In May, George Martin resigned as the head of NFL Alumni, a former-player advocacy group that was criticized at times for being tied too closely to the NFL. Less than three months later, Martin has sued the NFL for concussions, according to Paul Anderson of NFLConcussionLitigation.com.
Though it’s unknown whether Martin quit so that he could sue or whether he sued only after being forced out (or, in theory, whether there’s no connection at all), the development highlights the relative lack of concussion lawsuits from former players who are connected to the NFL Machine.
Other than NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger, no former player who either works for the league-owned media properties or one of the NFL’s major media partners has sued for concussions. As more and more former players file suit, the absence of former players who work in the media and who had well-documented concussion problems, like Troy Aikman (who works for FOX) and Steve Young (who works of ESPN), becomes more glaring.
The decision of former players who are tied to the NFL Machine to refrain from suing isn’t a surprise; it’s never wise to bite the hand that still feeds. In a roundabout way, however, it makes the players who are suing potentially come off as merely wanting to get more food from the hand that previously fed.
As the list of former players suing the league grows, the total number of players who are actually fine but who are trying to get some extra compensation from an ultra-deep pocket necessarily grows, too. The men who are truly injured should resent the fact that gravy-trainers are potentially undermining the collective effort.