Eight retired football players are suing the National Football League for pushing painkillers on them without legal prescriptions or informing the players of risks; another 500 retirees are seeking to join in a class action lawsuit. That the NFL willfully risked players’ health and that vast quantities of painkillers were involved is not surprising, but the seriousness of the injuries the painkillers were used to disguise as players were sent out on the field is shocking:
[Quarterback Jim] McMahon says in the lawsuit that he suffered a broken neck and ankle during his career but rather than sitting out, he received medications and was pushed back on to the field. Team doctors and trainers never told him about the injuries, according to the lawsuit. […][Offensive lineman Keith] Van Horne played an entire season on a broken leg and wasn’t told about the injury for five years, “during which time he was fed a constant diet of pills to deal with the pain,” the lawsuit says.
Another player says he went an entire season so seriously injured that he never practiced—but played in every game.
The NFL, of course, remains mired in a concussion-related lawsuit with a judge having refused to approve a $765 million settlement, saying it was not sufficient, among other problem. Six of the players named in the current drug lawsuit were also plaintiffs in the concussion lawsuit.
This article was originally printed on the Daily Kos on May 20, 2014. Reprinted with permission.
About the Author: Laura Clawson is the labor editor at the Daily Kos.