By Ken Reed
U.S. District Judge Anita Brody will hold a hearing on November 19th to determine whether or not to grant final approval to a concussion settlement between the NFL and former players.
In mid-October, players had the option of opting out of the settlement and pursuing their own legal remedies. Some did just that, most stayed in, and other groups of players filed court objections to the proposed settlement. The primary objection is that the settlement places unfair limits on who would be eligible for compensation and when.
“The court has its own playbook for managing class action litigation,” said Jim Ryan, an employment attorney.
“They look at what the reaction has been since the preliminary approval and see what the objectors have brought forth as to why the settlement is inadequate. A lot of time, just because it was approved at the preliminary stage does not mean it’s going to be approved at the final stage. … The court is going to be very, very in tune to what the objectors are saying.”
Nevertheless, most experts believe Brody will finalize the settlement. That likelihood is disturbing on many fronts. For one, under the settlement proposal in front of Judge Brody, players with less severe brain damage caused by repetitive blows to the brain likely won’t receive any money from the settlement.
Also, the proposed settlement doesn’t address future scientific and medical advances. Currently, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) can only be diagnosed after death. However, Boston University researcher, Robert Stern, believes an FDA-approved test for CTE will be available within the next decade. That type of scenario isn’t addressed in the proposed settlement.
Findings from a study prepared by actuaries hired by the NFL show that nearly a third of retired players will develop long-term cognitive problems and that brain-related problems will likely emerge at “notably younger ages” than in the general population.
“It’s a bogus deal,” says Kansas City attorney Ken McClain, who represents two dozen former players.
“A fraudulent deal on its face, completely illusory, designed to pay very few people except the lawyers and the players in the most extreme [illness] category. All of these men saddled with neurological problems throughout their lifetimes are not the NFL’s concern. The NFL’s concern is containing risk, just as if they were [General Motors] and these players are faulty ignitions.”
Just how flawed this proposed settlement is is outlined by Patrick Hruby in a recent in-depth article.
Let’s hope Judge Brody gives the concerns of the objectors full consideration.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
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Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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