Former NFL players file lawsuit claiming league illegally used prescription drugs to mask injuries

PainkillersWhile the NFL continues to scramble for ways to quiet all of its former players who claim they are suffering from the long-term effects of head injuries, the league is facing new legal complications. On Tuesday, a lawsuit that has been signed by more than 400 plaintiffs was filed accusing the NFL of illegally using prescription pain killers to mask injuries.

The suit, which was filed by attorney Steven Silverman in San Francisco, alleges that the NFL regularly provided players with prescription medications to allow them to keep playing and dangerously speed up recovery times. Two of the more high-profile plaintiffs are former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon and Hall of Fame defensive end Richard Dent.

Players claim team doctors misused drugs to the point where broken bones were not reported. Instead, teams would allegedly pump players full of pills and injections to mask the pain and send them back onto the field.

As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk noted, the players who are involved with the suit will face a number of hurdles before action can be taken. The NFL will argue that the matter should be handled through private arbitration and not in a courtroom. The league will also try to prove that players assumed all health risks involved with their profession.

However, the players who have and are expected to receive settlements from the concussion lawsuits faced the same obstacles, and they have overcome many of them. If players can prove that doctors illegally prescribed painkiller and failed to inform them of possible health risks associated with their injuries and the medications they were taking for them, the NFL could end up with another major problem on its hands.

Mark Cuban: NFL is 10 years from imploding

mark-cubanDallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is one of the most intelligent businessmen in the world. He made his own fortune — which is rumored to be well over $2 billion — with a series of successful investments and business decisions. So when Cuban says the NFL is 10 years from “imploding,” there’s reason to believe he may be onto something.

On Sunday, Cuban spoke about how the NFL is at risk of overexposure. The NFL has already announced that CBS will feature Thursday night games next season. There will also be two Saturday games on CBS later in the year and has been speculation that Wednesday night football could be a possibility in the future.

“When pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered,” Cuban said, via Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. “And they’re getting hoggy. When you try to take it too far, people turn the other way. I’m just telling you, when you got a good thing and you get greedy, it always, always, always, always, always turns against you.”

The NFL is currently putting out its strongest product ever, with fantasy football at the peak of its popularity. As a result, ratings remain fairly high even when teams like the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns meet in a meaningless matchup. Cuban cautioned that it won’t always be that way.

“They’re trying to take over every night of TV,” he said. “And initially, it’ll be the biggest rating thing there is. Then, if they get Saturday, now they’re impacting college. And then if they go to Wednesday, at some point, people get sick of it.

“It drives you in a different direction. Now, it’s ‘my team’s game is on Wednesday.’ Or, ‘now my team’s on Thursday.’ It was just so easy when I could plan on Sunday or maybe Monday. And if you get no days off in football and your team is playing one of those days, it’s just one of the rules I use: when pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. Fantasy football, people pay attention to it. But we’ll see.”

While it’s hard to imagine people getting sick of NFL football, Cuban’s theory makes sense. Tracking fantasy plays on weeknights or Saturdays (when there could be a game like Auburn-Alabama being played) is one thing. But people could eventually get annoyed if their team plays on five different nights throughout the course of a season. Will it result in an “implosion” for the NFL? That seems like a stretch, but perhaps Thursday, Saturday and even Wednesday football simply won’t last.

Rookie Quarterbacks on Opposite Ends of Puzzling NFL Attendance Figures

Statistics can sometimes be misleading. Attendance numbers are no exception. But that doesn’t mean they are not interesting to examine.

Here are some numbers to think about. As of week seven, the New York Jets are the only team to have totaled over 500,000 fans in attendance — both at home and on the road. No surprise there. The real surprise is the team that follows them. No, it’s not Dallas or Green Bay. Drum roll please. Did you think it would be Carolina? The Panthers have attracted over 482,000 people to their games.

[Read more...]

