Skip to content

Kevin Turner, suffering from ALS, explains why he’s suing the NFL

kevinturner Getty Images

Former Eagles and Patriots running back Kevin Turner, who now suffers from a crippling disease that he attributes to injuries suffered in the NFL, said today that he takes a backseat to no one in his love for football, but that he doesn’t believe the NFL has done enough to protect its players.

Speaking on a conference call arranged by the lawyers who filed the “master complaint” against the NFL today, Turner talked about the struggles of living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease), and he said it’s past time for the NFL to make the game safer.

“I want this game to be around, to be a great sport, a sport that my own boys will be able to play and enjoy all the benefits I believe football has,” Turner said. “But let’s face it and be honest: I feel like the NFL has, over the past couple decades, at least until ’08 or ’09, kind of turned a blind eye to the seriousness of not only concussions but sub-concussive hits and the cumulative effects of those, and how these retired players are having so much difficulty getting along in their daily lives.”

Turner believes the NFL needs to be forced into changes, including changes to players’ practice routines. Turner mentioned two high-profile coaches of his who strongly believed in full contact at practice and would never change their practice habits by choice.

“Bill Parcells and offensive coordinator Jon Gruden were two very intense people who only knew how to practice one way,” Turner said.

The NFL has already taken some steps toward reducing the number of contact practices the players go through, but Turner suggested that the NFL won’t continue taking steps to make the game safer unless the players and former players drag them in that direction. Turner said his role in the lawsuit isn’t about bringing down the NFL, it’s about making the NFL better.

“I love football,” Turner said. “I think anyone would be hard-pressed to find somebody who loved it more.”

Permalink 55 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, Rumor Mill, Top Stories
55 Responses to “Kevin Turner, suffering from ALS, explains why he’s suing the NFL”
  1. rr2000k says: Jun 7, 2012 12:09 PM

    Sucks that you have it, but really? Are we going to sue for every single malady, and say it was the NFL’s fault? Maybe I’ll sue, because the NFL has made me an alcoholic on Sundays.

  2. CKL says: Jun 7, 2012 12:11 PM

    What proof does he have that the NFL had info and hid it? Because if he has that, then the NFL should be held liable. If not, they shouldn’t. Burden of proof is on the accusers.

  3. greenbay4ever says: Jun 7, 2012 12:13 PM

    “because the NFL has made me an alcoholic on Sundays”

    Cheers to that.

  4. nyyjetsknicks says: Jun 7, 2012 12:14 PM

    rr2000k says: Jun 7, 2012 12:09 PM

    Sucks that you have it, but really? Are we going to sue for every single malady, and say it was the NFL’s fault? Maybe I’ll sue, because the NFL has made me an alcoholic on Sundays.

    ______________________________

    Class action lawsuit!

  5. kingcarlbanks says: Jun 7, 2012 12:17 PM

    It’s your typical feeding frenzy. Now every broke experience football player with a hangnail will be suing. They don’t care if they tear down the NFL, as long as they get what they feel they are owed. One thing I hate about America, nobody takes responsibility for there choices. They always have an excuse or a scapegoat.

  6. paleandpasty says: Jun 7, 2012 12:17 PM

    I feel sorry for him that he has ALS. I feel even sorrier for him for trying to sue the league over this. Your chances of winning are zero point zero.

  7. zaggs says: Jun 7, 2012 12:17 PM

    The only way the NFL can make the game totally safe for players is to shut down.

  8. m3phitic says: Jun 7, 2012 12:20 PM

    ALS has been specifically linked to brain trauma. So I wouldn’t say it’s just another “malady.”

  9. scrapingthefloorioforstorios says: Jun 7, 2012 12:22 PM

    i just don’t see how someone who chose to be a running back could later complain that the game was too violent. ramming their body into huge masses of people at top speed was his job. how do you make that safer? i don’t know, but the only way to fully avoid the consequences is to not play.

  10. willyalistentothis says: Jun 7, 2012 12:23 PM

    I have been to both Gene Stallings practices at Alabama as well as Bill Parcells practices in the NFL. By a wide margin the Stallings practices were way more physical and intense – no contest. I guess I am confused to why Turner is assigning the blame for his off field issues to the NFL.

