 million settlement while it remains at the peak of its popularity. By settling, the NFL avoids the potential of having to go through the discovery process and dealing with investigators finding that they were negligent.
In addition, a judge has requested that neither side comment on the situation beyond what has been written in the statement. Again, very good news for the NFL.