BREAKING: Another NFL Concussion “Expert” Retiring

This broke earlier today with a Tweet from ESPN‘s Adam Schefter:

Pellman retirement

Some of the retired players may remember Elliot Pellman as the other ‘Dr. No’ who once chaired the re-named NFL ‘Mild’ Traumatic Brain Injury Committee. While Pellman is actually a doctor, he received his medical degree as a rheumatologist in Mexico years ago and NOT as a neurologist. Pellman stepped in as Chair of the committee after Ira Casson stepped down following an embarrassing grilling in front of a 2009 Congressional hearing on concussions and football (which went nowhere in the end).

At the urging of Commissioner Roger Goodell, Pellman “retired” as “medical advisor” after working with the League for 30 years in various positions (and as former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue’s personal physician).

SportsIllustrated_logo Continue reading

Why Football Will Never Go Away

With so much attention finally being placed on concussions and lawsuits, there has been a lot of discussion about the end of football (and many other professional sports). And the NFL is a $13 billion industry today (and projected to be a $20+ billion business by 2020), there is a real underlying reason why football will likely be around for a long time to come. One word: Gambling.

Football_gamblingEstimates of illegal gambling in 2015 in the States hit $149 BILLION with Super Bowl 50 in 2016 making up $4.1 BILLION in legal bets alone (only 3% – or $100 million – was actually legal betting). With that much money at stake, it’s not hard to understand why gambling and football will be around for a long time. They’ll probably change their recruitment sources (PeeWee, high school and NCAA) and the lawyers will be putting together some very tight disclosure agreements and contracts in the years to come to protect themselves from future litigation. But does anyone truly believe that no one will want to play in the professional leagues even as more information comes out on the long-term effects of brain injuries (CTE, TBI, PTSD)?

Can you envision a future scouting combine every year across America in every major city recruiting for the NFL from the toughest inner city neighborhoods? With more suburban Moms now declaring that they will never allow their sons to play football and the NCAA facing more lawsuits for their responsibilities and obligations to their “amateur” players, the NFL is now facing a serious problem with its current recruitment model. You know there’s a problem when 2016 saw more women announcers on the sidelines than previous years as a futile attempt to bring back football Moms.

Continue reading

James Harrison is Pissed at the NFL: Here’s Why

james-harrison-fingerBeen away for a few weeks but definitely noticed some of the off-season noise on all the social media networks from James Harrison (2002 – 2015 as a linebacker with the Pittsburgh Steelers with one year in Cincinnati) coming forward to tackle the NFL on its ridiculous “investigation” into performance-enhancing drugs (PED’s) over the years.

It seems to have really started with an investigative report from Al Jazeera last year on PED’s that included interviews with many current and former players that kicked off a firestorm and an “investigation” by the NFL. But not so much an investigation into the use of PED’s as it was a witch hunt into those who actually had the balls to step up and speak out about this open secret inside the League. The League recently announced its plans to “investigate” many of the players implicated in DopeGate, including Peyton Manning who is already involved in another serious investigation: DeflateGate. Ha!

ProFootballRumors Continue reading

After the Game: The Willie Wood Story

Willie Wood has done it all in football: From Super Bowl I with the Green Bay Packers (1960 – 1971) in 1967 to the Hall of Fame in 1989 – and all as one of the first black players in the League. At 78, Willy is living in an assisted living facility and his memory has been declining rapidly. His family is sure that Willie has been suffering from CTE following his many years in the NFL.

Busted Again! NFL Tried to Rig Concussion Study

FILE - In this March 11, 2013, file photo, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell takes questions during a news conference in New York. Marijuana is casting an ever-thickening haze across NFL locker rooms, and it's not simply because more players are using it. As attitudes toward the drug soften, and science slowly teases out marijuana's possible benefits for concussions and other injuries, the NFL is reaching a critical point in navigating its tenuous relationship with what is being recognized, more and more, as the analgesic of choice for many of its players. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Here we go again! Remember back in 2012 when the NFL so generously offered a no-strings-attached $30 million donation to the National Institute for Health (NIH) to fund its independent studies into football and concussions? But when it came to where the money actually went, the League quickly objected to Boston University’s Dr. Robert Stern’s role in leading the study. Just what part of ‘unconditional’ didn’t they understand? Continue reading

Wha?!! NFL Actually Paid Money Back?

