Lawsuit: NFL hid information
PHILADELPHIA — A concussion-related lawsuit bringing together scores of cases has been filed in federal court, accusing the NFL of hiding information that linked football-related head trauma to permanent brain injuries.
Lawyers for former players say more than 80 pending lawsuits are consolidated in the “master complaint” filed Thursday in Philadelphia.
Plaintiffs hope to hold the NFL responsible for the care of players suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions. Other former players remain asymptomatic, but worry about the future and want medical monitoring. The helmet-maker Riddell, Inc. also is named as a defendant.
“I want this game to be around, to be a great sport, a sport that my own boys will be able to play and enjoy all the benefits I believe that football has,” said former Eagles and Patriots running back Kevin Turner, now suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
The suit accuses the NFL of “mythologizing” and glorifying violence through the media, including its NFL Films division.
“The NFL, like the sport of boxing, was aware of the health risks associated with repetitive blows producing sub-concussive and concussive results and the fact that some members of the NFL player population were at significant risk of developing long-term brain damage and cognitive decline as a result,” the complaint charges.
“Despite its knowledge and controlling role in governing player conduct on and off the field, the NFL turned a blind eye to the risk and failed to warn and/or impose safety regulations governing this well-recognized health and safety problem.”
The league has denied similar accusations in the past.
“Our legal team will review today’s filing that is intended to consolidate plaintiffs’ existing claims into one master complaint,” the NFL said in a statement. “The NFL has long made player safety a priority and continues to do so. Any allegation that the NFL sought to mislead players has no merit. It stands in contrast to the league’s many actions to better protect players and advance the science and medical understanding of the management and treatment of concussions.”
According to an AP review of 81 lawsuits filed through May 25, the plaintiffs include 2,138 former players. The total number of plaintiffs in those cases is 3,356, which includes players, spouses and other relatives or representatives.
The list of notable former players connected to concussion lawsuits is extensive and includes the family of Dave Duerson, who shot himself last year. Ex-quarterback Jim McMahon, Duerson’s teammate on Super Bowl-winning 1985 Chicago Bears, also has been among the plaintiffs.
The cases are being consolidated for pretrial issues and discovery before Senior U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody in Philadelphia.
Smoltz’s number to be retired
ATLANTA — John Smoltz is taking his place beside Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine as Braves pitchers from the 1995 World Series championship team to have their numbers retired.
Smoltz will have his No. 29 retired before Friday night’s game against Toronto.
It will be the ninth Braves uniform number to be retired, including the fourth in four years, following former manager Bobby Cox (6) last year, Glavine (47) in 2010 and Maddux (31) in 2009.
Smoltz is the only pitcher in Major League history with at least 200 wins and 150 saves. He has the most strikeouts in postseason history with 199. The eight-time NL All-Star won the National League Cy Young Award in 1996, when he won 24 games. He is a broadcaster for the MLB Network and TBS.
Aussie swimmers in hot water
SYDNEY — Swimming Australia has ordered Olympic team members Nick D’Arcy and Kenrick Monk to remove photos of themselves posing with guns from their social media sites.
The photo of Monk holding two pump-action shotguns and standing beside D’Arcy, who had a pistol in each hand, in a U.S. gun shop spread quickly in social and traditional media Thursday, with Sydney Daily Telegraph taking to Twitter to ask: “Are you offended by this photograph of Nick D’Arcy and Kenrick Monk in a U.S. gun shop?”
Swimming Australia issued a statement saying it became aware of “inappropriate photos” and “instantly contacted the athletes involved to ask for them to be removed.”
Both swimmers have faced disciplinary panels before.