NFL Selling Photos of James Harrison’s Illegal Hit on Mohamed Massaquoi

We told you earlier about how the NFL has begun taking the right steps to minimize head shots by handing out hefty fines for brutal hits that occurred over the weekend.  We might be taking that back.  The fines are still a good idea, but is it morally correct for the NFL to be profiting from memorabilia that has to do with those same illegal hits?

Pro Football Talk has brought to our attention that the photo above is available in the NFL.com photo store for a price of anywhere from $15.95 to $249.95, depending on the size you’d like to purchase.  Huh?  So the hits are dangerous, illegal, and unacceptable, but it’s okay to sell them as wall ornaments?  Something’s not right here.

If the NFL is trying to send a message, they need to send it through all mediums.  Selling a photo of the an illegal hit is simply glorifying the play and implying that it’s an exciting part of the game.  If that’s the way the league’s going to treat the situation, they shouldn’t expect anyone to take them seriously.

NFL Quarterbacks Call Breast Cancer Awareness Ball a ‘Disaster’

As I’m sure we’ve all noticed, the NFL has gone above and beyond in recognizing National Breast Cancer Awareness Month on game days.  Since the beginning of October, players have been sporting all sorts of pink accessories including wristbands, chinstraps, and cleats in an effort to help raise awareness for a genuinely good cause.

However, there is one change that may not be sitting well with the players.  After there were some rumblings that players were having trouble with the footballs being used during October, ESPN analyst Tim Hasselbeck claims he text messaged some quarterbacks who said the balls “have been a disaster.”  According to Hasselbeck, quarterbacks have been complaining that the balls, which feature the pink ribbon breast cancer logo, get slick because they are brand new.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello has refuted the claim, saying the balls are no different from regular balls.  However, if enough quarterbacks say they’re having an issue, I don’t see why they can’t do away with that one small piece of the cause.  Having a popular and marketable organization like the NFL work to raise awareness about breast cancer is obviously a tremendous idea, but there are plenty of other ways it can be done.  Players are doing their best to sport pink in any way they can and I don’t think it would affect the cause to make a small change.

Then again, it’s the NFL and nothing irritates the league more than players trying to call the shots.  Otherwise, we’d all be able to sleep at night knowing there will be football in 2011.

NFL Wants Senator Feingold to Remove Randy Moss Moon From Campaign Ad

The NFL has ordered Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) to remove a brief, but infamous, clip of Randy Moss pretending to moon the Lambeau Field crowd from his campaign ad.  I have to say, I’m with Shutdown Corner on this one in thinking the NFL is doing Feingold a favor.  I don’t even understand what he’s trying to get at and I’m sure people from Wisconsin don’t need to see that again.  See for yourself:

I’ll admit, I’ve done the same thing with a few school projects before.  A few of my friends and I have been known to see a sports clip or something and vow to force it into our PowerPoint presentation one way or another.  It usually goes over well with the sports fans in the class and is a complete miss with everyone else, oftentimes including the teacher.  That’s pretty much what I see happening here with Feingold’s campaign.

Signal Stealing Made Easy?

What should the NFL do to assure fans an incident like Spygate will never occur again?  Throw some microphones on the centers so everyone can hear the names of your plays, that way teams don’t have to steal the play-calls — they can just have them.

The NFL has asked teams to consider allowing their centers to wear a microphone which would allow fans at home to hear what’s going on inside the huddle.  Of course, doing so would be optional.  For whatever reason, the Bengals decided to let their center wear one last Sunday when they played the Patriots.  Maybe they thought they had nothing to lose since the Pats would steal the plays one way or another no matter how secretive they tried to be?

All joking aside, I don’t see why any NFL team would agree to this.  If you broadcast the name of your play to the public and then go out and execute that play, aren’t you letting the opponent in on a few secrets?  I suppose teams could always use it to their advantage and not even run the actual play that they call in an attempt to throw the opposition off, but I don’t see why coaches would want to make more work for themselves during an already brief week of preparation.

I guess a feature like this is cool for people at home, but the signals are likely going to be complete Gibberish to the casual fan anyway.  If this becomes popular I’ll be extremely surprised.

Microphones on centers create strategic concerns [ProFootballTalk]