Two former National Football League (NFL) players are alleging that the NFL players’ union hid risks from its members. NFL Players including Defensive tackle Christian Ballard, formerly of the Minnesota Vikings, and linebacker Gregory Westbrooks, formerly of the New Orleans Saints, are alleging that the National Football League Players Association was a conspirator with the National Football League in hiding risks of head and brain injuries.
The suit follows in the wake of a series of lawsuits against the league by former players over the same issue.
Earlier this year, more than 200 lawsuits pending against the league, filed by more than 5,000 former NFL players, were consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The players have alleged that the effects of brain injuries, head injuries, concussions and the dangers of multiple sustained head injuries were not disclosed to them while they were playing for the NFL. They also allege that the helmets they played with provided inadequate protection. On July 7, 2014, Judge Anita Brody granted preliminary approval of a $675 million dollar settlement to resolve the players’ claims that the NFL failed to adequately warn NFL players about the risks of head injuries.
The latest suit against the players union, which seeks to represent all of the league’s former players, alleges that the union knew about the potential risks of head and brain injuries, but, in concert with the league, failed to disclose the risks to the players themselves.
The complaint alleges that, “despite their knowledge and acceptance of the link between concussive and sub-concussive hits and cognitive decline, defendants continued to actively and purposefully conceal and misrepresent the severe neurological risks.” In response, the players’ union emphasized its commitment to protecting player safety and educating players on the dangers of head injuries.
With more than 35 years of experience representing professional athletes, individuals and businesses in the areas of sports law and business litigation, James J. “Jim” Thomas II is recognized as an expert across Georgia. If you or your business needs assistance in sports law, business ventures, handling complex business litigation, or in the analysis, evaluation, and resolution of existing and potential litigation in sports law cases, give Jim a call at 404-869-5248 or email him today to set up a consultation.