NFL, Former Players Reach $765M Concussion Settlement

Joe D Reid

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jan 15, 2004
3,349
Alameda, CA
Link.
 
Still needs court approval, but the judge issued a pretty unusual statement praising the parties for their settlement work, so looks like a done deal. The $765M amounts to about 1/6 of one season's worth of TV revenue for the league. 
 
EDIT: The class site breaks the settlement  NFL does not admit liability.Money goes out  as follows:
(A)  Baseline medical exams, the cost of which will be capped at $75 million;
(B) A separate fund of $675 million to compensate former players who have suffered cognitive injury or their families;
(C) A separate research and education fund of $10 million;
(D) The costs of notice to the members of the class, which will not exceed $4 million;
(E)  $2 million, representing one-half of the compensation of the Settlement Administrator for a period of 20 years; and
(F)  Legal fees and litigation expenses to the plaintiffs’ counsel, which amounts will be set by the District Court. (i.e. on top of the $765M).
 
Apparently there were about 4,500 players in the class, which works out to about $150K per player in compensation. Feels like that would go pretty fast if your head wasn't right.
 

riboflav

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 20, 2006
7,818
NOVA
Does this settlement mean that all the comparisons to big tobacco and asbestos scandals are moot at this point?
 

Joe D Reid

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jan 15, 2004
3,349
Alameda, CA
Maybe. It's possible that a couple of deep-pocketed former players opt out of the class settlement and keep pursuing their claims. If that happens, it's possible for the league to take an additional PR hit if bad stuff turns up during discovery. But otherwise it goes a long way towards clearing the decks of potential litigation down the road.
 

ifmanis5

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 29, 2007
41,885
Rotten Apple
I'm surprised the NFL didn't come up with a waiver agreement years ago that they make players sign that essentially says- I know what I'm getting myself into and I won't sue the league due to the injuries I sustain on the field. Upshaw would have been dumb enough to agree to it.
 

ifmanis5

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 29, 2007
41,885
Rotten Apple
Listening to Kevin Turner talk on the conference call now. Jesus, he sounds like he's been to hell and back. Poor guy.
 

curly2

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 8, 2003
4,119
Lose Remerswaal said:
NFL made out like bandits here.
It's amazing how everyone bends over to the NFL. This is like settling for a nickel on the dollar.
 

H78

Fists of Millennial Fury!
SoSH Member
Jul 22, 2009
4,613
ifmanis5 said:
I'm surprised the NFL didn't come up with a waiver agreement years ago that they make players sign that essentially says- I know what I'm getting myself into and I won't sue the league due to the injuries I sustain on the field. Upshaw would have been dumb enough to agree to it.
 
Me too. It blows my mind. These guys all knew what they were getting themselves into and a legal oversight, in my mind, is why they've gotten away with the lawsuit in the first place.
 
I can't wait to sue my employer in 20 years for millions of dollars because the work I agreed to do for them required me to stare at a computer screen for 8-10 hours a day, thus deteriorating my eyesight over time and possibly triggering migraines which have affected my quality of life.
 
The whole thing is a joke, IMO, but because the NFL rakes in so much cash people side with the players regardless of how their argument makes them come off as unwilling to accept the consequences of their own actions. Remember - these guys all did this to each other! They did it willingly for fame and fortune. The NFL wasn't some evil emperor forcing them to play in these games. The case sort of felt like a bunch of guys who didn't manage their finances well trying to get one more cut from the NFL.
 
SoSH lawyers: Please be kind with how you tear me apart for saying that.
 

crystalline

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 12, 2009
5,713
JP
H78-
Yup, completely agreed.
Also, low income Army enlistees shouldn't receive medical support if they are injured, especially head injuries affecting cognitive function. Because damn, when they enlisted they knew what they were getting into. They did it to make money.

Many guys who play in the NFL or in college come from low income families and have few other career options. While guys like Goodell and the owners mostly care about making money off the players and if not threatened with future legal liability would care little about players health. Similar to many members of our military (the guys who fight come from poor backgrounds and enlist while the guys who choose the wars and send them come from rich families).
Lawsuits like this need to be big enough to align the medical interests of the players with the bottom lines of the owners. It's easy to jump on that bandwagon when the NFL is minting money and many of the injured players were marginal roster guys or played in the past when salaries were lower.

