Has Football Been Saved?

Unfortunately, Labor Day is upon us here in the States and summer will (unofficially but practically) come to an end in just a few days. But every cloud has a silver lining and for many Americans, the start of the college and professional football seasons is that silver lining.

We, here, at WCM have previously commented on some of the challenges faced by football. Among those challenges was the federal class action lawsuit filed by former professional football players against the NFL for failure to warn about the risks of concussions. A key ruling was expected this week from USDC Judge Brody of the EDPA. But, instead of a ruling, we have received word of a $765,000,000 agreement in principle. The central aspects of the settlement are that: (a) the NFL is not admitting any wrongdoing; and (b) the settlement cost, for a league that generates $10,000,000,000 per year in revenue, is a mere rounding error.

The question that remains (and that is already being asked) is — what effect will this have on youth or amateur athletics? Our thought is that the absence of a NFL admission of wrongdoing will mean that business will continue as usual in the youth or amateur levels — especially in those parts of the country where football is king. This means that the focus of plaintiffs’ attacks will like be on youth and amateur leagues on a going forward basis.

For more information about this post, please contact Bob Cosgrove at rcosgrove@wcmlaw.com.