In a lawsuit filed against the NFL, a group of former players allege the league illegally administered drugs to mask injuries and keep them on the field. The suit was file Tuesday in US District Court in San Francisco and names eight specific former players and could have as many as 500 more player’s names attached.
The lawsuit against the NFL by former players alleges that the league administered illegal drugs to them without prescriptions for the purposes of keeping them on the field. While doing this, the ex-players say the league also did not inform them of long-term side effects of these drugs. It is also alleged that the true severity of their injuries were hidden from players. This lawsuit follows the highly publicized concussion lawsuit that the NFL had brought against it that was settled for $765 million, however a judge rejected that settlement amount deeming it too low and now it is being renegotiated.
Jim McMahon, former Bears quarterback and Super Bowl champion, is the face of this new lawsuit against the NFL. He is one of eight players named in the suit along with two of his 1985 Bears teammates Richard Dent and Keith Van Horne. McMahon states that he broke both his neck and ankle while playing but was never told the severity of either injury by doctors. Instead, he says, he was given drugs and treatments to keep him on the field. Van Horne alleges that he played a whole season on a broken leg and was not told the severity of the injury for five years.
Anyone who has been close to the NFL or followed the lives of retired players knows about the dirty secret that is prescription pain-killer use. It has long been an issue, with many players being given the drugs at will during their playing days and then developing an addiction and having to turn to the streets to feed their addiction once out of the NFL. This is a major part of the lawsuit against the league. McMahon is joined in the allegations by another former player JD Hill, who played in the 70’s. NFL executives say neither they, nor their lawyers, have seen the lawsuit.
Over the last decade the NFL has built itself into one of the biggest sports brands in the world. With the concussion lawsuit and this new illegal drugs lawsuit, however, the league’s future could be in jeopardy. Even with the NFL’s impressive profits, two potential billion-dollar settlements could severely hurt the league and their ability to maintain their status as the premier sports league in America. If these new allegations are true it presents a huge problem for the NFL, as now illegal use of harmful drugs are being discussed along with the hiding of future medical complications as in the concussion suit.
Ex-players are again suing the NFL for illegally administering prescription drugs to mask injuries. The lawsuit was just filed Tuesday, and has not yet been reviewed by the league. Like the previous concussion lawsuit it has many players names attached and will likely gain more by the time it is seen in court. Only time will tell what this newest lawsuits does to the NFL. At the very least, it is certainly another public relations headache for the extremely popular and profitable league.
Commentary By Max Petkevicius