But the former players who had the NFL on the ropes decided they didn’t have that kind of time. They weren’t playing for anybody’s future; they had to take care of themselves.
The big beef was always that team and league doctors failed to diagnose head injuries and in some cases ignored concussions and returned players to games despite the fact they knew how glassy-eyed they were. If you really believe none of that happened, you have never witnessed the truth of an NFL sideline in person.
Of the settlement, the most useful money is the $75 million put away for baseline brain testing over the next decade and another $10 million toward research and education, finding out what really happened to these guys on the field years ago.
And Goodell and the league deserve credit for waking up to the dangers of concussions in recent years, however late to the game they were.
But just as 9/11 families had to go before fund adjustors to prove their losses were worth anything, former players are going to have to go before claims adjustors of their own — as if they dinged their sedan side panels, as if their brain injuries are really quantifiable.
On the face of it, $765 million is a huge number. But delve deeper and find out that $206 billion was paid to smokers over 25 years by tobacco companies or learn that major breast implant manufacturers paid women who suffered auto-immune disease from silicone implants $3.4 billion.
Both the mountain of litigants in two of the country’s largest class-action settlements also faced the same, cold questioning from the other side that began with, “But you knew the dangers when you put this in your body, didn’t you?”
The concussion litigants didn’t have that kind of staying power, perseverance. They lacked the fortitude they used to play with. Some of the all-time greats and the teammates who carried water for them needed help now. They weren’t interested in helping the next generation; they wanted to get paid.
And the future of football is much poorer for it today.
For more by Mike Wise, visit washingtonpost.com/wise.