Edit: here's another way to say it: I want the owners to accept the consequences of their actions - of ignoring players head injuries and not dealing with it until guys like Junior Seau are killing themselves and histological proof is arising.
 

Reverend

for king and country
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jan 20, 2007
45,086
crystalline said:
H78-
Yup, completely agreed.
Also, low income Army enlistees shouldn't receive medical support if they are injured, especially head injuries affecting cognitive function. Because damn, when they enlisted they knew what they were getting into. They did it to make money.

Many guys who play in the NFL or in college come from low income families and have few other career options. While guys like Goodell and the owners mostly care about making money off the players and if not threatened with future legal liability would care little about players health. Similar to many members of our military (the guys who fight come from poor backgrounds and enlist while the guys who choose the wars and send them come from rich families).
Lawsuits like this need to be big enough to align the medical interests of the players with the bottom lines of the owners. It's easy to jump on that bandwagon when the NFL is minting money and many of the injured players were marginal roster guys or played in the past when salaries were lower.
 
Agreed.
 
We also don't know what kind of information the teams and league has or if there were issues of misleading players about the effects or what. I'm not saying such things happened or there is such info, but we don't know, and one of the reason people settle court cases is to keep information from becoming public.
 
To that end, I find the settlement disappointing. The anecdotal evidence suggests that former players are losing their minds--I love football, but would have liked to see more information thrust into the public record.
 

H78

Fists of Millennial Fury!
SoSH Member
Jul 22, 2009
4,613
crystalline said:
H78-
Yup, completely agreed.
Also, low income Army enlistees shouldn't receive medical support if they are injured, especially head injuries affecting cognitive function. Because damn, when they enlisted they knew what they were getting into. They did it to make money.

Many guys who play in the NFL or in college come from low income families and have few other career options. While guys like Goodell and the owners mostly care about making money off the players and if not threatened with future legal liability would care little about players health. Similar to many members of our military (the guys who fight come from poor backgrounds and enlist while the guys who choose the wars and send them come from rich families).
Lawsuits like this need to be big enough to align the medical interests of the players with the bottom lines of the owners. It's easy to jump on that bandwagon when the NFL is minting money and many of the injured players were marginal roster guys or played in the past when salaries were lower.

Edit: here's another way to say it: I want the owners to accept the consequences of their actions - of ignoring players head injuries and not dealing with it until guys like Junior Seau are killing themselves and histological proof is arising.
 
 
Reverend said:
 
Agreed.
 
We also don't know what kind of information the teams and league has or if there were issues of misleading players about the effects or what. I'm not saying such things happened or there is such info, but we don't know, and one of the reason people settle court cases is to keep information from becoming public.
 
To that end, I find the settlement disappointing. The anecdotal evidence suggests that former players are losing their minds--I love football, but would have liked to see more information thrust into the public record.
 
I don't disagree that the NFL should fund preventative research and conduct proactive testing to limit the physical damage the sport causes to its players. To that extent, I do agree with the players' motives.
 
But considering that accounts for 11% of the total payout associated with this settlement it's hard to argue that was the biggest motivating factor behind the lawsuit. The rest is going directly to players to compensate them for injuries suffered while voluntarily playing a professional sport for personal gain (not fighting a war for their country).
 
I really don't think it's fair to liken their situation to that of injured war veterans, but we can agree to disagree.
 

parallellines

lurker
Aug 7, 2011
2
H78 said:
 
Me too. It blows my mind. These guys all knew what they were getting themselves into and a legal oversight, in my mind, is why they've gotten away with the lawsuit in the first place.
 
Wasn't the major factor in this lawsuit the suggestion that the long-term risks of repeated concussions  were unknown to the players but known to the league? You never saw players suing the NFL because their knees broke down or had severe arthritis, because those were known, publicized risks. But if the NFL really knew about the head injury issues and tried to hide it from the players, then I'd say they got off very, very lightly here. And it probably suggests that the players weren't going to be able to prove that the NFL knew the full extent of the risks.
 

