A $760 million settlement between the NFL and former players has been rejected by a judge, at least for now. So what happens next?
The proposed settlement, reached in August and filed in court last week, follows a lawsuit brought by some 4,500 ex-players. They allege that the NFL concealed the dangers of brain injuries sustained on the field and that the league was profiting from the occasional violent contact, reports Reuters.
According to the $760 million deal, ex-players would be eligible for up to $5 million each. So why did the judge reject it?
Judge Brody Tackles Payout Concerns
One of the primary reasons that the NFL settlement was rejected was because $760 million may not be enough to pay all of the affected former players, The Associated Press reports.
In the proposed settlement, monetary awards would be based on a player's age, signs of dementia, and the presence of diseases like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Depending on those factors, a player could receive up to $5 million for his injuries. However, players who seek to recover under the proposed deal first have to be diagnosed with a brain condition that's linked to their football career.
Since the proposed settlement is supposed to last for at least 65 years, the NFL will have to cover the players' concussions and head injuries during that time period. It's still unclear how many players would be receiving a monetary award and how much they'd receive, so U.S. District Judge Anita Brody is concerned that the amount offered by the NFL may not be enough for the players who eventually receive a qualifying diagnosis, the AP reports.
The next step in NFL concussion settlement is for the parties to provide more financial information. Although the NFL has broken down a plan for how the money will be awarded, Judge Brody is seeking further assurances that $760 million will be adequate.
Lawyers for some of the ex-players told Reuters they believe Judge Brody can still be convinced to sign off on the deal.
Due to the growing amount of research linking hits on the field to serious brain injuries, the NFL has already made efforts to ban the most severe helmet-to-helmet hits and to bench players who've shown symptoms of dizziness or memory gaps, according to Reuters.