  11. brswan says: Jun 7, 2012 12:23 PM

    I sit in a cubicle all day. Can’t wait to sue my employer for getting diabetes, obesity, carpal tunnel, bad eyesight, and anything else i can think of.

    You full knew all the risks to play the game and got paid handsomely to do it. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

  12. changeup39 says: Jun 7, 2012 12:30 PM

    I’m suing the NFL because I chose to watch football instead of study on Sundays. Cost me millions in potential earnings and quality of life!!!

    Seriously though, this is getting out of hand.

  13. felcus says: Jun 7, 2012 12:30 PM

    I got kicked out of a game last year for being too drunk (not too proud, but it happened). I wouldn’t have been that drunk if it wasn’t for the NFL. Maybe I should sue because the NFL doesn’t do enough to prevent people from drinking.

    For real though, the NFL is full of grown men that DECIDE to play. The League is doing what it can to bring awareness and solutions to health problems within the game. No matter how much they do, people will still get injured. The bottom line is that players will always have the decision to play or not. Nobody is forcing them. All this legal action is bullsh!t.

  14. barrywhererufrom says: Jun 7, 2012 12:34 PM

    God Bless Kevin Turner..he is right about the NFL turning a blind eye to the retired players concussions. Their has to be a correlation between concussions and ALS. They now think that Lou Gehrig had thirtey concussions in his career. Scary stuff..hope the NFL and the NFLPA figures this out..love the game but hate seeing people suffer because of it..

  15. diablo19709 says: Jun 7, 2012 12:37 PM

    Lawyers Suck- Simple enough?

  16. lgw91s says: Jun 7, 2012 12:38 PM

    Explains why he is suing the NFL? The same reason everyone else is. For money.

  17. tebowsafraud says: Jun 7, 2012 12:40 PM

    rr2000k says: Jun 7, 2012 12:09 PM

    Sucks that you have it, but really? Are we going to sue for every single malady, and say it was the NFL’s fault? Maybe I’ll sue, because the NFL has made me an alcoholic on Sundays.

    —————————

    Whether or not the NFL has made you an alcoholic on Sundays is hard to say. How wasted and dumb do you get the other days the week?

    What IS certain though is you have no understanding of what the folks who are suing the NFL are diagnosed as having.

    The “sucks to have it” apathy you and so many others espouse (on ex NFL players, poor folks, minorities, handicapped and on and on) is a sad reflection of the angry, cynical, soul-less person that passes for the American citizen today-at least a large portion of them.

  18. vikingsfanintexas says: Jun 7, 2012 12:50 PM

    “Turner said his role in the lawsuit isn’t about bringing down the NFL, it’s about making the NFL better.”

    *************************************

    That’s complete bull… it’s about money… moola… cash… greenbacks… bread… dough… always has been… always will be…

    Hopefully some judge will decide these guys took a potentially dangerous job with known risks… (remember Willie Lanier’s special helment from the 70’s because of his concussions?)

    Known risks… and they were paid well because of the entertainment value and the known risks.

    Sooner or later some judge will reach that conclusion. But it’s going to be years. Meanwhile, we’ll endure endless media reports about some other ex-player joining the lawsuit… FOR THE MONEY!!!

    The risk of the NFL isn’t new… many, many, many, ex-players can’t walk without pain, have bent fingers, bad backs, bad necks, knees that pop out of place, etc., etc., etc. And many have suffered concussions that have affected them permanently. BY CHOICE because they knew of the risks.

    They put warning labels on all sorts of products… you think the one on the helmet would be a freaking clue that banging your head over and over is likley to cause you to have an injury.

    It’s always about the money… always…

  19. erod22 says: Jun 7, 2012 12:50 PM

    …and in this grotesquely litigious and growing liberal society we live in, the NFL is not long for this world.

    Ridiculous.

  20. mjkelly77 says: Jun 7, 2012 12:58 PM

    I didn’t know Lou Gehrig played football. I have a friend with ALS. And another with MS. Neither played football not even in high school. The only thing they had in common was growing up in the same neighborhood and a tour in Vietnam. Too bad they didn’t play in the NFL.

