I haven’t had the time to review the terms of the NFL’s concussion settlement with former players, but I’ve heard a lot of news coverage of it. On the Valley’s two morning drive-time sports talk shows (one local, one national) there was a lot of talk about the settlement and judging of winners and losers. It was odd hearing discussions of the pros and cons of settlement in this forum, but I loved it. Who knew that people in the sports world could echo Owen Fiss (Against Settlement) and Carrie Menkel-Meadow (Whose Settlement Is It Anyway?) so well?
There was a thoughtful discussion with former NFL players about causation issues, waivers of claims for injuries against the league, and the dreaded free riders who could be compensated. On the other side a sports business analyst discussed the economic benefits for team owners. After his discussion of how the settlement is supposed to work, I couldn’t help but think of this as any other mass tort compensation system – workers compensation, injury vaccine fund, 9/11 Fund, etc. There was also serious criticism of the settlement from those who want transparency – what did the league know about concussions and when did they know it? – and from those who think the amount of money involved is way too low.
Here’s a straight news story of the settlement, here’s a good overview of the settlement and why it’s a win-win, here’s a story on why it’s a win for the NFL’s owners, here’s a piece on some players and agents who think it’s not enough, and here’s a Q & A with a legal analyst.
Finally, the mediator was California lawyer/mediator Layn R. Phillips, a former Federal District Judge. I bet his mediation calendar is filling up fast.
Hat Tip – Sean Nolon