In a memo distributed today to all certified contract advisors, the NFLPA cites an inconsistency regarding the manner in which the league is dealing with concussions.
Though the NFL has been focusing more zealously than ever on the challenges faced by head injuries, the NFLPA contends that the league has been refusing to pay players who have been released after being advised by the team’s concussion specialist that “it was too dangerous for the player to ever play professional football again due to multiple short and long term risks of another concussion.” Specifically, the union claims that, in several pending grievances filed after players were released and received no further salary following a warning from a concussion specialist that the player should not play football again, “the NFL has taken the position that once the player’s current symptoms dissipate and once his scores on cognitive tests have returned to baseline, he can be released with no obligation on the part of the club to pay his continued salary or Injury Protection payments.”
The NFLPA urges the agents to inform players of this tactic. “They need to be made aware of the inconsistencies in the NFL’s public comments attempting to demonstrate real concern over health and safety issues relating to concussions and their actions trying to limit their liability arising from those concussions,” the memo from the NFLPA legal department states.
If accurate, it’s a valid point. The league is now very concerned about concussions. If a player is advised by a team concussion specialist that the risks of continuing to play football given a history of concussions are too great, then the player should be treated under league rules like any other player who has suffered a career-ending injury, even if the player otherwise is technically cleared to resume playing.