Don’t blame it on the NFL

James Kil, Asst. Sports Editor

More than a year has passed since the concussion lawsuit was filed against the NFL, but a recent hearing restarted the controversy of whether the league is responsible for compensating former athletes that developed head injuries. The NFL should not be spending money on players who blame the league for their illness, especially when football is one of the most dangerous sports in America.

Former players have accused the league of improper handling of concussions and demanded money for concussion-related injuries. In July 2014, Judge Anita B. Brody granted preliminary approval to the deal that compensates the players for concussion related damages. This was only approved because NFL agreed to remove the $675 million cap on damages.

“A class action settlement that offers prompt relief is superior to the likely alternative-years of expensive, difficult, and uncertain litigation, with no assurance of recovery, while retired players’ physical and mental conditions continue to deteriorate,” Brody wrote.

On Nov.19, Brody held a fairness hearing and will likely be announcing her final decision on the settlement next year. Because the final decision will be close, no matter which side she chooses to side with, the other will file an appeal. The biggest argument that the plaintiffs are making is that the settlement would only allow players who were diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy before July 2014 would receive the money.

All football athletes should have known the dangers of playing in such a rough sport. It does not take a doctor to determine that running into someone at full speed is detrimental to the brain. According to the Associated Press, the NFL is being sued for rushing injured players back on the field after serious blows and collisions. These players fail to realize that they are responsible for what they do with their own body and could have resisted coming back onto the field. Also, the NFL cannot make it two-hand touch football because part of the reason why fans watch is so that they can watch tackles.

Since it was more dangerous playing in the past because of the lack of rules on concussions, some may argue that it is the responsibility of the league to take care of those players that have developed Alzheimer’s, Dementia, CTE, or other illnesses. It was not until 1994 that the NFL decided to create the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee in order to analyze the effects of concussions and to help set rules and regulations to avoid them. Because the committee did not have any knowledge that these concussions would lead to these illnesses, the NFL should not be held responsible.

Although it is unfortunate that afflicted athletes have suffered with these illnesses, it is not the responsibility of the NFL to help them. It makes no sense to demand for more money after already receiving millions from the league.