    I feel sorry for Kevin Turner, just as I do for my friends. But to blame the NFL for ALS is patently wrong. It appears to me to be a cheap money grab. It oozes greed. Free choice allowed these veterans to play and earn fabulous incomes. No agent or team held a gun to anyone’s head and forced them to sign a contract. And now that their playing days are over, they’re asking for more money. It’s greed.

  21. ickky says: Jun 7, 2012 12:58 PM

    So..let me get this straight. You play football at a young age, I assume through out highschool, college, and then take a pro job playing football for a good chunck of money. Now that you are old its the NFL’s fault? Did anybody force you to choose a career in football? Nobodys fault but yours.

    I would suggest a waver in future contracts to end this nonsence.

  22. jwired21 says: Jun 7, 2012 1:03 PM

    While I feel sorry for anyone with any kind of disease, I know most of these players would do it again even with risks known. I know the risks and if I had their skills I would do it myself. And correct me if I’m wrong, but Lou Gehrig didn’t get ALS from punishing blows in football. If only we could all sue someone when life just doesn’t seem fair to us.

  23. skinsrock says: Jun 7, 2012 1:07 PM

    This game is not for the young at heart, it is the true American version of Gladiators & although the risk may be more clear… You mean to tell me Merrill Hoge didn’t know his concussions were bad for him when he was having issues while playing the game & ultimately had to retire? Or how about Eric Lindross? Speaking of hockey, dudes get hit in the head with pucks… Ever see a movie with Paul Walker called Running Scared? They give a clear & up close Hollywood version of what it would be like to take a few of those… I’m just saying… In the early days Men didn’t live very long cause they were in battles with swords & everyone wanted to come take their property. What I see? The old guys who made this game want theirs… They see the unbelievable dollars that are just coming into these owner’s pockets & the owners are stiffing the older players by not really providing anything for their futures. So, now… here we are. Athletes in these too sports if any other know exactly the risk they are taking for the fame, prestige, money, etc that comes with being a professional athlete. I just hope they get this settled once & for all. There isn’t an ex-player who given the opportunity would do it all over again… I guess the real problem is… If there is no pee wee, high school, or college football, then there would be no NFL?… Money wins here, It’s too big to fail. Technology increases everyday… Private companies can make spaceships to reach space but we can’t find a way to protect the brain for a 3 hour football game? I don’t think so… Instead of stupid rules, the NFL needs to invest in research.

  24. skinsrock says: Jun 7, 2012 1:09 PM

    For the spelling editors… I know it’s “two”.

  25. rubberinnertube says: Jun 7, 2012 1:11 PM

    This country’s demise will be its litigious culture and the growing (and increasingly socially acceptable) abandonment of personal responsibility.

    If the NFL hid information that’s one thing, but if society didn’t simply know any better at the time, these players need to look elsewhere.

    No one takes responsibility for their own actions anymore. We all cry for freedom and the opportunity for personal liberty without persecution, but we also don’t want to take onus of the choices we make with those liberties.

    Choose to buy a cup of coffee at McDonalds and then spill that coffee on our own crotch and now we’re going to sue for damages. Our great-grandparents would have been laughed out of the attorney’s office in their day if they brought that argument in.

    If there was manipulation or wrong doing on the NFL’s part then pursue retribution and reparations…otherwise, do like the rest of us and play the hand you were dealt.

  26. therealraiderduck says: Jun 7, 2012 1:14 PM

    “barrywhererufrom says:
    Jun 7, 2012 12:34 PM
    Their [sic] has to be a correlation between concussions and ALS.”

    ================================

    Please provide a citation from any study specifically linking concussions and ALS. If you cannot provide one, then will you agree that Turner’s suit is all about getting some money for his family and NOTHING to do with the NFL causing the disease he regrettably has?

  27. rcali says: Jun 7, 2012 1:14 PM

    My company never told me my job could be stressful. Time to Sue!!!!!

  28. bsizemore68 says: Jun 7, 2012 1:15 PM

    Liberal has nothing to do with this, most of the players are republicans, it goes with the big pay check, this is all about the money, not a single player on this law suite turn down there pay check. When it comes to money both conservatives and liberal are in bed together. Bill p.s. when have we ever learn of a multi million dollars player under contract in his second year say hes concern about his health and will turn down the money and walk away?

