NFL wants investigation of “widespread fraud” in concussion settlement

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Amid claims that the NFL unreasonably is delaying the payment of claims in the concussion settlement, the NFL is fighting back. Aggressively.

The league on Friday requested the appointment of a Special Investigator, who would explore allegedly “widespread fraud” in the effort to secure payment.

“We want to ensure that players and their families receive the benefits they deserve,” attorney Brad Karp said in a statement released by the NFL on Friday. “Fraud threatens the integrity of the settlement and the prompt payment of legitimate claims. There is significant evidence of fraudulent claims being advanced by unscrupulous doctors, lawyers and even players. The appointment of a Special Investigator was specifically contemplated in the agreement, and will provide important additional tools to assist the independent, court-appointed administrators in identifying fraudulent claims and related misconduct.”

It’s a strong allegation, suggesting not simply that former players are accidentally under the impression that they have one of the qualifying conditions but that they are deliberately trying to fall within the confines of the concussion settlement — and that others are aiding and abetting the process.

The court papers submitted in connection with the request for a Special Investigator include specific allegations of fraud. The league contends that one law firm representing over 100 former players “coached” them on the procedure for answering questions during neuropsychological evaluations and “directed at least one retired player to show up for his evaluation hungover and on Valium.” The league also claims that a firm representing more than 50 class members secured a higher fee if the former players were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (which results in a higher recovery under the concussion settlement), and that “virtually all” of those players were evaluated by a pediatric neurologist, who diagnosed 75 percent of them with Alzheimer’s.

The league also alleges that evidence exists of specific coaching of former players to help them “beat” the psychological testing in order to secure payment, that one neuropsychologist claimed to have spent, on two different occasions, 130 hours evaluating players in the same 24-hour period, and that 21 medial reports submitted by the same neuropsychologist showed identical vital signs for each of the players.

The paperwork submitted by the NFL further includes allegations of former players directly committing fraud. Consider this quote regarding an unidentified (for now) former player: “A Retired NFL Football Player diagnosed with purported Alzheimer’s Disease in June 2016 at the age of 54 claimed that he had stopped coaching football by the time of his evaluation due to his severe cognitive impairment. Yet, subsequent to his evaluation, the same retired player participated in multiple videotaped interviews in which he discussed — without any apparent difficulty — his current head  coaching duties, and as recently as October 2017, was interviewed by reporters about his ongoing role as a head football coach.” (There may be enough clues in there for a person with advanced Google skills to figure out who the former player may be.)

Here’s another: “A Retired NFL Football Player diagnosed with purported Alzheimer’s Disease in July 2015 at the age of 39 claimed to have significant cognitive impairments that made him incapable of even doing errands without assistance. Yet, information available from public sources shows that the same retired player is the head coach of a minor league football team, a developmental football coach and a motivational speaker. When that player submitted a form to the Claims Administrator asking for his employment history subsequent to his diagnosis, he concealed his coaching position.”

And another: “A Retired NFL Football Player diagnosed with purported Level 2 Neurocognitive Impairment (i.e., moderate dementia) in December 2016 at the age of 32 reported that he was unemployed, had significant issues with memory and completing tasks and frequently would go into a room and forget why he was there. That retired player concealed that he was working as a registered wealth manager for a large investment firm.”

And another: “A Retired NFL Football Player diagnosed with purported Level 2 Neurocognitive Impairment (i.e., moderate dementia) in January 2017 at the age of 32 claimed that he was unable to work in any capacity due to his cognitive impairment. Videos available online show that same player giving lengthy and fully coherent motivational speeches, often without the assistance of notes, on numerous occasions subsequent to the supposed diagnosis.”

