Football screws Ken Stabler, again

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First, he had to wait way too long to get to the Hall of Fame. Next, because he didn’t make it to the Hall of Fame during his lifetime, Stabler’s family didn’t get the gold jacket or the ring that goes along with it. (And apparently still won’t, thanks the the Hall of Fame’s clumsy carving of an exception for Broncos owner Pat Bowlen.)

Now, even though Stabler died with advanced CTE, he won’t get a penny from the NFL’s concussion settlement.

Dom Cosentino of Deadspin.com explains the legal technicalities that prevent Stabler from receiving payment. His death with CTE came less than three months after the agreed window closed for compensation based on death with CTE. And Stabler’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis came after he died, contrary to language of the settlement that requires the diagnosis to come during the player’s lifetime.

The NFL fought the efforts of Stabler’s estate to get compenstion for the brain trauma he suffered while playing football, because of course the NFL did. That’s the problem with having an unlimited fund to pay claims under the concusion settlement; removing the cap created a strong incentive for the NFL to fight any and every claim, on any basis at its disposal.

In most cases involving opposition to a claim, the NFL fights by challenging whether the player has or had a health condition that qualifies for compensation. In this case, the NFL simply connected the dots to the plain language of the court-approved settlement in order to escape doing the right thing.

The NFL fought Stabler’s claim by, among other things, challenging the veracity of the notion that he didn’t seek an Alzheimer’s diagnosis before he died because he was fighting colon cancer by pointing out that he had “extensive dental work” performed and that he was planning to have knee-replacement surgery. In other words, the NFL suggested that the contention was an embellishment at best, a lie at worst.

Although the NFL’s argument could be easily dismissed as overlawyering, it was unnecessary, unrealistic, and unkind. Getting an Alzheimer’s diagnosis in the hopes of eventually getting a sliver of the concussion settlement surely took a backseat to more pressing matters for Stabler like, you know, having a mouthful of functioning teeth and eliminating the pain of a knee that was wrecked by a lifetime of football. Not to mention the colon cancer.

Put simply, Stabler wasn’t motivated by greed. If the NFL would like to convince anyone that it isn’t motivated by greed, it will pay Stabler’s claim.

As with Stabler’s nonexistent (for now) gold jacket and ring, all it would take is one phone call from the Commissioner to fix the situation.

No one is counting on that happening, including Kim Bush, who was Stabler’s partner during the final 16 years of his life.

“I guess in some weird, kind of crazy way, we can close the book, you know?” Bush told Cosentino. “At least now you know definitively, okay, everybody has screwed him that can screw him. Let him rest in peace, put it behind us, and move on.”

38 responses to “Football screws Ken Stabler, again

  1. How many millions have had Alzheimer’s and/or CTE without ever playing a down of football at any level?

  2. Stop.
    Let’s not forget the role that the NFLPA played in this fiasco.
    The NFLPA and the media demanded an unlimited fund to cover all of this, and the NFL would be portrayed as the bad guy no matter what they did so the NFL fought the unlimited fund just so it can survive.
    I feel bad for Stabler, his family, and others in this situation but the blame lies with the NFLPA, the lawyers who refused to find a reasonable solution to this problem, and the media.
    In the end, this was a moneygrab for the NFLPA and the players.

  3. Snake you are hero always in my eyes…great player, gritty, a fantastic leader and teammate. Us old guys loved watching you play. Shame this generation running the NFL are clueless.

  4. Iam a hardcore Chiefs fan. He was a great player and the nfl is just flat wrong he deserves to be in the hall of fame.He deserves those benefits and compensation.

  5. Wait a minute! I’d be the first to point the finger at the NFL’s approach to CTE being like the tobacco industry’s fight against recognizing cancer, and agree Stabler got screwed by HoF recognition, but the dude died of colon cancer in his 70th year – probable Alzheimer’s and CTE was only within a pathlogical analysis “diagnosed” post-mortem.

    Now, there’s a strong argument that the doctors failed to diagnose Alzheimer’s in his last few years, but that’s on them. And his family say they were too busy dealing with the fact the poor guy was dying of cancer – but that’s kind of the point – his life wasn’t shortened by CTE.

  6. He was the most entertaining and exciting football player to me and a lot others. So, he’s unforgettable to all of us. I’ll drink some Jack tonight in your honor, Snake.

  7. The family of EVERY member of the Hall of Fame should have the jacket and ring to cherish as a loving memory, no matter the circumstances. Roger, fix this please.

  8. The snake played when football was true football! Not like the sissy football they play today, thanks to goodell!

  9. Ken Stabler DID get screwed on not getting inducted into the HOF during his lifetime. But in fairness most of the blame doesn’t fall on the league but on Paul Zimmerman who had a personal vendetta against Snake and vowed never to let him into the HOF. And Zimmerman used his prominent position on the selection committee to influence the voting against Stabler making it into Canton.

  10. I’ll never forget this image…Stabler walking to the huddle from the sideline with his left shoulder slightly lower than the right and calmly licking the 4 fingers of his left hand before ducking into the huddle. And more often than not it seems, something exciting happened.

  11. Snake was a true gunslinger QB. He didn’t play on my team, but I tried to make sure I saw the Raiders every weekend. Raise a glass to you, Ken.