  29. lafan85 says: Jun 7, 2012 1:18 PM

    Brswan – I sit in a cubicle all day. Can’t wait to sue my employer for getting diabetes, obesity, carpal tunnel, bad eyesight, and anything else i can think of.

    You full knew all the risks to play the game and got paid handsomely to do it. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. —————This nails it. Best comment ive heard regarding this circus.

  30. EJ says: Jun 7, 2012 1:18 PM

    Kevin Turner having ALS is terrible.

    The NFL didn’t come forward until recently about the problems that could rise from concussions. Any player suing the NFL that played before the date the NFL released the info should be compensated for any medical costs accrued. The NFL knew about the problems with concussions long ago but chose to withhold that information, and they should be held liable. I’m sure the NFL has its current players signing documents saying they understand the risks of playing, covering themselves from future lawsuits. I’m not sure how much ALS and concussions have to do with each other, but you never know, there could be a connection.

  31. sabatimus says: Jun 7, 2012 1:20 PM

    “rr2000k says:
    Jun 7, 2012 12:09 PM
    Sucks that you have it, but really? Are we going to sue for every single malady, and say it was the NFL’s fault? Maybe I’ll sue, because the NFL has made me an alcoholic on Sundays.”

    You’re seriously comparing ALS to getting drunk on Sundays? I don’t know if Turner really has a case because he had to know (to an extent, anyway) what he was getting into and still chose to do it, but your comparison is absurd.

  32. rockthered1286 says: Jun 7, 2012 1:21 PM

    Next up? The stress of the NFL has driven players to drinking, thus contributing to their DUI’s. NFLPA wants Goddell to suspend himself for his inaction.

  33. spartyfi says: Jun 7, 2012 1:21 PM

    tebowsafraud: So saying it sucks to have ALS or other issues is “Sad to have” means we are soul-less and cynical? Where do you get that idea? It sucks to have doesn’t sound souless to me, it sounds like the truth. It WOULD suck to have ALS! What more should we say? I don’t know this guy personally so how can I show any more care than acknowledging his circumstances suck?

    You sir need to toughen up and realize, being nice isn’t a requirement, and neither is caring! And if you’re not nice or don’t care, it doesn’t mean you’re soul-less, it means you don’t have time to pretend! I’m nice to and care about my friends, family, coworkers and others that are a part of my life. Those that aren’t, well I don’t have the time nor the energy to worry about them, life’s too short!

  34. dasmol says: Jun 7, 2012 1:23 PM

    Will the players that never made it to the NFL start suing colleges and high schools?

  35. 513guy says: Jun 7, 2012 1:28 PM

    This character needs to realize that no one, not a single person, forced him into the sport which in turn lead to the NFL. So rather than take responsibility and accept his choice he is seeking a payout. What a total coward. Get over it.

  36. godcanfirealdavis says: Jun 7, 2012 1:32 PM

    I played high school football and get headaches occasionally. I think I’m gonna file a lawsuit against the program and sue them silly. I’m bringing the hammer down on em!

  37. denverdave3 says: Jun 7, 2012 1:35 PM

    Everybody blames the league, but if indeed it was negligent then so too was the NFLPA, ditto all the players, their agents and spouses etc. This is a lot like the original warnings on the side of cigarette packages. Everybody knew that “smoking can be dangerous to your health” long before the disclaimer was printed on the side of the package and everybody knew football was violent before recent conversations. If I was on a jury I would not award the players of the NFL or a black lunged smoker a dime.

  38. maddbearfan says: Jun 7, 2012 1:41 PM

    Yep, didn’t think about that while enjoying the media attention and the status you enjoyed while being a player. Could have done something else.
    But my heart goes out to you as far as having ALS. Lost some relatives and some real good friends to it and it’s no way to go. All were 40+ when it struck.

  39. bigwinintx says: Jun 7, 2012 1:41 PM

    I work in a chemical plant, and I know the risks of explosion and cancer that harbors over me and I go to work daily.

    If my company held information from me that would endanger my life or safety, then I would have the mindset to sue…

    BUT

    I DO know the risks, I DO know the dangers, and just like a football player, I’m given the equipment to protect my body and safety regulations to protect others. You can’t claim ignorance when you’ve known and seen the dangers of the hits and have watched your own team mates hit or be hit.

