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Why are former players suing the NFL?

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mcabo | eNoter

Posted January 23, 2013 at 12:05 PM via web

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Why are former players suing the NFL?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 23, 2013 at 2:23 PM (Answer #1)

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The most high-profile lawsuit against the National Football League (NFL) today has to do with the effects of concussions of the health of former players.  The players are alleging that the NFL knew that concussions could have very dangerous impacts on player health and that the league hid that information from the players.  The deception of the part of the NFL, they allege, has helped cause many ex-players to have very severe problems due to the effects of concussions.

The NFL, for a long time, built much of its popularity on the violent nature of the game.  One of the most popular aspects of the game was the big hits that defenders inflicted on offensive players.  The NFL marketed and made money off of this aspect of the game.  It was also the case that the very nature of the game involved other players (like linemen and linebackers) absorbing lesser blows to the head on every play.

The players claim that the NFL knew that these blows to the head were likely to cause harm to the players that went beyond the immediate effects.  They claim that the NFL tried to cover this fact up in much the same way that tobacco companies tried to deny that smoking was harmful.  They are claiming, therefore, that the NFL should compensate them for their injuries and the problems that have stemmed from those injuries.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 26, 2013 at 6:23 PM (Answer #1)

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Former players are suing the National Football League (NFL) because they believe that the league knowingly concealed "information linking football-related injuries to long-term brain damage."  Former players are suing the league because they believe that the league did everything it could to jeopardize the health of its players so that it could become a machine of profit, while doing little to help and warn these players both during their careers and afterwards.  The players are arguing that the league glorified "the violence" in the sport and used these players as a part of that marketing approach, an avenue that made billions of dollars for the league but left its players with physically deteriorated bodies and psychological impacts that are only now being able to be fully grasped.  Former NFL legendary quarterback Jim McMahon summarizes this condition and the rationale for the lawsuit against the league:

"We knew there was going to be a chance for injury,' McMahon, who led the Chicago Bears to a 1985 Super Bowl victory, told ESPN. 'We didn't know about the head trauma and they [the NFL] did. That's the whole reason for the lawsuit."

Players like Dave Duerson and Junior Seau committing suicide due to trauma suffered while playing the game are only highlighting the players' cause, demonstrating that the game that so many love has profound physical and psychological impacts on those who play it.

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