The NFL has made a habit of sandbagging, obfuscating and circumventing the issue of concussions. That may sound harsh, but it's just the reality of the situation. The NFL hoped the problem would go away, that they could figure out a helmet or other piece of technology that would end the concussion epidemic galloping across American stadiums. They did not, and a legal challenge finally emerged.
When 4,500 former players and other plaintiffs came together to sue the NFL, it had the potential to alter the course of the league. There were 294 Falcons involved in total, according to the Washington Times. That's when the NFL got serious about acknowledging concussions and taking concrete steps to force teams to treat them like a legitimate medical issue, not a bell-ringing. Yet the lawsuit still loomed.
Today, according to Peter King, the NFL settled at last with the plaintiffs. As you might anticipate for a league that has crushed all obstacles for decades now, the NFL will be forking over millions but still managed to avoid major repercussions.
NFL will pay $765 million "to fund medical exams, concussion-related compensation, and a program of medical research'' for 4,500 plaintiffs.— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) August 29, 2013
It's a concession, the money will be helpful, but it still represents just a fraction of the league's likely revenue in 2013. The NFL does not admit liability and pays out an average of $170,000 per player. I don't doubt the money will go toward worthy causes and will be helpful for players, but the underlying issue goes on. As long as football exists, that's likely to be the case.
This isn't the last word on concussions, because it's not the last time an NFL player will suffer a concussion. It is the end of this particular saga, and it's timed so this particular cloud won't be hovering over the start of the NFL season. Nobody won, but everyone will get to claim victory.
Your thoughts on the settlement?