    We all chose our own paths and have to deal with what we do.

  40. jjljr says: Jun 7, 2012 1:45 PM

    it seems that many (most) posters here side with the league, with the average response being “you made a lot of $$ playing, now deal with it.”

    that’s a truly-misinformed opinion. wherever you shop, store owners have obligations to protect their customers from known risks. if you go to the park, the city or county has obligations to protect visitors from known risks. these same obligations are expected from NFL owners … if they knew about, and ignored, risks to their employees — whether those employees worked in an office or on the field — then those owners didn’t meet their responsibilities.

    the player’s compensation is irrelevant, so let’s stop with the moronic jealousy. the league has obviously improved on player safety issues, but that doesn’t let them off the hook for previous transgressions. if it can be proven that the league ignored or buried evidence about the long-term effects of playing in the NFL, then — to a degree that will be difficult to calculate — they should and will be liable for damages.

    period.

  41. sayhay66 says: Jun 7, 2012 1:49 PM

    ALS has been specifically linked to brain trauma. So I wouldn’t say it’s just another “malady.”

    Trauma increases the chances of getting ALS, it isnt specifically linked to the disease.

    But to make the argument that he got ALS because he played in the NFL is a tough argument to make…since about 90% of all cases of ALS aren’t linked to anything (genetically or injury induced).

    I wish him and his family the best…but this lawsuit stands no chance……

  42. dknice says: Jun 7, 2012 1:50 PM

    It was as recently as late 2000 that I recall an NFL spokesman on HBO Real Sports saying there is no link to concussions and other maladies, despite overwhelming evidence. The problem is the “anti-player”, “anti-union”, “anti-different than me” crowd has such a short attention span it is impossible to reason with them.

  43. rajbais says: Jun 7, 2012 1:55 PM

    This is why Bill Parcells is overrated!!!

    Just because you take advantage of the fact that these players had non-guaranteed contracts it does not mean that you are special!!!!!

    Is football intellect garbage??? Bill Parcells was only given the credit that he never deserved because his media buddies at NBC and ESPN overhyped the crap out of his phony name!!!

    Bill Walsh did not have live tackling in his practices and we don’t hear about his players having the problems that Parcells’ ex-players have!!!! Walsh said “you have to be able to know how to tackle” and he was an actual football genius!!!

    Bill Belichick has football intellect and after Parcells lost him he never won a playoff game again!!!!!

    Walsh and Belichick have won a combined six Super Bowl championships!!!

    Parcells only won two back in the 1980’s and Belichick was on his staff then as well!!!!!

    Lesson to people who want to become coaches: have a football mind first, put your players in the best position to succeed, and don’t overdrive them to death!!!!

    The dictator coach has been embraced for too long because the media wants the players to be in their position!!! They’re bosses are cool and so it’s okay for the coach to be the same!!!

    If Parcells has to wait for the Hall of Fame even longer I support it 100%!!!!

    Bill Walsh, R.I.P.
    Bill Belichick deserves to be enshrined in Canton before Parcells!!!!

  44. DailySpew says: Jun 7, 2012 2:01 PM

    Because brain trauma and ALS are linked, it entirely stands to reason he’d take this position.

    I love the NFL, love the hitting, brutality and violence. But as employers, the owners do need to assume some reasonable degree of responsibility in protecting their employees. Just because people who play contact sports professionally assume some degree of risk doesn’t mean they are justifiably exposed to any and all medical risk at any point in the calendar year. That’s why the league is vulnerable to some degree in these suits.

    I don’t like that legal action, congressional hearings, and lockouts are the only way to get owners moving any more than the next fan. But owners in any sport do nothing unless forced to. If action like this gets them moving toward reasonable measures of player safety while still giving us fans a great, high-impact, high-contact product, that’s probably the best we can all hope for.

  45. jpiro says: Jun 7, 2012 2:03 PM

    He should sue Lou Gehrig. It’s his disease, after all.

  46. granadafan says: Jun 7, 2012 2:04 PM

    If only the NFL had given the retired players a little more money when they asked for it. Now the lawyers, uh ex-players, have found another way to get the money they wanted ——–> SUING!

