The NFL front office has been very busy these past few months. After settling a class action lawsuit based on the concussions suffered by it's players past and present, they are rounding up their attorney's to fight a new lawsuit. Eight former NFL players: Jim McMahon, Richard Dent, Roy Green Jeremy Newberry, Keith Vanhorn, J.D. Hill, Ron Pritchard and Ron Stone are named in the lawsuit filed in San Francisco, which plaintiffs' attorneys plan to convert into a class action lawsuit covering all retired players.
The complaint states that the NFL, through it's employees of it's members teams, supplied it's players with illegal obtained drugs and painkillers throughout their careers. No one had ever advised them of the risks involved in taking these drugs and the dangers that they cause. As a result, the former players claim they were kept on the field during injuries and they now suffer debilitating medical complications including drug dependency.
When the concussion lawsuit was brought to the table, many experts believed the suit to be weak because the players were obviously aware of the game's dangers. Many felt the lawsuit wouldn't stick because the risks of playing such a violent sport were quite obvious. This painkiller lawsuit is quite different because it involves risks the players might not have been aware of. Because of this, it poses a much greater threat to the NFL, it's owners and the sports reputation.
The lawsuit was worded specifically to grab the attention of the media which in this case it has. The lawsuit was front page news and the number one or two story on most news networks. The suit claims the NFL “fraudulently concealed” the dangerous side effects of the drugs the players took. The NFL's alleged “intentional, reckless and negligent omissions” resulted in debilitating and lasting injuries to the former players. If these accusations are proven and the alleged practices continue, the NFL may have some serious problems ahead of them.
Richard Dent, a former player who was elected into the NFL Hall Of Fame in 2011, “received hundreds, if not thousands of injections from doctors and pills from trainers,”including Percodan and a combination drug including oxycodone hydrochloride. According to Dent, no one from the NFL ever spoke to him about the side effects of the medications he was given or mixing medications. Over the course of his career, Dent became addicted to the painkillers he was given, a slow process that overtook him without his being aware that it was happening.
The NFL is going to be scrutinized and this lawsuit will be in the spotlight for some time. The practices of the NFL trying to keep it's players on the field week in and week out has been leaked over the past couple of years by players who have announced their addictions to painkillers. Hopefully the NFL will change it's practices to protect it's players from addiction as well as permanent injuries.