Last year, the story broke about how the NFL and many of its teams were actually paid for those patriotic salutes to our veterans during games. Click HERE to read our post from last November.

check_in_the_mailWell, turns out it still took them 6 months to finally open up their wallets and pay back that money. But it was only $723,734 of the $6.8 million that the Dept. of Defense actually shelled out in total to the NFL and its teams. The rest of it was paid directly to the teams and here’s a list of the Top 10 recipients of those “patriotic tributes” with the Falcons topping the list:

  1. Atlanta Falcons $879,000
  2. New England Patriots $700,000
  3. Buffalo Bills $650,000
  4. Minnesota Wild $570,000
  5. Baltimore Ravens $534,500
  6. New Orleans Saints $472,875
  7. San Diego Chargers $453,500
  8. Seattle Seahawks $453,500
  9. Atlanta Braves $450,000
  10. Indianapolis Colts $420,000

Continue reading

From 2014: Casualties of the Gridiron – Season 2

And here’s Season 2 of GQ’s Casualties of the Gridiron. Has anything changed for retired players? Do players expect things to get any better with the so-called NFL concussion lawsuit settlement?

Continue reading

From 2013: Casualties of the Gridiron – Season 1

Back in 2013, GQ produced a documentary that followed several retired NFL players on their journey after leaving the game. The long-term effects of injuries to their bodies and their brains has serious impacts not only on them but their families, all with little or no attention or benefits from the NFL once they’re no longer of any use to them.

Here’s Season 1.

Continue reading

Gale Sayers and Crew Fight Back

heads i winIn some of our past posts, we’ve often pointed out the Heads-We-Win-Tails-You-Lose approach with all too many lawyers and lawsuits. And we pointed out that the plaintiffs’ attorneys for the NFL concussion lawsuits will be fighting over how to divide up their $112 million legal fees offered to them almost as soon as the settlement actually closes (but not before all appeals are done). But on top of the $112 million, many of the attorneys will also be claiming fees (typically around 35%) from players’ individual awards (if they ever receive anything over the 65 year term of the agreement).

Late last week, retired NFL players Gale Sayers, Lem Barney, Thomas Skladany, Thomas Vaughn, Jerry Rush, Kenneth Callicutt, and Eric Hipple filed a complaint in US District Court in Pennsylvania against the law firms of Hausfeld, LLP, Zimmerman Reed, LLP, Locks Law Firm, LLC, Bondurant, Mixson, & Elmore, LLP, and Pope, McGlamry, Kilpatrick, Morrison & Norwood, P.C. The retired players are seeking a declaratory judgment against any liens or potential liens those law firms may have on any potential monetary awards those players might receive from the NFL concussion lawsuit settlement offer. The suit was filed by Arthur Goldman and Shawn Rodgers of Arthur Goldman LLC for the law firm of Cummings, McClorey, Davis, & Acho, PLC which has been representing many in this group of players over the years.

We’ve uploaded a copy of the filing to Scribd for easy reading and downloading. Click on the Enlarge button in the lower right corner to enlarge in another tab for easier viewing. Continue reading

The Law of Unintended Consequences at Work

Law_unintended_consequencesSo the NFL looks like it may have dodged another bullet in the recent Circuit Court ruling against the retired players in the Concussion lawsuit settlement. But there are always unintended consequences to everything. And as always, the League expects someone else to pay. A couple of interesting new developments today both of which are now consequences emerging from this recent ruling. (You can read about it in our earlier post including a copy of the ruling by clicking HERE.)

Back in 2012 after the first concussion lawsuits started to work their way through the courts, the NFL’s insurance companies pushed back on limiting their liabilities for covering the League’s payouts on their liability coverage policies (in part because of the Riddell helmet lawsuit. So of course, the NFL ended up suing over 30 insurance companies in California and the insurance companies fired back with countersuits in New York to deny liability. All of this got put on hold for the past couple of years while the NFL concussion suit made its way through the court in Pennsylvania.

Well, in March of this year, New York State Judge Jeffrey K. Oing declared that the insurance cases should move forward in his court. And now that Judge Anita Brody’s ruling has been certified by the Third Circuit Court earlier this month, Judge Oing has just allowed the insurance companies to begin discovery in collecting documents as well as interviewing League officials and their doctors to gather evidence for their arguments. So now we have megabillion-dollar insurance companies going toe-to-toe with the puny $10 billion NFL.

Continue reading