  47. returntoexcellence says: Jun 7, 2012 2:05 PM

    Actually, I’m okay with this. The more ridiculous these lawsuits get, the better for the NFL. It’s going to get to a point (already is in my book) where any judge in the land can see that this is just a huge money grab by anyone who suffered a past injury. The more people that jump on the band wagon at this point are only hurting these lawsuits in my opinion. ALL ABOARD!!!

  48. The Shoeman says: Jun 7, 2012 2:36 PM

    Kevin Turner was a very good player for the Eagles.

    I don’t anything about the law or lawsuits, but
    as far as Kevin Turner goes,

    Best of Luck

  49. Patriot42 says: Jun 7, 2012 2:45 PM

    I have filed suit against the National Football League and the Kansas City Chiefs, for which I love dearly but do to the fact that the Chiefs have not won a Super Bowl in over 40 years have put undue stress on my health and family. I also have due to frustration damaged valuable furniture and veterinarian bills to remove my foot out of my dogs arse several years ago. I could have achieved success in life if I have not had to endure this trauma caused by the league and the Chiefs.

  50. howiehandles says: Jun 7, 2012 2:47 PM

    Gotta love all the people calling this guy out for suing. I don’t care what happens to these guys, as long as they play for my team. Suck it up, you’re not tough enough. All these sort of comments from people who probably call off work because they’re hung over, or have a sore throat.

    The NFL does bear responsibility for the protection of their employees, just as any other business is responsible for their employees health and welfare…in theory.

  51. exhelodrvr says: Jun 7, 2012 2:52 PM

    1) Do you think that the NFL should do what it reasonably can to make the league safer for the players?

    2) Do you think that the NFL would care nearly as much, if at all, about making the league safer if they weren’t worried about the financial repercussions from not doing so?

  52. tebowsafraud says: Jun 7, 2012 2:55 PM

    spartyfi says: Jun 7, 2012 1:21 PM

    tebowsafraud: So saying it sucks to have ALS or other issues is “Sad to have” means we are soul-less and cynical? Where do you get that idea? It sucks to have doesn’t sound souless to me, it sounds like the truth.

    ———————–

    Please go back and read the posters original comment IN FULL. One can clearly and unambiguously see that he used the phrase “sucks that you have it” in a way that was not meant to be sympathetic. Context counts…..

  53. gopherspushfornitbid says: Jun 7, 2012 3:01 PM

    The league has known and covered up the topic for years. Am I the only one who actually reads real news anymore? The league only recently fired their concussion research counsel (some hired hack researcher from the the steelers) due to the now overwhelming evidence that football leads to concussions, leads to Als, leads to cte…. Only with last years cba did the league take a 180 degree turn on its position. The league has had too many come to Jesus moments (seat, waters, and so on….) to deny their culpability at this point? Good luck finding a jury that wouldn’t convict. They knew. They begged us not to pay attention to the man behind the curtain. The nfl should be thankful to face a civil suit instead of criminal charges. The good news is their embarrassing policies are over and the product is just as entertaining as before….only player safety is clearly a priority. Amen.

  54. mrlaloosh says: Jun 7, 2012 3:28 PM

    Send me a check! The NFL gives me the runs.

  55. vikingsfanintexas says: Jun 7, 2012 4:03 PM

    jjljr says:Jun 7, 2012 1:45 PM

    it seems that many (most) posters here side with the league, with the average response being “you made a lot of $$ playing, now deal with it.”

    that’s a truly-misinformed opinion. wherever you shop, store owners have obligations to protect their customers from known risks. if you go to the park, the city or county has obligations to protect visitors from known risks. these same obligations are expected from NFL owners … if they knew about, and ignored, risks to their employees — whether those employees worked in an office or on the field — then those owners didn’t meet their responsibilities.

    the player’s compensation is irrelevant, so let’s stop with the moronic jealousy. the league has obviously improved on player safety issues, but that doesn’t let them off the hook for previous transgressions. if it can be proven that the league ignored or buried evidence about the long-term effects of playing in the NFL, then — to a degree that will be difficult to calculate — they should and will be liable for damages.

    period.

    **************************************

    Thankfully you’re absolutely wrong. There is a difference between going to a store or park and GETTING PAID TO DO A DANGEROUS JOB.

    You aren’t an attorney on the lookout for an ambulance by chance?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!