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NFL Reaches $765 Million Settlement with Former Players in Concussion Case

Breaking news: the National Football League‘s notorious concussion case headache is over—for now. The league reached a $765 million settlement in the class action suit filed by 4500 former players who claimed that they were misled about the toll a (brief, ridiculously profitable) football career would take on one’s mental and physical health.

Our big conclusion: this is more of a a PR fail than a monetary fail. Given the fact that the league brought in at least $10 billion in profits last year, looks poised to reach $25 billion within the next five years and miraculously retains its status as a non-profit organization, this is a big but completely manageable hit—each player will get just under $200K, which is less than what most would earn playing a single game. Oh, and we just learned that the freaking NFL, which is one of the most successful businesses in the world, doesn’t have to pay taxes. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

Touché.

So football generally looks bad in this case, especially after reports that teams hid concussions from the media and that NFL lobbyists pressured ESPN to drop out of the planned Nightline documentary on the subject. Debate over whether coaches and spokespeople should answer questions about players’ injuries will continue, and many will paint the league as the bad guy. But will that deter fans from watching games, buying merchandise and frequenting partner businesses?

Haha, just kidding. You’ll have to pry those pigskins from our cold, dead, half-drunk, barbeque-flavored hands.

UPDATE:

Any of the approximately 18,000 former NFL players are eligible…Individual awards would be capped at $5 million for men with Alzheimer’s disease; $4 million for those diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy after their deaths; and $3 million for players with dementia.

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