On Tuesday, a lawyer representing former players who object to the concussion settlement informed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit of comments from NFL executive V.P. of player health and safety Jeff Miller linking football to Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy. The NFL has quickly responded to the correspondence from Steven F. Molo.
Attorney Paul Clement, who also represents the NFL in the pending Tom Brady appeal, explained to the Third Circuit that Miller’s remarks “have no bearing on the pending appeal,” and that the letter “raises nothing new, pertinent, or authoritative” regarding the appeal.
“Mr. Miller’s statement yesterday to the U. S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy & Commerce roundtable discussion is consistent with NFL positions in court and otherwise,” Clement wrote. “The NFL has previously acknowledged studies identifying a potential association between CTE and certain football players, including Dr. [Ann] McKee’s work, to which the NFL has contributed funding. Conspicuously omitted from Mr. Molo’s letter is any reference to either Mr. Miller’s comments on the limited knowledge of the ‘incidence or the prevalence’ of CTE or the District Court’s express finding that the scientific community indisputably acknowledges that the causes of CTE remain unknown and the subject of extensive medical and scientific research.”
The absence of a test to determine the presence of CTE in living patients created a balancing act that compensates deceased players with CTE but not living players with CTE who have no symptoms. The NFL’s admission that football can cause CTE, as a practical matter, does nothing to resolve that problem.