The 20-page submission from the NFL, undoubtedly directed to the court of public opinion as much as it is to the court presiding over the settlement, paints a troubling picture of alleged fraud, countering the argument that the NFL, faced with unlimited potential liability, is dragging its feet and contesting claims under the notion that every single penny saved becomes a penny earned. Whether it’s the NFL unfairly opposing claims or specific former players (and/or those who stand to make money from them) unfairly trying to get a piece of a pie that will be as big as it needs to be, these problems needs to be fully explored and resolved. Whether it’s the NFL’s fault, specific former players’ fault, or both, this complication delays the efforts of truly eligible former players to get the money they deserve.

51 responses to “NFL wants investigation of “widespread fraud” in concussion settlement

  1. Sounds like the EBT cards, SSI, Tax refunds, Medicare, Obama phones and all manner of Govt program scams, charity scams, endowments scams, and foundation scams.

    There is an entire industry that rises up around any of these things that is designed to steal money or to funnel it to parties that are not supposed to receive it.

  2. Wow…lawyers would coach a client on how to best lie, mislead, and obfuscate. Underpaid, old-school former players are more than willing in order to get a “piece of the pie” they surely must feel is “rightfully” theirs. And the NFL is going to fight anything remotely suspect as a claim, because that’s what the NFL does, they maniacally protect their own self-interest, even if it’s only for pennies on the dollar w/ this settlement that already only amounts to mere chump change for a league in the $10 bil/yr revenue range.

  3. Despite the NFL being a greedy cartel, everyone who’s ever played football understands the risks. Not much sympathy for them. Not shocked that people that blew their money on excess and materialism are now filing fraudulent claims. Also not the least bit surprised the NFL is fighting it. Players will be suing over drug use in 3, 2, 1…

  4. Is the league paying out for the secondary concussions suffered by the fans as they watch at home? Our minds feel the pain and suffering at home when a player is shown getting hurt. That pain, while sympathetic, does produce long term concussion effects, PTSD by proxy.

    Where’s my cut in the settlement for watching the league these last 44 years?

  5. Speaking of “Fraud”
    Now would be a good time for Roger Goodell to finally set a good example and display the transparency that he promised, just before he decided to hide the PSI information that was collected during the 2015 NFL season.

    Hiding that PSI information from football fans because it contradicts Roger Gooesll’s fraud is not a good look.

  6. How about an investigation of the “widespread fraud” by the NFL in the bountygate fiasco, where they tried to cover their own rear ends BECAUSE of the concussion lawsuit by going after ONE team that was doing EXACTLY what nearly every other team in the league was doing by having a very small monetary pool to award big plays and good clean hits! Remember, not a single opposing player of the Saints was injured by an illegal hit during the entire “bounty” fiasco.

    The NFL has become a joke under the leadership of that moron.

  7. It must be difficult for these guys that came a generation or two too soon. A guy like Aikman makes more as a broadcaster than he made as a player. I’d be a little vindictive too

  8. Wherever there is money..there is also greed !!…Just like throwing dried mash to the hens in the farm yard and then watching the race to fight over it ! The heart of man is deceitful and desperately wicked and who can know it…we get to watch it unfold in front of our faces. The NFL is going to implode before our vary eyes because the wolves are going to hijack the NFL under the “guise of player safety” and the cash payout that is the prize [ c/o NFL CTE funding]. This is a legal fire that well spread and eventually burn down the whole NFL House.Time will dictate…just how long it takes to accomplish same. Everybody wants a peace of the action and will do anything to get same.[including criminal behavior].Do you think it is going to stop now..Every player in the NFL is watching this to see their future options for financial gain.
    Despicable is this whole scenario !

  9. The NFL cannot afford to drag there feet on this settlement. Of course there will be fraud. More bad press will lead to even lower tv ratings. Now, add the national Anthem to the mix and the NFL is playing a very dangerous game.

    So, the NFL can fight back but they will lose in the long haul.

  10. Wish I could go after the school district from getting ‘my bell’ rung on multiple occasions in junior high and high school in the 70’s and 80’s.

    What did the coach say? Get back out there. You just got your bell rung. You’re okay. It’s cobwebs, you’re fine.

