The NFL settled a head injury-related lawsuit with ~4,500 ex-players for $US765 million today.
All indications are that this is an incredibly good deal for the league.
$765 million is less than people expected. This has always been referred to as a “multi-billion dollar lawsuit.” Paul M. Bennett of Businessweek wrote a lengthy article about how the NFL would be totally fine if the lawsuit cost it $US5 billion. Sporting News also guessed that billions of dollars were at stake, not millions.
The league gets to officially say its not liable for the brain injuries of its players. Basically, the NFL doesn’t have to admit that football is inherently. From the official release about the settlement, “The settlement does not represent, and cannot be considered, an admission by the NFL of liability, or an admission that plaintiffs’ injuries were caused by football. Nor is it an acknowledgment by the plaintiffs of any deficiency in their case.”
$765 million is chump change to the NFL, and it gets to pay it out over 17 years. The NFL has $US765 million stuck between its couch cushions. They make $US9.5 billion in revenue per year (and rising). This is nothing to them, especially considering the way they get to pay out the settlement.
According to the release, the NFL must pay half the amount in the next three years, and the other half over the following 17 years. The costs come out to this:
- Annual cost per team (next three years): ~$3.9 million
- Annual cost per team (2016-2033): ~$703,000
This is a small amount compared to what everyone thought they’d be facing before today, and it’s an insignificant amount compared to how much revenue the league makes.
It’s not all bad for the players. After part of the settlement, future players can seek compensation from the league if an independent doctor verifies that they have a brain injury.
But still, it looks like an overwhelming win for the league.
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