By Ken Reed
Peter Keating, of ESPN The Magazine, has written an excellent feature article on just how weak the proposed concussion settlement between the NFL and former players is. The preliminary settlement, which still needs final approval from U.S. District Court Judge Anita Brody, basically ignores chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and all its possible manifestations. Brody’s final ruling isn’t expected to come until some time early next year.
Exhibits 1A and 1B as to why this settlement is deeply flawed, is the fact that former NFL greats Junior Seau and Dave Duerson, who shot and killed themselves due to the behavioral effects of CTE, would receive nothing from this concussion settlement were they alive today.
“By writing CTE and its possible manifestations out of the settlement, the league has scored a huge legal and political victory that will resonate for decades: The NFL does not have to admit the existence of a football-specific degenerative brain disease.”
Why did the players agree to accept such a settlement? For one, it is very confusing when it comes to what’s covered — and when — and what’s not. Two, and perhaps most importantly, the NFL is paying the former players’ attorneys $112.5 million within 60 days of the final settlement. It can’t be too surprising that the players’ attorneys are now pushing for a quick settlement.
Many brain-injury experts are shocked by the settlement’s lack of coverage in the CTE area.
Dr. Bob Stern, a professor of neurology, neurosurgery, and anatomy and neurobiology at Boston University School of Medicine, is concerned that the former players aren’t aware of the lack of coverage in the settlement when it comes to CTE. As a result, he’s started a mini-communications campaign to increase awareness and understanding.
“My goal is not to stop the settlement, and not to stop money from getting to people who desperately need it,” Stern says. “But my biggest fear is that a large majority of the players have no idea what is compensated and what is not.
“Leaving out the ability to diagnose CTE in the future — that is the single most problematic part of the settlement to me. We’re in the most exciting era of understanding the human brain in history, and that will set aside 65 years of neuroscience.”
As Keating aptly concludes, “For years, players were misled by the NFL about the dangers of concussions. Now those players deserve a full measure of help, not further deception.”
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #32 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Prolific Author Joe Posnanski Joins the Show – Posnanski is one of America’s best sportswriters and has twice been named the best sports columnist in America by the Associated Press Sports Editors. We chat about his new book, “Why We Love Baseball,” his new Substack newsletter called Joe Blogs, and we cover topics including how baseball treats its fans, MLB’s numerous rule changes this past season, how the sport can become more fan-friendly, the greatness of Negro Leagues champion Buck O’Neil, and much more.
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Episode #31 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Foul Ball Safety Is Still an Important Issue at Ballparks – Our guests are Jordan Skopp, founder of FoulBallSafety.com and Greg Wilkowski, a Chicago based attorney. We discuss the historical problem of foul balls injuring fans and why some teams are still hesitant to put up protective netting in some minor league and college baseball parks.
Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
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.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
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.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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