    Mr. Rodgers. Head football and basketball coach.

    I have some issues still to this day from getting my ‘bell rung’.

  11. Boston University says that 99% of former players have CTE. So the NFL is aggressively going after that 1% of it’s money back? And they wonder why their image is so tarnished. Predictable move by Big Tobacco…errr… the NFL.

  12. The entire thing is a scam and a money grab. The NFL never should have settled. Everyone has always know about long term effects of concussions.

  13. What do you call it when you lie about football giving concussions?

    It’s hilarious to me the government is crying about fraud when if they had just acknowledged this and tried to prevent concussions in the first place they wouldn’t be here.

  14. What, like the widespread fraud the league committed for so many years denying that concussions and CTE had anything to do with football?

  15. Shady lawyers and shady doctors are helping some shady people who used to be NFL players. Many of us said from the beginning that a large number of these claims appeared to be obvious money grabs. There are not many people left that have any semblance of ethics and integrity when it comes to getting money. IMHO, when/if these claims are proven, those involved should have their medical license revoked, be disbarred and not allowed to practice law again in any paid capacity and the players should be prosecuted for fraud and publicly shamed as a con-artist.

    Wanna know why there are now a bunch of stupid rules in the game in the name of “safety”? It all revolves around money. Higher scores mean more viewers and more money. Keeping that money is now a huge priority for the NFL. The league has feared legal claims like this for a long time. The CTE debate just accelerated the process because of its inherent vagueness and lack of a definitive process for actual/true/valid diagnosis. It isn’t hard to fake something that has symptoms that vary as much as CTE. It is almost tailor-made for unscrupulous grifters.

  16. The league contends that one law firm representing over 100 former players “coached” them on the procedure for answering questions during neuropsychological evaluations and “directed at least one retired player to show up for his evaluation hungover and on Valium.”

    Why are so many lawyers scum, and why can’t the Bar Association clean it up?
    No wonder people assume most lawyers are dishonest

  17. I dont blame the NFL one bit for going after the fraudsters, all of them. There should be legal repercussions for any doctor, lawyer or former player who tried to cheat their way on to the gravy train. They are delaying payment and actually trying to steal money from the former players and their families who need the money and have legitimate claims.

  18. So when the doctors and lawyers were helping the NFL conceal the issue so they didn’t have to pay to take care of the players it was ok, but now that the doctors and lawyers are helping the players to get what the can from it they cry foul…how ironic.

  19. atthemurph says:
    April 14, 2018 at 11:17 am
    Sounds like the EBT cards, SSI, Tax refunds, Medicare, Obama phones and all manner of Govt program scams, charity scams, endowments scams, and foundation scams.

    There is an entire industry that rises up around any of these things that is designed to steal money or to funnel it to parties that are not supposed to receive it.

    …You’re correct, but don’t leave out subsidies a/k/a welfare programs for the wealthy. The NFL gets this “welfare” from the DOD and cities who finance their stadiums. While I agree that they need to do what is necessary to curb fraud in the concussion settlement, it’s very hypocritical of the same organization who extorts communities to build them new stadiums & provide tax breaks for the “privilege” of having an NFL team.

    Subsidies are portrayed as good for the general public, but are essentially money for nothing for a higher class of people. All of these handouts are brought to you courtesy of the working class.

  20. The NFL is NOT accountable to the players even though the media reports as if this is the case.
    If you play pro football you KNOW the risks going in. The risks have not changed for decades, in fact the NFL has made the game SAFER yet players still complain. Players prior to the 90’s probably think that they’re entitled to some NFL cash over and above their retirement and other benefits. They are NOT entitled unless they can prove injury on the field. If they’re ticked because of today’s salaries they need to understand that the market rate for players in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s was lower and yet they chose to play for that salary and understanding the risks of injury.
    If players would stop listening to lawyers who see the NFL as their cash cow, the game and the players would be better off.

