The concussion lawsuits have caused an interesting dynamic whenever a team and a former player have any type of interaction.
The first thing that comes to mind for me (and presumably for others in the media) is whether the former player has sued the NFL or his team(s) for concussions.
That’s precisely what happened a few minutes ago, after receiving the press release from the Vikings that linebacker Matt Blair will become the 20th member of the team’s Ring of Honor. Blair will receive the honor on October 25 against the Buccaneers. The second-round pick in 1974 ranks second on the team’s all-time tackles list, with 1,452.
Blair also made it to six straight Pro Bowls for the Vikings, from 1977 through 1982.
But he hasn’t sued (yet). It would be interesting to know whether he still would have received the honor if he had.
Even the lawsuits that don’t specifically attack a player’s team(s) necessarily do. The league is the conduit for the 32 franchises. Suing the league means suing all teams, which means suing the former team that may (or may not) be honoring a player.
Should it matter? No. Will it moving forward? Maybe.
Ultimately, the owners make the decisions as to who will — and won’t — be honored by the individual teams. And most business owners abhor being sued.
Regardless, congratulations to Blair. Here’s hoping he would have made it even if he’d sued. And here’s hoping that the men who have sued their former teams and/or the league will likewise receive the recognition they deserve from those teams.