A group of eight retired players, including three former members of the ’85 Bears, is filing suit and seeking class-action status against the NFL for the widespread practice of pushing illegally obtained painkillers on players in order to mask injuries that should have been treated medically. That the practice has been prevalent is kind of a “no shit” revelation for anyone who even casually follows the NFL, it’s just the latest example of former players seeking damages from a league they claim openly flouted safety concerns to get players back on the field.
One says that instead of surgery, he was given anti-inflammatories and skipped practices so he could play in money-making games. And others say that after years of free pills from the NFL, they retired from the league addicted to the painkillers.
The complaint names eight players, including three members of the Super Bowl champion 1985 Chicago Bears: Hall of Fame defensive end Richard Dent, offensive lineman Keith Van Horne and quarterback Jim McMahon. Lawyers seek class-action status, and they say in the filing that more than 400 other former players have signed on to the lawsuit.
McMahon says in the lawsuit that he suffered a broken neck and ankle during his career but rather than sitting out, he received medications and was pushed back on to the field. Team doctors and trainers never told him about the injuries, according to the lawsuit.
The latest lawsuit seeks an injunction creating an NFL-funded testing and monitoring program to help prevent addiction and injuries and disabilities related to the use of painkillers. It also seeks unspecified financial damages.
“The NFL knew of the debilitating effects of these drugs on all of its players and callously ignored the players’ long-term health in its obsession to return them to play,” Silverman said. His Baltimore firm, Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin and White, also represents former National Hockey League players in a concussion-related lawsuit.
The lawsuit seeks class-action status for any former players who received narcotic painkillers, anti-inflammatories, local anesthetics, sleeping aids or other drugs without prescription, independent diagnosis, or warning about side effects or the dangers from mixing with other drugs.
Well, that language covers just about every player who ever played in the NFL, so this has the makings of another sizable legal battle. We’ve had so many lawsuits from former cheerleaders lately I was wondering when former players were gonna get another crack at it.
Oh, and 600 former players are suing NFL Films for making money off old footage of them without royalties. It’s a very litigious week we’re having.