In the days since the NFL and attorneys for thousands of former players suing them over concussions agreed to a settlement, some have suggested that the $765 million figure was chump change to the league’s billionaire owners. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn’t agree with that.
“This is a significant amount of money,” Goodell told the Associated Press.
The thing about dollar amounts, however, is that they’re all relative. Obviously, $765 million is a lot of money to the average American individual, and even to the average American corporation. But to a business like the NFL, which is guaranteed to receive billions of dollars a year from its TV partners for many years to come, $765 million is a very manageable settlement. Especially when you consider that some of the most dire predictions about the concussion lawsuits suggested that they could bankrupt the league.
Goodell noted, however, that the plaintiffs in the lawsuit obviously thought $765 million was enough, or else they wouldn’t have settled for it.
“The plaintiffs also agreed it was an appropriate amount; the mediator felt it was an appropriate amount,” Goodell said.
At the same time, the plaintiffs — especially the ones who are elderly and/or in failing health — wanted to settle while they were still alive to receive the settlement. As Goodell himself acknowledged, getting a deal done quickly was important to the plaintiffs.
“We were able to find common ground to be able to get relief to the players and their families now rather than spending years litigating,” he said.
For those players, getting some money now is better than spending years litigating in the hopes of getting more money later. And for NFL owners, spending “a significant amount” now is a good deal, especially when that “significant amount” is a price they can easily afford.