Earning a statue doesn’t necessarily accelerate the expiration of statutes of limitations.
When news first emerged regarding the settlement agreements that sparked the unforced-forced sale of the Panthers by team founder Jerry Richardson, two questions emerged as it relates to the possibility that other teams may be facing similar predicaments: “How many other teams have negotiated similar settlements in the past without disclosing them to the league? . . . . How many other teams will be promptly self-reporting those settlements now?”
While answers have yet to emerge, the league remains concerned that related problems may arise. That’s something Mark Leibovich realized in four years of studying the NFL in connection with his new book, Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times. Leibovich prepared a “What I Learned” essay for Peter King’s Football Morning in America column, and Leibovich learned plenty about the dynamics that abruptly brought down one of the league’s most powerful men. And he offered a prediction that, if accurate, could be strong enough to shatter a Shield.
“I learned the Jerry Richardson problem is not over,” Leibovich writes. “There is real concern that Jerry Richardson is the tip of the iceberg. With obscenely rich and powerful and aggressive people like NFL owners, there can be a commonness of not only acting in a brutish and entitled way, but also, simply, of being able to pay people off when they try to speak out. Needless to say, Richardson has no monopoly inside the membership on having engaged in outdated behavior. I think there will be other cases. The league fears there will be others.”
Settlement agreements, coupled with confidentiality provisions, have become commonplace in corporate America. Companies offer to cut a check to a potentially disgruntled employee in exchange for peace and, more importantly, silence. The Richardson case proves that the silence may not be permanent. The consequences of that silence being broken can be.
Leibovich will be joining the #PFTPM podcast later this week to discuss his book, and these opinions. To ensure that you won’t miss it, subscribe to the #PFTPM podcast now.