Colorado Avalanche: Facing Concussions in Modern Hockey

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Nov 1, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Detail view of the NFL logo on the field goal padding before the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Lawsuit

Federal Judge Anita Baker just reconsidered her initial denial of the “uncapped” proposal of award money to former players having suffered brain injuries during the NFL. Now, hopefully, some of the loopholes and technicalities present in the deal that NFL cut the first time around can hopefully be reconsidered.

The league’s response to the case reminded me of Big Tobacco’s defense to accusations of being linked to lung cancer. Once they realized it was a losing argument, they scrambled to settlement and insisted that the league be found of “no wrongdoing”.

The deal players got from the league is pretty sheisty at best. There is a sliding scale for amount of money given per disease the retiree suffers from. Then, the league has wiggled out of paying large percentages of those fines with loopholes, technicalities and general scuzziness.

When the dust settled after the case, the NFL announced that it was cracking down on concussions and instituted a bunch of new rules, procedures and protocols, and the media seemed satisfied. The retirees got a crummy deal, and the NFL got to wipe its hands of any responsibility about concussions going forward.

Sydney Rice told CBS News after he retired from football at age 27 that he “wanted to be able to function” later in life. He voluntarily dropped out of football from fear after suffering a number of bad concussions. He wasn’t eligible for any of the legal settlement money though. He retired during the new concussion era. Legally speaking, you’ve been warned.

Next: What's Been Done?