Devizier

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 3, 2000
12,577
Somewhere
BigSoxFan said:
The NCAA agrees with this settlement.
 
Yep. This is a bad precedent, in my opinion. But some of these guys are broke and truly desperate. Who can blame them for taking the $50-150K and paying off some of their medical expenses, home/hospice care, etc.
 

MarcSullivaFan

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 21, 2005
3,412
Hoo-hoo-hoo hoosier land.
H78 said:
 
 
 
I don't disagree that the NFL should fund preventative research and conduct proactive testing to limit the physical damage the sport causes to its players. To that extent, I do agree with the players' motives.
 
But considering that accounts for 11% of the total payout associated with this settlement it's hard to argue that was the biggest motivating factor behind the lawsuit. The rest is going directly to players to compensate them for injuries suffered while voluntarily playing a professional sport for personal gain (not fighting a war for their country).
 
I really don't think it's fair to liken their situation to that of injured war veterans, but we can agree to disagree.
The claim was that they were intentionally misleading the players into believing that they were at little risk of longterm head injuries. That, of course, was a bald-faced lie.

Now, it should be noted, that the NFL's motivation in hiding the reality of the sport's dangerousness is not about a concern over having to compensate retired players. They could have paid twice this much without blinking. What the NFL is concerned about is that when all the information about the dangerousness of the sport and the league's attempts to cover it up get out, it could mark the begginning of the decline of professional football's stranglehold on the American sportsfan's wallet. Football fans have a high tolerance for brutality--indeed a thirst for it in many cases--but at some point the dangerousness is going to start turning a lot of people off. Not everyone, but enough to make a deep cut into profits. I love football, but I do struggle with moral problem of watching these guys kill themselves, especially the guys who had no other options. It's a real problem.
 

SMU_Sox

loves his fluffykins
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2009
6,622
Dallas
The problem is all the good information is now sealed AND we had a gag order before so there were very few leaks.
 
I don't know how anyone can have a decent opinion on if this was a good settlement or not without more information... I get that this is the internet and we are on a sports forum. Maybe I am just feeding the trolls but w/e.
 
My guess? As the years go on we're going to get more and more leaks. That's just par for the course.
 
The players can negotiate with the NFL about funding concussion research in the next CBA. This was not their only option. The goal for the lawyers is ultimately to give a remedy to your clients that satisfies them. You don't just sue for the bare minimum you will accept. You have degrees of being satisfied or made whole - and you face the risk of nothing if you go to trial. This would have been long and drawn out and these players are suffering today. 
 

MarcSullivaFan

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 21, 2005
3,412
Hoo-hoo-hoo hoosier land.
SMU_Sox said:
The problem is all the good information is now sealed AND we had a gag order before so there were very few leaks.
 
I don't know how anyone can have a decent opinion on if this was a good settlement or not without more information... I get that this is the internet and we are on a sports forum. Maybe I am just feeding the trolls but w/e.
 
My guess? As the years go on we're going to get more and more leaks. That's just par for the course.
 
The players can negotiate with the NFL about funding concussion research in the next CBA. This was not their only option. The goal for the lawyers is ultimately to give a remedy to your clients that satisfies them. You don't just sue for the bare minimum you will accept. You have degrees of being satisfied or made whole - and you face the risk of nothing if you go to trial. This would have been long and drawn out and these players are suffering today. 
And as the lawyers with 10 bazillion hours and untold millions of costs into the case, you run the risk of zero attorney's fees.

It's interesting that this settlement came not long after the NFL squashed ESPN's participation in the Frontline documentary.
 

Reverend

for king and country
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jan 20, 2007
45,086
H78 said:
 
I really don't think it's fair to liken their situation to that of injured war veterans, but we can agree to disagree.
 
I was addressing the issue of situation with respect to informed consent only--the key here is "informed" and this is an issue with serious informational problems and very significant stakes. I have no interest in getting political and in no way was I saying these guys are like war veterans broadly, nor do I think was crystalline. Stand down, soldier. ;)
 

Reverend

for king and country
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jan 20, 2007
45,086
MarcSullivaFan said:
The claim was that they were intentionally misleading the players into believing that they were at little risk of longterm head injuries. That, of course, was a bald-faced lie.

