Initially, the NFLPA had no comment about the settlement of the concussion lawsuits brought by former players.
Now, the union has issued a brief, one-sentence statement: “All of the plaintiffs involved are part of our player community, and we look forward to learning more about the settlement.”
The NFLPA has kept its head low throughout the concussion litigation, in large part because none of the plaintiffs had sued the players’ union — but any, some, or all of them could have sued. If the cases had ever gone to trial (and some cases still could, if players opt out and pursue their claims), the NFL would have highlighted the NFLPA’s role in projects like the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee, which allegedly understated the impact of concussions for years.
The NFLPA surely will be skeptical of the amounts paid by the NFL to settle these claims, especially since it breaks down to $23.9 million per team, to be paid out over 20 years. For businesses worth roughly $1 billion each at a minimum, that’s a small price to pay to avoid what could have been staggering liability.
So while the NFLPA isn’t saying much now, we’ve got a feeling that the NFLPA will be saying plenty as the details of the settlement become fully digested and understood.