  12. Great article Mike! The NFL is way wrong on this issue. I believe the NFL’s actions and decisions on this issue are ‘criminal’! Paul Tagliabue would have never allowed anything like this to happen. I wonder to myself, ‘how do 31 of the 32 team owners allow Goodell to remain in power’? I credit Jerry Jones for being the only team owner that has the balls to suggest that Roger Goodell should be relieved of his duties.

  13. “streetyson says:
    July 5, 2019 at 3:05 pm
    Wait a minute! I’d be the first to point the finger at the NFL’s approach to CTE being like the tobacco industry’s fight against recognizing cancer, and agree Stabler got screwed by HoF recognition, but the dude died of colon cancer in his 70th year – probable Alzheimer’s and CTE was only within a pathlogical analysis “diagnosed” post-mortem.

    Now, there’s a strong argument that the doctors failed to diagnose Alzheimer’s in his last few years, but that’s on them. And his family say they were too busy dealing with the fact the poor guy was dying of cancer – but that’s kind of the point – his life wasn’t shortened by CTE”

    His quality of life was severely effected by CTE, you dont have to die from it to be compensated and that is shallow thinking. It is very clear that players from Stablers era were among the most effected by these type of symptoms. It’s clear from this statement that certain people will see things only one way.

  14. You can’t really blame a guy with Alzheimer’s for not getting an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. People with Alzheimer’s aren’t always thinking clearly. I know from personal experience that it’s up to a family member to take the person to a neurologist, not the sick person themselves.

  15. jimnaizeeum says:
    July 5, 2019 at 2:13 pm
    How many millions have had Alzheimer’s and/or CTE without ever playing a down of football at any level?
    ————————————————————————————–
    IDK, why don’t you tell us? I wonder how many millions got boxed around in the head by drunken fathers during the time that those millions grew up? Maybe they played soccer? Boxed? Otherwise got their bells rung? Stabler got hosed for two reasons. He pretty much said screw you to the league and lived his life his way while the league was happy to offer up his body on Sundays. Second he played for the hated “Just win baby, I’m gonna sue you Al Davis owned Raiders. This guy was one of my all time favorite players and as some here know I am a life long Patriots fan. Do the right thing NFL. Peel open the checkbook and and part with some of your billions. And for Gods sake get the man’s family his jacket and ring you petty pieces of cte damaged brain matter.

  16. It reminds me of the time when Booker T and Vince McMahon kept screwing Stone Cold

  17. the amount of greed by the NFL is pretty amazing. it’s compounded by their fear of having to pay other people what they might be owed.

  18. Every opportunity to do the right thing, always seems to be forsaken for the bottom line for the NFL. Screw you NFL, screw you Roger Godell, and screw your lawyers too.

  19. Very sad that billionaires can’t recognize the past great players who gave all they had on the field and watch them put big money in there pockets

  20. Pat Bowlen got screwed, too. The Hall enshrined inferior candidates like Jerry Jones and Bobby Beathard before him even though they knew his condition was deteriorating.

  21. And Stabler’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis came after he died, contrary to language of the settlement that requires the diagnosis to come during the player’s lifetime.
    ______________________________________

    From WebMD:

    “Doctors can’t definitely diagnose Alzheimer’s disease until after death, when they can closely examine the brain under a microscope. But they can use tests to rule out other conditions that might cause the same symptoms”.
    ___________________________________________

    So according to WebMD and the Specialist that work with this disease since it can’t be officially be diagnosed until after death during an autopsy that settlement should have never been let stand by any Judge and could be reversed.

    And in reading a whole lot about the disease(because a family member had dementia which is all that they can official diagnose while the patient is living)and several studies on it that’ve come out in the last 4-5yrs they are finding that most if not all of the damage that causes CTE is done at a younger age than when these players are in the NFL. All these studies claim that by about 22YO(it differs a little depending on the individual) the brian is fully developed and therefore it is less susceptible to the brain injuries that cause CTE’s and also they’ve found that most of the damage causing those CTE’s come at a younger age, Pop Warner, Jr High, HS and college. A few studies even claim that at a younger ages is when the most damage is done because the brain is the least developed.

    So my question is this: why is it that the NFL is the ONLY ones having to pay any money towards these injuries when according to all these new studies coming out the NFL is probably the least responsible for these brain injuries?

    Simple answer: THEY ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO HAVE ANY MONEY!

  22. Stabler and his family get jipped out of his well deserved HoF jacket and ring, Stabler gets jipped again by being denied compensation for his CTE. Meanwhile Kaepernick and his cronies get undisclosed millions from the NFL. Yeah, sounds fair to me.

    The NFL wont be right again until Roger is gone. FACT!

  23. “Everybody that can screw him has screwed him.” That pretty much sums it up.

    But it doesn’t matter; in his prime, nobody could take this guy down when the game was on the line.

    Football was never a better spectator sport than it was when the Snake was dropping back and loading up that arm to whip one downfield with less than 2 minutes to go and the score close.

  24. As a Cowboys fan, I’ve always had a distant respect and maybe even some admiration for the Raiders (this would change if they had ever faced off in a Super Bowl.)
    But hate to see how Snake’s been treated. Legend. Do better, NFL.

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