Now, it should be noted, that the NFL's motivation in hiding the reality of the sport's dangerousness is not about a concern over having to compensate retired players. They could have paid twice this much without blinking. What the NFL is concerned about is that when all the information about the dangerousness of the sport and the league's attempts to cover it up get out, it could mark the begginning of the decline of professional football's stranglehold on the American sportsfan's wallet. Football fans have a high tolerance for brutality--indeed a thirst for it in many cases--but at some point the dangerousness is going to start turning a lot of people off. Not everyone, but enough to make a deep cut into profits. I love football, but I do struggle with moral problem of watching these guys kill themselves, especially the guys who had no other options. It's a real problem.
 
 
SMU_Sox said:
The problem is all the good information is now sealed AND we had a gag order before so there were very few leaks.
 
I don't know how anyone can have a decent opinion on if this was a good settlement or not without more information... I get that this is the internet and we are on a sports forum. Maybe I am just feeding the trolls but w/e.
 
My guess? As the years go on we're going to get more and more leaks. That's just par for the course.
 
The players can negotiate with the NFL about funding concussion research in the next CBA. This was not their only option. The goal for the lawyers is ultimately to give a remedy to your clients that satisfies them. You don't just sue for the bare minimum you will accept. You have degrees of being satisfied or made whole - and you face the risk of nothing if you go to trial. This would have been long and drawn out and these players are suffering today. 
 
Football is in trouble, I think, because they've gotten the price of impact/concussion detectors that can be put inside of helmets way down (as low as $150 for basic models). I'm of the belief that if people find out what kind of impact is involved even in high school football, people are going to freak. Also, more evidence is coming out that subconcussive blows can do significant damage too, particularly if repeated. As we get closer to understanding these effects, the more likely I think it is that, uh, people won't like it.
 

SMU_Sox

loves his fluffykins
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2009
6,622
Dallas
Exactly, MSF. Lottery? I don't need to win no stinking lottery. Let me be a plaintiff's attorney in a large and successful class action lawsuit. Set. For. Life.
 

SMU_Sox

loves his fluffykins
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2009
6,622
Dallas
Reverend said:
 
 
 
Football is in trouble, I think, because they've gotten the price of impact/concussion detectors that can be put inside of helmets way down (as low as $150 for basic models). I'm of the belief that if people find out what kind of impact is involved even in high school football, people are going to freak. Also, more evidence is coming out that subconcussive blows can do significant damage too, particularly if repeated. As we get closer to understanding these effects, the more likely I think it is that, uh, people won't like it.
 
 
100% agree with you and the NFL should be thankful this did not get fully litigated. NPR has done some digging on this issue lately and the more we know the more we find out how bad any blows to the head are in the long run.
 

ifmanis5

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 29, 2007
41,885
Rotten Apple
NFL didn't have to admit any wrongdoing with this settlement and they avoid discovery. Given those two stipulations I would think the players would get a lot more money but they didn't.
 

Reverend

for king and country
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jan 20, 2007
45,086
ifmanis5 said:
NFL didn't have to admit any wrongdoing with this settlement and they avoid discovery. Given those two stipulations I would think the players would get a lot more money but they didn't.
 
This is a huge problem with class actions: basic principal-agent problems with asymmetrical incentives. Or, as SMU put it: the lawyer is set for life. 
 

MarcSullivaFan

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 21, 2005
3,412
Hoo-hoo-hoo hoosier land.
Reverend said:
 
 
 
Football is in trouble, I think, because they've gotten the price of impact/concussion detectors that can be put inside of helmets way down (as low as $150 for basic models). I'm of the belief that if people find out what kind of impact is involved even in high school football, people are going to freak. Also, more evidence is coming out that subconcussive blows can do significant damage too, particularly if repeated. As we get closer to understanding these effects, the more likely I think it is that, uh, people won't like it.
Yes, yes. Chris Nowinski (and the researchers he works with) have been talking about the repeated minor blows for several years, but it gets a lot less attention than the catastrophic concussions. My understanding is that it's particularly an issue for linemen, who are bashing heads on the majority of plays in games and in practice. Apparently, smashing your head into a hard object repeatedly is bad for you.
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
18,981
The 718
MarcSullivaFan said:
The claim was that they were intentionally misleading the players into believing that they were at little risk of longterm head injuries. That, of course, was a bald-faced lie.

