Is the NFL more concerned with profits or players' health and well-being? Yet another lawsuit has emerged highlighting severe health consequences of players due to possible medical cover-ups.
On Tuesday, a group of retired NFL players filed a lawsuit, seeking class-action status, stating the league illegally supplied them with narcotics and pain killers that numbed their serious injuries for games, which led to medical complications later on. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco.
The lawsuit names eight players who were active between 1969 and 2008, including three members of the NFL champion 1985 Chicago bears: Hall of Fame defensive end Richard Dent, offensive lineman Keith Van Home, and quarterback Jim McMahon. Other plaintiffs include Jeremy Newberry, Ron Pritchard, J.D. Hill, Ron Stone, and Roy Green. Lawyers state that over 500 other ex-athletes, spanning four decades of play, have signed onto the lawsuit.
The Associated Press reported the lawsuit and was given a copy of it ahead of the filing. It stated:
The league obtained and administered the drugs illegally, without prescriptions and without warning players of their potential side effects, to speed the return of injured players to the field and maximize profits, the lawsuit alleges. Players say they were never told about broken legs and ankles and instead were fed pills to mask the pain. 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 painkillers.
McMahon alleges he suffered a broken neck and ankle and was given painkillers to play through the injuries, but was never notified by his doctors about the extent of the injuries. He alleges he became addicted to painkillers, at one point taking more than 100 Percocet pills per month.
This is not the first run-in the NFL has had regarding player’s health. Last year, a concussion-related lawsuit by former players was settled by the NFL for $760 million. Six of the eight plaintiffs in Tuesday’s lawsuit were also involved in this one.
More than 4,500 former athletes – some suffered from dementia, depression, or Alzheimer’s that they blamed on hits to the head — sued the league, accusing it of hiding their concussions and allowing them to continue playing. The $760 million settlement is being used to compensate victims, pay for medical exams, and underwrite research.
The NFL has not yet commented on the painkiller lawsuit. The league says its lawyers have yet to review it. View the full lawsuit here.