  21. Just be honest for bleeps sake… the longer you draw this out, the longer you avoid paying, the more ex-players die. THAT is the legal strategy, and hardly a new one.
    TOTAL BS that they’re concerned with anything else.
    Don’t pay the people who are injured until you can be sure no one is faking? Obfuscatory legal BS, and as old and familiar as the hills… they’re just dragging it out as long as they can to let potential beneficiaries die. SOP in the corporate legal world.

  22. Best coach ever? Paul Brown, Tom Laundry, Bill Walsh to name a few. BB is the best coach ever to have Tom Brady.

  23. I blame the NFL (read: Goodell) for agreeing to the settlement in the first place. Causation with the NFL — not just football generally — was nowhere near proven, there was no reason to think juries would award anything close to average claim value, and yet you let the PR concerns drive you off a cliff. This outcome was completely predictable, and now you get to call generations of players liars in public in hopes of salvaging some of the money you never should have committed in the first place. Great PR, great savings, Goodell.

  24. EZWriter says:
    April 14, 2018 at 3:24 pm
    Just be honest for bleeps sake… the longer you draw this out, the longer you avoid paying, the more ex-players die. THAT is the legal strategy, and hardly a new one.
    TOTAL BS that they’re concerned with anything else.
    Don’t pay the people who are injured until you can be sure no one is faking? Obfuscatory legal BS, and as old and familiar as the hills… they’re just dragging it out as long as they can to let potential beneficiaries die. SOP in the corporate legal world.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Did you even bother to read the article? There is ample evidence of obvious fraud. THOSE people are responsible for the delays because the NFL has to weed out the criminals. In the process, valid recipients (very loose term considering the lacking evidence in the overall case–but they settled, so) are forced to wait while the NFL or justice system reviews their claims and determines they are truly eligible. Don’t give the bad guys a free pass just because you can’t stand corporations/big business.

  25. If you want to go behind the reason for unanimous support for the lowering the head rule, look no further than concussion litigation. It is first and foremost about money.

  26. No, You think? Total money grab. Instead of giving them free money that most don’t deserve why doesn’t the NFL offer FREE classes on how to manage money? Oh wait. I think they do offer that.

  27. Tom G says:
    April 14, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    No, You think? Total money grab. Instead of giving them free money that most don’t deserve why doesn’t the NFL offer FREE classes on how to manage money? Oh wait. I think they do offer that.
    ———–

    Go read up on how playing in the NFL significantly shortens most players lifespans and then tell us that they why don’t deserve this money.

  28. What is it with the NFL using the word integrity? Like it justifys what they are trying to do… There is none within this entertainment organization lol

  29. Players dont deserve a penny. They were paid millions to play a game that is violent. every1 knew it.We knew it as kids playing. Mostly another money grab by your local ghetto.

  30. These guys don’t deserve a penny. Every one who has joined the military, becomes a police Officer or fire fighter all know the risks of their profession. I’m tired of these crying millionaires and their never ending search for the almighty dollar. If you don’t want to take the risk, find another job, they all supposedly spent four years in college so they should have the knowledge to find a job that won’t give them concussions.

  31. Amazing how little sympathy people here have for the players, and how much they back billionaires. Explains so much about the state of things these days.

  32. “If you play pro football you KNOW the risks going in.”

    They are very clear now yes. But the whole point of the settlement is the players didn’t know if earlier generations while the NFL did know and actively concealed the information on concussions and their effects.

  33. Is it surprising that people are lying to get the benefits? It has been proven countless times over that people will lie, cheat, etc for free money. That’s human nature. The fault is with the the NFL and whoever/whatever is in charge of verifying the claims.

  34. Having just spent time with a former NFL Safety in his pursuit of a home, I can tell you that the trauma is real. At 37, dude has seizures, memory loss, tremors…he is not faking it. I felt so awful for this once grand physical specimen. I love football, but damn, I honestly don’t think after spending time with this guy that I’d let my son play.

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