Now, it should be noted, that the NFL's motivation in hiding the reality of the sport's dangerousness is not about a concern over having to compensate retired players. They could have paid twice this much without blinking. What the NFL is concerned about is that when all the information about the dangerousness of the sport and the league's attempts to cover it up get out, it could mark the begginning of the decline of professional football's stranglehold on the American sportsfan's wallet. Football fans have a high tolerance for brutality--indeed a thirst for it in many cases--but at some point the dangerousness is going to start turning a lot of people off. Not everyone, but enough to make a deep cut into profits. I love football, but I do struggle with moral problem of watching these guys kill themselves, especially the guys who had no other options. It's a real problem.
 
I agree, and I love football.
 
I think of the parallels with boxing.  I'm in my mid-forties.  When I was growing up, boxing was, IMO, more popular than pro football, and was as popular as any sport in the country - it's hard to make parallels with a team sport played on a regular schedule because it's not apples-to-apples, but boxing was clearly front-and-center in the public consciousness.  I watched a LOT of boxing with my dad, especially on ABC with Howard Cosell.  Ali, Frazier, Holmes, Foreman (in his first iteration), and guys like that were household names, instantly recognizable to even non-sports fans - in fact, whoever was heavyweight champion of the world was de facto considered the greatest athlete in the world and was a global celebrity - especially Ali, who may have been the most popular person in the entire world, or at least the most widely-known. 
 
That has changed.  Now, boxing is a fringe sport, almost never found on network television, existing mostly as time-slot filler on cable sports networks, only occasionally generating big headlines, with pay-per-view blockbusters becoming increasingly rare.  I don't even know who the heavyweight champion is - one of the Klitschos? - I don't even know how to spell it - and whoever it is, he could probably walk through Times Square at high noon and not turn a head.  Guys like Pacquiao and Mayweather are millionaires and are known to sports fans, but not very well to the general public.  The last boxer to be a dominant public figure was Mike Tyson, which was a long time ago, and which was at least partially due to his bizarre behavior, celebrity marriage, arrest and conviction, etc. 
 
Part of boxing's decline is maybe because of the rise of the even-more-violent MMA, but I think that's existing alongside boxing in its existing fan base and/or cannibalizing that fan base.  Plus, the decline of boxing started long before the rise of MMA.  I can't put my finger on it exactly.  It was a long, slow slide into irrelevance.  I do think there were two things that turned off the general public, and helped turn boxing from a sport that almost everyone followed into something that is marginalized and barely even discussed in polite society: Boom-Boom Mancini killing Duk Koo Kim, and Ali's Parkinson's.
 
I watched the Mancini-Kim fight live.  Google tells me it was in 1982, so I would have been 13 years old.  It was riveting and unbelievably savage.  A complete slugfest.  They stood toe-to-toe and beat the shit out of each other.  Throughout most of the fight, I thought Kim was doing more damage - one of Mancini's eyes was almost completely closed - but in the late rounds, Mancini had the upper hand.  You know the rest of the story - Mancini knocked Kim out with a crushing right hand, Kim hit his head on the canvas, struggled to his feet, collapsed, was taken out of the ring on a stretcher, taken to the hospital, and died there a few days later.
 
Between that fight, and the fact that Ali, who really was the biggest celebrity in the world in his heyday, noted for his outspokenness and verbal facility, is now a shambling, slurred mess who can barely speak, I think the man in the street just got turned off by boxing.
 
I think the same thing is going to happen to football someday.   Some NFL player is going to become a poster boy for the violent excesses of the sport, just like Ali and Kim have for boxing.  And just like Kim and Ali, there will be two flavors of this - the cumulative/degenerative case, and the sudden/violent case.   For the former some famous player who is now beloved will be reduced by CTI/repeated concussions to a babbling, drooling mess, and even rabid football fans will feel their stomachs turn.  For the latter, I believe that, before too long, someone is going to get killed in an NFL game.  It has almost happened a few times.  It may not be a big star - it could just as easily be a third-stringer on a punt return - but the game is now so fast, and so violent, that it's going to happen.*  When that does, it's going to turn a lot of people off.
 
