Winners and Losers of the NFL Concussion Settlement

The Losers

1. Some of the plaintiffs: The most severely injured patients will receive the most funding, which is capped at $4-5 million per plaintiff. The $765 million settlement fee breaks down on average to $170,000 per player, but that will be weighted against individual injuries. When you consider that some of these former players don’t have health care and have filed for bankruptcy, that money might only go so far.

2. The public: Now that the case is closed, the NFL does not have to release any of the documents or records that could have been used in litigation. Settling means that the NFL won’t have to testify under oath about what it knew about concussions, when it knew and how it actively handled brain injury among players. For the time being, we’ll be in the dark.

3. Frontline: Just two weeks ago, ESPN pulled its support from PBS Frontline's investigative concussion documentary “League of Denial.” Two days after the announcement, The New York Times reported that ESPN’s decision was the result of pressure from NFL executives, which was later reported to be dissatisfaction with language used in promotional material. Now, “League of Denial” will likely have to add in a new ending, but more important, the documentary will never get the validation of its reporting via NFL court testimony -- or the wider platform offered by ESPN's programming reach.

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