A unified lawsuit on behalf of over 2,000 National Football League players has been filed against the league in federal court.
These players allege that the NFL has failed to acknowledge and address neurological risks associated with the sport; and then deliberately failed to tell players about the risks they faced, according to attorneys representing former players.
Mary Anne Easterling, widow of former Atlanta Falcons safety Ray Easterling, who committed suicide in April after suffering for years from dementia, said in a press release:
"I firmly believe the NFL could have and should have done more to protect Ray. That’s why I am seeking to hold the NFL accountable,” “Having lived through Ray’s struggle, I desperately hope and pray others can be spared the pain and suffering we have endured – and still endure every day.”
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthey addressed the filing, but added that there was nothing new to the claim other than that it merges all of them in one place.
McCarthy says, "Our legal team will review today's filing that is intended to consolidate plaintiffs' existing claims into one "master" complaint. 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."
Lawyers representing the NFL players cited "dementia, depression, reduced cognitive ability, sleeplessness, early-onset Alzheimer’s, and a debilitating and latent disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy" as some of the specific injuries caused by head trauma in the NFL.
This is a highly complex issue, with many variables to consider. Especially since Roger Goodell’s relentless finings and other measures to make the game safer have been heavily and publically disdained by current players, e.g. James Harrison.
Also many fans have spoken out, claiming that the game has gotten softer. Football, by nature is hard hitting and violent, which is a leading reason of America’s obsession with it. The fans must recognize that these are human beings on the field, and safety precautions may be necessary to salvage players' post-football lives.