By Barry Janoff
August 30, 2013: The NFL and some 4,500 former NFL players involved in lawsuits regarding playing-related concussions have reached a $765 million settlement over the long-standing and still on-going situation regarding playing-related head injuries and their connection to other major health issues.
Some are calling the settlement a significant solution to former NFL players either in need of medical treatment or unable to pay medical bills. Others are calling it underwhelming considering the NFL's current revenue of $9 billion annually and its stated goal to have $25 billion in annual revenue by 2027.
The settlement, which still needs to be approved by a federal judge, would encompass all 18,000 former NFL players. Once approved, the deal would compensate all retired players, pay for medical exams and fund research, which also applies to the families of deceased players involved in the concussion lawsuits, half of the money would be paid out over the next three years, the rest over the remaining 17 years of the 20-year agreement.
Current players are not part of the settlement.
In addition to the $675 million, the NFL will put $75 million into baseline medical examinations and another $10 million into a research and education fund regarding concussions. Legal fees for the 4,500 former players involved in concussions lawsuits would also be paid by the NFL.
"This is [an] historic agreement, one that will make sure that former NFL players who need and deserve compensation will receive it, and that will promote safety for players at all levels of football." — Mediator Layn Phillips
"This is [an] historic agreement, one that will make sure that former NFL players who need and deserve compensation will receive it, and that will promote safety for players at all levels of football," former U.S. District Judge Layn Phillips, who mediated the process, said in a statement.
According to terms of the agreement, the NFL agreeing to the $765 million payout "cannot be considered an admission by the NFL of liability, or an admission that plaintiffs' injuries were caused by football."
In a statement, the NFL said, "Former United States District Judge Layn Phillips, the court-appointed mediator in the consolidated concussion-related lawsuits brought by more than 4,500 retired football players against the National Football League and others, announced [Thursday] that the parties had reached an agreement that would end the litigation against the NFL and NFL Properties and provide medical and other benefits, as well as compensation, to qualifying injured players or their families.
"The agreement came after nearly two months of intensive negotiations under the supervision of Judge Phillips. It will be submitted for approval to United States District Judge Anita B. Brody, who is presiding over these cases in federal court in Philadelphia," the NFL said in its statement. "Under the agreement, the NFL and NFL Properties will contribute $765 million to provide medical benefits and injury compensation for retired NFL football players, fund medical and safety research, and cover litigation expenses. Attorneys' fees, to be approved by the district court, will be paid in addition to the settlement amount."
According to a statement from NFL evp Jeffrey Pash, "This agreement lets us help those who need it most and continue our work to make the game safer for current and future players. Commissioner Goodell and every owner gave the legal team the same direction: do the right thing for the game and for the men who played it. We thought it was critical to get more help to players and families who deserve it rather than spend many years and millions of dollars on litigation. This is an important step that builds on the significant changes we've made in recent years to make the game safer, and we will continue our work to better the long — term health and well — being of NFL players."