*I have posted in the Manziel thread at length about my disgust with college football and its exploitation, IMO, of players.  College football is sometimes defended as a "minor league" for the NFL, and it is pointed out that the NFL may be the real culprit in the exploitation of 18-22 year olds because of its age limits that prevent young players from getting paid to play.  Although it's a tangent to this discussion, I have no problem with prohbitions against 18-year-olds playing in the NFL, because, as I've posted before, if some 160-pound, 18-year-old wide receiver went over the middle and got hit by, say, James Harrison, the way Mohammad Massaquoi did a few years ago, I really believe he'd be dead:
 
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRWZ5l0nzXo[/youtube]
 
Massaquoi is not a small dude.  He's 6'2", 207 pounds.  That hit, and Massaquoi's reaction - where he's on his knees, and his hands go up to his head, and he's clearly in a daze without any fucking clue as to what's going on - brings up a vomit reflex every time I see it.  That's the moment where I started to have a problem with what these guys are subjecting themselves to for my entertainment.
 
I say all of this, again, as someone who loves football (and who used to love boxing), and who will happily sit there all day and watch football, college or pro, up to the Hawaii home games against Fresno State and Nevada at two in the morning.
 

Pudge'sGrrl

lurker
Aug 9, 2013
5
What is really sad is that extended litigation might have extracted more funds for the former players most in need, but not until 2018 at the earliest. A good number of them might not be around without some immediate financial assistance. The $5M limit sounds high to a layman, but the costs of long term care for dementia patients, especially violent ones, is costly. War vets have the same issues. Families go broke caring for aging members with diminishing memories. The management structure took advantage of those who made them wealthy.
 

dcmissle

Deflatigator
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Aug 4, 2005
28,269
Characterizing the settlement without knowledge of the strength of the respective sides' cases is pretty foolish. I'll say this -- Layn Phillips is a first rate mediator, and the settlements he nudges along are typically reasonable.

This case was risky from the players' standpoint for the reasons articulated by H78. He brings a reasonable viewpoint and many people like him sit on juries. Tobacco companies compiled an impressive track record in cases resembling this. Juries concluded, we don't care what was suppressed -- you knew the damn things were dangerous when you smoked them, and millions have quit.

You don't think the players did extensive jury research before agreeing to this? Think again.

Assuming liability, players would have had to prove individually causation and damages. Assuming victory, there would have been appeals. Lots of these guys would have died without seeing a cent.

Litigation presents risks to all participants. There are no slam dunks in these sorts of things.
 

Pudge'sGrrl

lurker
Aug 9, 2013
5
For war vets, I was referring to WW II, and the Vietnam vets, as they are of about the right age, not the current crop of war vets. While the current vets are horribly injured in many cases, I was only referring to the dementia in the older folks like my dad, who was a WW II vet. Some of these men experience violent episodes, and no longer recognize loved ones. Their care is difficult and they are frequently expelled from facilities due to the violent episodes.
 

Reverend

for king and country
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jan 20, 2007
45,086
dcmissle said:
Characterizing the settlement without knowledge of the strength of the respective sides' cases is pretty foolish. I'll say this -- Layn Phillips is a first rate mediator, and the settlements he nudges along are typically reasonable.

This case was risky from the players' standpoint for the reasons articulated by H78. He brings a reasonable viewpoint and many people like him sit on juries. Tobacco companies compiled an impressive track record in cases resembling this. Juries concluded, we don't care what was suppressed -- you knew the damn things were dangerous when you smoked them, and millions have quit.

You don't think the players did extensive jury research before agreeing to this? Think again.

Assuming liability, players would have had to prove individually causation and damages. Assuming victory, there would have been appeals. Lots of these guys would have died without seeing a cent.

Litigation presents risks to all participants. There are no slam dunks in these sorts of things.
 
Which players? Because I generally think that the intellectual savvy of NFL players ranges from "should be curing cancer instead of playing with a ball" to "tree bark." I don't know a lot about the decision making structure, so snark aside, that's a real question.
 
