The concussion settlement is getting closer and closer to becoming official, nearly three years after it officially was negotiated.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit denied the request for a rehearing before the full court of the ruling that upheld the settlement. Nine former players, continuing their fight against a deal they deemed flawed and unfair, had pushed for a rehearing, further delaying the payout of settlement funds to qualifying former players.
“We are pleased with the Third Circuit’s decision to deny the appellants’ requests for an en banc rehearing,” attorney Christopher Seeger said in a statement. “These objections have now been turned aside three times: by the District Court, a unanimous three judge panel from the Third Circuit and the full Third Circuit without one judge dissenting.
“These meritless appeals have come with devastating consequences for the thousands of retired NFL players suffering from neurocognitive injuries, and those concerned about their future, as they have been forced to wait even longer for the immediate care and support they need and deserve. We hope these objectors will consider the over 20,000 retired players and their families that support this agreement before filing additional appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court that will only extend these delays further. We will continue to forcefully defend this important settlement should they decide to move forward with the appeals process.”
Seeger is right. The process needs to end. It’s one thing for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to pursue all appeals of his four-game suspension; no one else’s interests are directly tied to the case or the delays arising from the endless efforts to block the ban. In this case, others who want to obtain compensation are being forced to wait even longer because a very small fraction of retired players keep fighting a losing battle.
The next battle could come in the U.S. Supreme Court, where the former players who don’t like the settlement have the right to inject even more delay into the process by filing a petition for the highest court in the land to take up the case. Here’s hoping the players who object to the settlement finally do the right thing by doing nothing.
Speaking of Brady, the timeline arising from the Third Circuit’s handling of the rehearing request could shed some light on the amount of time necessary for the Second Circuit to rule on Brady’s request for a rehearing. In the concussion case, the request was made on April 28, and the decision came on June 1. By late June, the Second Circuit could be issuing a ruling in Brady’s case.