All types of players, from all walks of life, have their names on the massive NFL concussion lawsuit settlement. And the clock is about to strike midnight on those still living, for they have a decision to make. It’s too late for a number of others, tragic victims of the game of football.
Junior Seau, Dave Deurson, Ray Easterling, Mike Webster, Terry Long, and their families, are all caught in the vortex of a storm over the many deaths of players in the NFL, and whether they are being properly compensated for the pain and suffering and then death brought on by concussions, dementia, Alzheimer’s and then CTE.
Their lives ended by a shot to the head, a shot to the heart, by a hanging, by a raging drunk driving accident, by carbon monoxide poisoning, by drinking anti-freeze..
The midnight deadline is upon us, for players living and suffering too, the families of those who died, to declare whether they are willing to accept terms of the $765M settlement proposed by the NFL.
Fixed fees have been agreed upon for players who are living but suffering, the aftermath of brain damage from all those hits. Fees for dementia, for Alzheimer’s, for loss of brain functions. A separate set of fees for the families of players who took their own life, unable to cope with the life they had to face in retirement.
But how do you put a price on mood swings, personality disorders, alcholism and pain pill addiction? What is the price on divorces and lost families?
The total amount of money to be paid out sounds enormous, till you read the fine print of the limitations attached to taking a check. A limited payoff covering five years; smaller amounts for older-dying players. No amounts for some players who had settlements earlier in their career. And no money for any player today, who might develop all these symptoms tomorrow, when their careers are over.
The NFL admitted no guilt in hiding information about concussion dangers over the last couple of decades. It is hard to believe they offered up this money out of the goodness of their heart, when they saw all the suffering players were going thru for years, and did little to help. Now they have conscience, once it was determined they might wind up in court.
A panel will decide who are the neediest, from players in care facilities, to those in wheelchairs, or many limping into doctor’s meetings. There seems to be such a large gray area, no one has quite figured out, how they came to the awards clauses in the agreement.
To fight this further in court, would tie up all this money, stopping any of it from getting to the players most needy. But deep in your heart, it still does not seem to be enough.
The deadline to accept or opt-out is upon us and the confusion, the protests and the uncertainty is still very loud, loud as a drumbeat.
A drumbeat everywhere except at the gravesites with the headstones that read Seau-Duerson-Waters and so many more.
Football was their life. Football took their life. And no amount of money can make up for what they gave up, what happened to them, or how it ended.