Even with a good mediator, though, the structural incentives are massively on the side of the NFL. The NFL is potentially a repeat player with an incentive to invest in precedent. The players are not--they need money, and the amount per player and the time over which it is payable is rather paltry, especially given the stakes involved.
 

dcmissle

Deflatigator
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Aug 4, 2005
28,269
The players have counsel, and they certainly know how to convene focus groups in figuring out how much a case is worth.

Structural incentives are part of the equation. Unless you do the homework and bring the expertise, people have little basis for opining on this. As we speak, people are doing so foolishly in the Peter King thread.
 

Reverend

for king and country
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jan 20, 2007
45,086
dcmissle said:
The players have counsel, and they certainly know how to convene focus groups in figuring out how much a case is worth.

Structural incentives are part of the equation. Unless you do the homework and bring the expertise, people have little basis for opining on this. As we speak, people are doing so foolishly in the Peter King thread.
 
Structural incentives are the ground rules. I totally respect your knowledge of the law and the operations, but I have done my homework and am prepared to bring expertise. The basic theory was outlined 30 years ago by Gallanter in his seminal piece in Law & Society Review, "Why the Haves Come Out Ahead: Speculations on the Limits of Legal Change" (1974) and has been built upon since. The very fact of non-disclosure agreements that reinforces informational assymetries in settlements further complicates the idea that we get market optimal bargaining. The Posners and other economic law theorists have puzzled over why settlements don't appear to be efficient, but I tend to think the confusion is spurious given the differential incentives of the parties involved--the problem is that the different sides of the problem don't read each other's literature.
 
The NFL is massively advantaged structurally in these negotiations in ways that are part of the public law literature but, from my understanding and my own research, not part of the law review literature. If I was a sane person, I'd probably try to bridge this gap and make a career out of it, but apparently I'm not (G.I. Joe: Retaliation may or may not be playing in the background as I type this). I absolutely believe that the information the NFL would have to disclose at trial would be more damaging to them than what they are going to pay out over the time they have to pay it out.
 
Players have different incentives to take a deal than does the league. That's the premise from which I start when I consider the game theory of a deal like this.
 

soxhop411

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 4, 2009
36,214
“@mikefreemanNFL: RT @AP_NFL: BREAKING: US judge denies preliminary approval of $765M #NFL concussion case, fears sum may not be enough>>oh boy”
 

mauf

Anderson Cooper × Mr. Rogers
Staff member
Dope
Here's the judge's order
 
I skimmed it quickly. The judge seems satisfied with the per-player compensation that was agreed-upon as part of the settlement, but wants more evidence to demonstrate that the $675mm compensation fund will be sufficient to pay those agreed-upon amounts to all claimants.
 
The ultimate question is whether the lifetime incidence of covered conditions among the members of the settlement class can be estimated with any sort of accuracy. If so, I expect the case will settle -- the players seem happy with what they are getting individually, and I suspect the owners would be willing to kick in a little more money to put this to bed. If a credible estimate is not possible, however, the NFL would either have to accept uncapped liability (which, imo, they are unlikely to do) or refuse to settle the case along these lines.
 

Gdiguy

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
3,498
San Diego, CA
In addition, there now appears to be open, public sniping between lawyers on the player's side: http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/10295307/attorney-blasts-concussion-deal-recommend-clients-continue-sue-nfl
 
 
 
Girardi's comments are part of what has become an almost open rebellion by some top attorneys against the players' lead co-counsels, Christopher A. Seeger and Sol H. Weiss. Another attorney, Thomas A. Demetrio, who represents the family of former Chicago Bearsdefensive back Dave Duerson, told "Outside the Lines" the two negotiators have operated in a "cloak of secrecy" that has made it impossible for players to evaluate the deal.
"The communication, candidly, has been very poor," said Demetrio, adding that "the cloak of secrecy has been extraordinary to me. You ask a question and they say there's a gag order. That's utter bull----. There's no gag order that says you can't talk to co-counsel. The whole thing has been a disappointment professionally."
Girardi, a prominent Los Angeles personal injury attorney who was part of the famous Erin Brockovich lawsuit against Pacific Gas & Electric, said Seeger and Weiss marginalized him from settlement discussions even though he sits on the executive committee."We were foreclosed," Girardi said. "I was on the executive committee, but when it came time to discuss the settlement, it was just Seeger and the other guy, without any of our input."
 
 

 
 

Joshv02

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
1,633
Brookline
Plaintiffs counsel fight with each for publicity, blame and pie. I'm shocked - shocked! - to find out there is gambling here.
 

Dick Pole Upside

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 6, 2003
4,425
39.932N, -85.848W
Who am I to say, but I don't recall Marino taking a ton of head shots in his career... at least nothing like Steve Young and Troy Aikman, for two other QB examples (one a scrambler/runner, the other a pocket passer).  This is strange on several levels...
 

PC Drunken Friar

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 12, 2003
11,109
South Boston
Dick Pole Upside said:
Who am I to say, but I don't recall Marino taking a ton of head shots in his career... at least nothing like Steve Young and Troy Aikman, for two other QB examples (one a scrambler/runner, the other a pocket passer).  This is strange on several levels...
isn't that sort of the point though? You don't need to be JACKED UP every week in order to suffer the consequences.
 

Toe Nash

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 28, 2005
4,682
02130
Dick Pole Upside said:
Who am I to say, but I don't recall Marino taking a ton of head shots in his career... at least nothing like Steve Young and Troy Aikman, for two other QB examples (one a scrambler/runner, the other a pocket passer).  This is strange on several levels...
Well, according to pro-football reference he was sacked 270 times in his career. That's a good rate due to good protection and his quick release, but that's still a lot of sacks (and doesn't count times hit when he was able to get rid of the ball - easily double that amount). Not all of those were head hits, but the rules protecting the QB's head were much more lax then and defensive players would target it. Not to mention the rules regarding reporting concussions. You have to remember that the players didn't understand the dangers (the whole point of the suit) and as long as you could still stand you were expected to be out on the field (especially a star QB). 
 
It's quite likely he and pretty much every non-kicker suffered many relatively mild concussions ("got his bell rung") that he was able to play through but that we have seen can contribute to CTE, even if you don't remember him literally getting knocked out during a game like Aikman. There is also evidence that sub-concussive hits can contribute to CTE as well.
 

Couperin47

Member
SoSH Member

singaporesoxfan

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 21, 2004
8,812
Washington, DC
Buried under the AP and Rice news - the NFL's first admission that retired players suffer brain damage at higher than average rates.

http://m.espn.go.com/nfl/story?storyId=11513442&src=desktop&rand=ref~%7B%22ref%22%3A%22http%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2Fl4D07LGK2Z%22%7D

NFL players are likely to suffer chronic brain injury at a "significantly higher" rate than the general population and also show neurocognitive impairment at a much younger age, according to documents filed on behalf of the league in federal court Friday.
 

riboflav

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 20, 2006
7,818
NOVA
This article includes an uncomfortable picture of Kevin Turner who is only 45 but looks much older. He has ALS.
 
Lawyers for the NFL claim the estimates of players likely to develop brain diseases are overinflated because the sampling came only from those former players involved in the lawsuit in order to ensure there would be enough money to pay out to any player claiming injury.
 
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/13/sports/football/actuarial-reports-in-nfl-concussion-deal-are-released.html?_r=0
 

AB in DC

OG Football Writing
SoSH Member
Jul 10, 2002
7,586
Springfield, VA
riboflav said:
This article includes an uncomfortable picture of Kevin Turner who is only 45 but looks much older. He has ALS.
 
Lawyers for the NFL claim the estimates of players likely to develop brain diseases are overinflated because the sampling came only from those former players involved in the lawsuit in order to ensure there would be enough money to pay out to any player claiming injury.
 
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/13/sports/football/actuarial-reports-in-nfl-concussion-deal-are-released.html?_r=0
 
Another good article on Kevin Turner here.  I remember this guy from the early Bledsoe years.  Sad story.  
 
http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/kevin-turner-leading-plaintiff-in-nfl-concussions-lawsuit-battles-als/2014/12/15/b4c369ac-8137-11e4-b936-f3afab0155a7_story.html